Ethiopia

The struggle to survive in a drought

Habib Ahmed Mohammed is a herdsman who lives together with his family in the northern Afar region of Ethiopia. This semi-desert is one of the hottest permanently-inhabited areas in the world. Every day he tends his goats, whose milk he uses to feed his family. “As a herdsman, drought is a real torment to me. The shortage of water weakens the herd, the animals get sick easier and have hardly any fresh pasture.” In recent years it has barely rained here at all. “Many of the problems that we are struggling with arise from the extreme drought.” Habib Mohammed has already lost 24 of his animals – a large part of his herd – to the drought.

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How Tierärzte ohne Grenzen e. V. helps the forgotten people in Ethiopia

Using various approaches, Tierärzte ohne Grenzen e. V. supports herdsmen and their families through these difficult times. Tried and tested practices are used: veterinary care stabilises the health of the herd and access to water is improved. Goats, sheep, cattle and camels are de-wormed and vaccinated against various diseases, for instance, against the highly-contagious virus ovine rinderpest, which has wiped out many herds of goats and sheep throughout East Africa. Families also receive vouchers that they can use to obtain veterinary care. In order to guarantee access to water, reservoirs and collecting tanks have been repaired and more than two kilometres of pipeline has been installed. Water troughs have also been built, hand pumps renewed and water tanks set up. Watering points for the animals were also repaired.

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  • The drought in Ethiopia threatens the life of the herdsman Habib Ahmed Mohammed.

    Photo: Tierärzte ohne Grenzen/Heine

  • Ethiopia is struggling with one of the worst droughts in decades, triggered by the El Niño weather phenomenon. The lack of rainfall has led above all in the north to a hazardous shortage of water, fodder and food.

    Photo: Tierärzte ohne Grenzen/Heine

Ethiopia: background to a forgotten humanitarian crisis

Ethiopia is struggling with one of the worst droughts in decades, triggered by the El Niño weather phenomenon. The northern region of Afar is especially hard hit by the drought. The lack of rainfall has led here and in other regions to a hazardous shortage of water, fodder and food. In remote regions of Ethiopia, milk, dairy and meat products are largely produced by pastoralists, nomadic or semi-nomadic herdsman. As food producers, they are highly important to securing the food supply in Ethiopia.

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