It’s a story that hasn’t seen much news coverage. Ethiopia is experiencing the worst drought in 50 years. Yes, that’s right. Worse than the drought that brought the entire international community together to raise funds for the famine of 1983-85.
The images we’ve collected display the disastrous effects of the drought: over 1 Million livestock have died, and 430,000 children are at risk of malnutrition. In a region where livestock is not only a source of food but also wealth, families have been stripped of their entire life-savings and plunged into an uncertain future.
“There was no rain, no pastures. The ground became like sand,” recalled Asha Abdelahi at the Aydora camp in the middle of a flat, scrub-filled desert, describing how her herd of 200 sheep and goats has been reduced to just five. “The animals started dying, so I carried my children here.”
UMR is responding to the drought in Ethiopia with a holistic program. During a drought, one of the most impacted segments of society are children. Their education often suffers as schools are unable to remain open, and families require more hands at home to help sustain their livelihood.
That’s why we’re building a school to provide education for children during the summer months to make up for missed school days during the drought period. Not only that, but we’re also employing government-trained school teachers who would not be working otherwise.
The school will be fitted with toilets (separate female stalls and male stalls), and access to safe, clean water for hand-washing, drinking, and cooking. We understand that lack of access is not the only reason why children get sick from water-borne illnesses. So, we’re conducting hygiene trainings for all students and teachers to ensure that they retain the maximum benefit from the access to clean water that we’re providing.
We’ve all seen images of women, girls, and children walking miles—and at times, days—to collect water for their families. The trek is not only gruel some but extremely dangerous. So, we’ll be creating a rain water harvesting program that will be constructed for the school and wider community to access clean, safe, consumable water without having to travel a days-length of time to access drinkable water.
None of this is possible without your support. Support our Ethiopia Drought Appeal by sending a gift today.