The impact of the drought in southern and eastern Ethiopia (Somali, East and South Oromia) is already severe and could potentially worsen in the beginning of 2022.
The likelihood for pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities to further suffer from the drought impact is high if mitigation efforts are not urgently taken.
More than 6.4 million people are estimated to require food assistance in 2022 across all drought-affected areas, including 3 million people in Somali Region, 2.4 million in eastern Oromia and 1 million people in southern Oromia.
The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners are providing multi-sectoral response to drought-affected communities in Oromia and Somali regions with the limited resource available, but the response is not commensurate with the dire need.
At least 6 million people in drought-hit eastern and southern Ethiopia will need life-saving assistance in 2022.
The drought in southern and eastern Ethiopia (Somali, East and South Oromia regions) is already having a devastating impact on the lives and livelihood of pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities living in the area after the third consecutive failed rainy season.
According to Somali Region Disaster Risk Management Bureau, there is a significant harvest loss reported in Fafan and Sitti zones of Somali Region, including up to 70 per cent of the expected Sorghum and Maize harvest lost, 30 per cent of the expected wheat harvest lost and 30 per cent of the expected onion and tomato harvest lost. Similarly, an average of 70 per cent harvest loss was reported in southern Oromia.
Livestock body condition continues to deteriorate, and at least 267,000 livestock deaths are already reported in Southern Oromia and Somali Regions due to lack of animal feed and water, with additional hundreds of thousands of livestock at risk and in need of emergency feed, water, and vaccination. Many pastoralists and agro-pastoralists have reportedly migrated mainly from Korahey, Jarar, Erer and Nogob zones in search of pasture and water and across nine woredas in Fafan Zone. The exact number of displaced people is still not validated.
Some 3 million people (2.3 million in Somali and over 870,000 in Southern Oromia) are currently facing water shortage and require water trucking support. The drought also affected the schooling of more than 155,000 students (99,000 in Somali and 56,000 in southern Oromia) due to school closures and lack of school feeding programs.
The nutritional status of drought-affected communities is deteriorating due to low milk availability and low income from livestock. Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) admissions are increasing in most drought-hit areas. In Somali Region, the nutritional screening conducted by the Regional Health Bureau across the whole region (93 woredas and six City Administrations) in December 2021 revealed a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) rate of 18 per cent, higher than the global threshold of 15 per cent. Out of the 813,000 children under five years screened for malnutrition, nearly 14,000 children, or 1.7 per cent, were diagnosed with severe malnutrition, while more than 137,000 children or about 17 per cent were diagnosed as moderately malnourished. Similarly, out of the 222,000 pregnant and lactating women screened, about 72,000 or 32 per cent were moderately malnourished. The likelihood for vulnerable pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities to further suffer from the drought impact is high if mitigation efforts are not urgently taken.
Overall, due to the drought, more than 6.4 million people are estimated to require food assistance in 2022 across all drought-affected areas, including 3 million people in Somali Region, 2.4 million in eastern Oromia and 1 million people in southern Oromia. Urgent humanitarian responses are needed including water trucking, provision of food and non-food items, prepositioning of nutrition supplies for children and pregnant and lactating women, deployment of mobile health and nutrition clinics to hard-to-reach areas, animal feeds, and deployment of veterinarians. Without timely mitigation and response measures, could potentially worsen in the beginning of 2022.