October 21, 2015East African countries have been warned to prepare for the worst this year, with El Niño’s anticipated magnitude as the strongest yet. The weather phenomenon in years passed has been the cause of excessive flooding with a heavy impact on farmers, by devastating crop yields and killing livestock. However, Ethiopia believes they may not need the assistance of the international community to combat the effects of the El Niño rains this year.
The Ethiopian Government Communications Affairs Office (GCAO) issued a statementthrough Minister of Government Communications Affairs Office, Redwan Hussein, that the country is self-reliant and does not need international food assistance this year. “We are able to feed ourselves and hence the magnitude of the problem has not been felt by the majority of the public including in areas affected by the shortage of rain,” Redwan said. This is surprising especially because Ethiopia, like most other East African countries has been dependent on food aid for several years now.
Ethiopia, located at the horn of Africa is the most populous land locked country in the world. In 2011, alongside Kenya, Somalia and Djibouti experienced droughts, which led to crop failure and loss of livestock. As a result of about 50 percent loss of cows and poor harvest, there was a huge decline in milk production and cereal prices were inflated. As a result of low wages across the horn of Africa, people found it difficult to afford food as prices increased. Within the year of the 2011 drought, over 100,000 people died of hunger and about 9 million people were in need of assistance and food aid. Over $300 million was spent in relief by humanitarian agencies all around the world for Ethiopia.
However since the 2011 famine, Ethiopia has learnt its lesson, they have started taking steps to prevent the effects the impending drought. According to Redwan, the government has been creating awareness on the benefit of engaging in water shade management and using every drop of water to save cattle and protect crop. Also they are providing storage for providing food items, water, and forage for cattle.