Mar 2017

Emergency Relief 2017

Posted by Francesca Rutherford on Tuesday 14th March 2017

East Africa is in the grip of a critical humanitarian crisis. Many have already died and millions more are at risk of starvation.

Back-to-back droughts have already left over 5 million people in Ethiopia suffering from extreme hunger.

Wat we are doing to help:

Last year the donations you gave created a safety net for thousands of vulnerable people facing starvation. Since then we have been closely monitoring the situation with our partner Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA). But now the situation is escalating again.

The communities you helped last year are just about surviving and APDA are tirelessly working to keep the safety net in place.

In the last few weeks APDA has identified a further 15,000 children under the age of 5 and 25,000 pregnant or breast feeding women who are now suffering severe malnutrition.  The situation is deteriorating rapidly and we need to act now to provide the emergency aid they so desperately need.

While Ethiopia battles the continuing impact of last year’s El Niño-induced drought, again, failed rains in the southern and eastern parts of the country have led to new symptoms of drought. Many have been unable to rebuild their livestock herds, struggling to control disease outbreaks and remain reliant on water trucking.

In the last 24 months you helped raise over half a million pounds for our partners in the Afar region so that they could support vulnerable communities unable to reach the government’s aid distribution points. Thousands of people have been supported through water trucking, well boring, food aid, livestock, hygiene programmes and medical care. But more funding is urgently needed to ensure that they can survive the next 6 months.

With your help we can, again, provide the emergency relief needed.   

APDA’s health workers are vital in ensuring aid gets where it is most needed.  They travel huge distances on foot for 15 days at a time, visiting households to conduct nutrition surveillance, treat immediately those identified with malnutrition and give awareness on hygiene and disease prevention. The government, UNICEF and the World Food Programme rely upon APDA’s health workers to get vaccinations and malnutrition supplements to remote communities across the Afar region. 

In just 15 days one health worker can reach and treat 150 severely malnourished and vulnerable people.  It costs £45 to keep a health worker in the field and provide medicine for 30 people. 

We are asking you to give what you can today. We can’t express enough the gratitude I feel for your ongoing support and generosity.


Ethiopia Drought 2017 FAQ’s:

  • What is the Ethiopian Government doing?

The Ethiopian Government is calling on the UN and international community to assist 5.6 million people, whose lives, livelihoods and well-being depend on our support. The Ethiopian Government has pledged $47.35 million, leading the emergency response, but a total of $948 million is needed.

  • What happened to the goats Ethiopiaid donors bought last year?

Throughout the last year we have been providing our partner APDA with funds for animal feed and veterinary medicine to keep the goats alive and continuing to support the families and communities.

  • Why can’t wells be dug?

Running water pipes and drilling boreholes is extremely expensive and difficult. There is a lack of supporting infrastructure, such as roads, to bring in equipment and the geology of the land requires expertise difficult to find in Ethiopia. The government relies on foreign NGO’s to provide wells but with these projectscost often in excess of $1million, progress has been slow. Further issues with boreholes are also common, climate change can mean boreholes dry up and having the skills and finances to maintain wells is difficult.

  • Why do droughts keep happening?

Ethiopia is particularly susceptible to droughts being a landlocked country with a vast and, in many regions, difficult terrain. Although over many decades infrastructure has been put in place and has changed the lives of those living in those locations, many regions and lifestyles are severely vulnerable to climate change. Changes to traditional weather patterns, failed seasonal rains, El Nino and back to back droughts have lead to regions, such as the Afar, being on the brink.

  • Why do health workers travel on foot?

Many settlements in the Afar region are remote and dispersed. No roads connect the family dwellings and vehicles are expensive, unreliable and badly equipped for the landscape. Progress on foot is slow but more flexible and reliable.

  • Why don’t families and communities move to regions where there is water?

Over many decades Ethiopia seen much internal displacement, in times of drought and famine families and communities do migrate to other parts of the country and even cross borders in search of water, food and grazing land for livestock. However many people, the most vulnerable we are supporting, are not able to relocate. The elderly, disabled, pregnant women and young children are unable to make the long journeys, on foot, over the rough, hostile volcanic landscape, with no vehicles, food, money and even shoes. These families are often left behind while the men go in search of water, food and work.  The families are left to wait it out.

Press release:

You can download our press release here. For more information or interviews you can contact: Francesca Rutherford, 01225 476385,

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