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Famine: Ethiopia feeling the impact of successive serious droughts May 21, 2017

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  • At the end of April, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission reported the number of people in need of immediate food assistance had reached 7.7 million, an increase by 2.1 million from the commission’s estimate at the beginning of the year.
  • In 2015 and 2016, Ethiopia experienced its worst drought in half a century in which 10.2 million people needed emergency aid, while 7.9 million people were chronically food insecure and dependent on an ongoing relief program. Still reeling from the effect of that devastating episode, which was induced by El Niño, an ocean-warming climatic phenomena with global impact on weather patterns, swathes of the country have experienced rain failure again.
  • The drought is also causing an increase in the number of internal refugees. According to the International Organization for Migration there are currently 696,000 displaced persons at 456 sites throughout Ethiopia.
  • Exacerbating the problem, year-on-year food inflation has reached 12.6 per cent, the highest since January 2016

Ethiopia feeling the impact of successive serious droughts

THE MESSENGER,NEWS & INVESTIGATIONS FROM EAST AFRICA, 18 MAY 2017

 

With a recent increase in the number of people needing emergency food assistance, the impact of Ethiopia’s drought is worsening. And that comes only around a year after one of the country’s most severe dry spells in decades.

At the end of April, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission reported the number of people in need of immediate food assistance had reached 7.7 million, an increase by 2.1 million from the commission’s estimate at the beginning of the year. At that time, $948 million dollars was requested to help the affected people — who are mostly in the south and east of the country — under half of which has been contributed.

In the worst hit Somali regional state, an estimated 785,000 people are suffering from hunger, malnutrition and water shortages. After visiting the area in late February, UN Central Emergency Response Fund’s Stephen O’Brien stressed the importance of prompt action. “Millions of people’s lives, livelihoods and wellbeing depend on continued donor support,” he said. “Time lost means lives lost.”

Exacerbating the problem, year-on-year food inflation has reached 12.6 per cent, the highest since January 2016, according to Ethiopia’s Central Statistical Agency, with major staples such as teff, maize, wheat, sorghum and barley exhibiting increases. The government had previously pledged to keep the inflation rate in the single-digit range.

Although central bank governor Teklewold Atnafu told lawmakers in April that prices were under control, economic research firm Business Monitor International expects soaring inflation in coming months because of reduced agricultural output due to the lack of rain. However, the statistics agency says that despite the drought an increase in production has been registered in the last main Meher season (June to September 2016) harvesting season with close to 290.4 million quintals of crops yielded. That means production showed an 8.8 percent increase from last year, which is likely to be roughly in line with Ethiopia’s consistently high official economic growth figures.

Food inflation is up in spite of official reports of increased food production.

An assessment of the secondary Belg season (roughly, February to April) will be used as a basis for a revised Humanitarian Requirements Document that is expected to be released in July. Planners hope that early publication of the document, capturing the impact of the Belg rains, will help mobilize donations to prevent a projected break in the delivery of food aid.

In 2015 and 2016, Ethiopia experienced its worst drought in half a century in which 10.2 million people needed emergency aid, while 7.9 million people were chronically food insecure and dependent on an ongoing relief program. Still reeling from the effect of that devastating episode, which was induced by El Niño, an ocean-warming climatic phenomena with global impact on weather patterns, swathes of the country have experienced rain failure again.

According to the World Bank, it often takes as many as four years for households to recover from a drought because of asset depletion. The non-governmental organization Save the Children says the previous crisis left more than half the nation’s pastoralists destitute due to loss of livestock. An April announcement of the UN’s World Meteorological Organization predicts that El Niño has a 50 to 60 per cent probability of returning this year.

 In 2015 and 2016, Ethiopia experienced its worst drought in half a century.

The ongoing Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) currently provides regular food or cash transfers for 8 million Ethiopians, half of whom live in currently drought-affected areas. During severe rain shortages, the program expands to include new beneficiaries, as well as increasing the period of support from five to seven months of the year. To deal with the extra burden, one of the main donors, the World Bank, approved an extra $100 million for the PNSP on May 2, the same amount it topped the program up with last year. The PSNP recipients, plus the 7.7 people in need of emergency support, amount to more than one-sixth of Ethiopia’s population.

The drought is also causing an increase in the number of internal refugees. According to the International Organization for Migration there are currently 696,000 displaced persons at 456 sites throughout Ethiopia. And, additionally, the country hosted 830,000 refugees from other countries as of March. Because neighboring South Sudan and Somalia are deeply impacted by the conflict and drought, respectively, an increase in the number of refugees is likely.

UN OCHA’s latest humanitarian funding update, from May 10, says there is a $507 million shortfall, of which $291m is needed for food aid. After avoiding catastrophe last year, donors praised Ethiopia’s government for diverting as much as $700 million to the relief operation. (The main sources were alleged to be cash allocated for road development and funds that had accrued in an oil stabilization fund). Mitiku Kassa, head of Ethiopia’s disaster commission, is now urging donors to step up their funding, while the government is again mobilizing all the resources it can. “We all must work hand in hand to tackle this problem,” he says.

But even if that occurs, while the country is still managing to avoid the dreaded famine classification, the impact of successive serious droughts on a fragile and resource-stretched nation is mounting.


 

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WP: Ethiopia is facing a killer drought. But it’s going almost unnoticed. May 2, 2017

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On Thursday, the Ethiopian government increased its count of the number of people requiring emergency food aid from 5.6 million to 7.7 million, a move that aid agencies say was long overdue. The figure is expected to rise further as southeast Ethiopia confronts another fierce drought.


But with food crises erupting across the continent and the government’s budget strained by last year’s drought, the money isn’t there to fight it. There could eventually be as many people in Ethiopia needing emergency food assistance as in Somalia and South Sudan combined.

There have also been accusations that the government is playing down the severity of the crisis to keep the country from looking bad internationally. During the earlier drought, it was months before the government admitted there was a problem, in part because Ethiopia had gained a reputation as Africa’s rising star and didn’t want to go back to being associated with drought and famine.

The contrast is clear in the bustling capital, Addis Ababa, where rainy skies and a hive of construction projects make it feel thousands of miles away from any drought. While Pizza Hut restaurants are set to soon open in the capital, thousands of children in the arid southeast suffer from acute malnutrition, and cholera is ripping through the relief camps.


Ethiopia is facing a killer drought. But it’s going almost unnoticed.

World Food Program supplies are distributed in a village in Jijiga district, part of Ethiopia’s Somali region. (Michael Tewelde/World Food Program)

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — The announcement by the United Nations in March that 20 million people in four countries were teetering on the edge of famine stunned the world and rammed home the breadth of the humanitarian crisis faced by so many in 2017.

Yet even as donors struggle to meet the severe needs in the war-torn nations of Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen, another crisis, more environmental in nature, is taking place nearby — nearly unnoticed.

On Thursday, the Ethiopian government increased its count of the number of people requiring emergency food aid from 5.6 million to 7.7 million, a move that aid agencies say was long overdue. The figure is expected to rise further as southeast Ethiopia confronts another fierce drought.

But with food crises erupting across the continent and the government’s budget strained by last year’s drought, the money isn’t there to fight it. There could eventually be as many people in Ethiopia needing emergency food assistance as in Somalia and South Sudan combined.

 Ethiopia, long associated with a devastating famine in the 1980s, returned to the headlines last year when it was hit by severe drought in the highland region, affecting 10.2 million people. Food aid poured in, the government spent hundreds of millions of its own money, and famine was averted.

Now it’s the turn of the lowland region, particularly the area bordering Somalia, where a drought brought on by warming temperatures in the Indian Ocean has ravaged the flocks of the herders in the region and left people without food.

With their sheep and goats mostly dead, the nomads are clustered in camps surviving on aid from the government and international agencies — but that food is about to run out.

“This response capacity that is currently holding it at bay is about to be overwhelmed,” said Charlie Mason, humanitarian director of Save the Children, which is particularly active in Ethiopia’s impoverished Somali region. “We’ve spent all the money we’ve got, basically.”

With donors focused on Somalia across the border, little international aid has found its way to the Ethiopian areas hit by that drought. “I think it’s partly because there are other priorities, and they are not signaling loudly enough to donor offices,” Mason said.

According to a document detailing Ethiopian’s humanitarian needs that was drawn up in January by the government and aid agencies, Ethiopia needs nearly $1 billion to confront the crisis, more than half of which it still lacks. That figure also does not take into account the revised estimates in the numbers of people requiring aid.

 During last year’s drought, Ethiopia came up with more than $400 million of its own money to fight off famine, but this year, it has been able to commit only $47 million, probably because of an exhausted budget.

There have also been accusations that the government is playing down the severity of the crisis to keep the country from looking bad internationally. During the earlier drought, it was months before the government admitted there was a problem, in part because Ethiopia had gained a reputation as Africa’s rising star and didn’t want to go back to being associated with drought and famine.

The contrast is clear in the bustling capital, Addis Ababa, where rainy skies and a hive of construction projects make it feel thousands of miles away from any drought. While Pizza Hut restaurants are set to soon open in the capital, thousands of children in the arid southeast suffer from acute malnutrition, and cholera is ripping through the relief camps.

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP), which is working in Ethiopia’s drought-hit Somali region, has started cutting its food rations to 80 percent. It is short $121 million for its Ethiopia operation this year, and the money is expected to run out over the summer.

If no new money arrives, the rations could be cut to 420 calories for the whole day — the equivalent of a burger. The government’s food contribution will probably suffer a similar fate.

“It’s stretching the humanitarian community,” WFP regional spokeswoman Challiss McDonough said, referring to the string of crises in the Horn of Africa and elsewhere on the continent. “I don’t think of it as donor fatigue. Quite frankly, the donors have been extremely generous, continuing to be so — but they are overwhelmed.”

 There is also the fact that the Horn of Africa has been incredibly unlucky these past few years in terms of weather. Though famine was averted, many parts of the Ethiopian highlands are still recovering from the 2015-2016 drought, which was attributed to the El Niño ocean-warming phenomenon in the Pacific.

The U.N. World Meteorological Organization said Friday that there is a 50 percent to 60 percent chance that the Pacific will see another strong warming trend this year, which means Ethiopia’s highlands will be slammed again at a time when world resources are scarcer than ever.

“The droughts are coming more frequently and more often and they are worse — and that’s climate change. That’s very, very clear,” McDonough said. “You talk to any farmer how are the rains now compared to 20-30 years ago, they see a difference in their lifetimes, particularly the older ones.”

Even while they have one of the smallest carbon footprints on the globe, herders’ fragile existence in the arid climate of the Horn of Africa is probably the most threatened by climate change.

Adding to aid organizations’ concerns is a proposal by the Trump administration to slash U.S. contributions to international aid institutions, including the WFP. The U.S. government is the largest donor to the program. The proposed cuts, part of the president’s 2018 budget blueprint, are likely to face stiff opposition in Congress.


Paul Schemm is the Post’s overnight foreign editor based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, joining the paper in 2016. He previously worked for the Associated Press as North Africa chief correspondent based in Morocco and prior to that in Cairo as part of the Middle East regional bureau.

Nineteen African countries are facing acute levels of food insecurity. Ten of those countries are experiencing internal conflict. March 28, 2017

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Acute Food Insecurity and Conflict in Africa

By the Africa Center for Strategic Studies

February 17, 2017

Acute food insecurity and conflict in Africa by Africa Center for Strategic Studies


Nineteen African countries are facing acute levels of food insecurity. Ten of those countries are experiencing internal conflict.
Nineteen African countries are facing acute levels of food insecurity. Ten of those countries are experiencing internal conflict.
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Historic droughts in East and Southern Africa have caused food prices to skyrocket to record levels, doubling the price of staple cereals in some areas. The areas of greatest food insecurity, however, are those affected by conflict. An arc of conflict-affected countries, largely overlapping regions of greatest food insecurity, spans the center of the continent from Somalia to Mali. In addition to disrupting production, conflict undercuts markets that would normally bring food to areas of greatest shortage. In some places, conflict prevents even conducting a full assessment of the level of food insecurity. And because countries in conflict lack the resilience or coping mechanisms of more stable areas, their food crises tend to last longer and have more lasting impact. In short:
Nineteen African countries are facing crisis, emergency, or catastrophic levels of food insecurity
Ten of those countries are experiencing civil conflict
Eight of those ten countries are autocracies
Those eight are also the source of 82 percent of the 18.5 million Africans that are internally displaced or refugees


 

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IRIN: Ethiopia in 2017: New drought: 15.9m people in famine crisis March 19, 2017

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Farmers, traders and consumers across East and Southern Africa are feeling the impact of consecutive seasons of drought that have scorched harvests and ruined livelihoods.

Ethiopia: The strongest El Niño phenomenon on record led to an extreme drought in 2016, with 10.2 million in need of food aid. A new drought means 2017 could be just as dire, throwing an additional 5.7 million people into crisis. Farmers and herders found their resilience tested to the limit last year. They have very limited resources left to cope with the current crisis. More at IRIN: Drought in Africa.

OCHA: Ethiopia: New drought puts recovery and neighbouring countries at risk

 

2016 was a challenging year for Ethiopia. But 2017 could be equally dire, as the country has been hit by a new drought. As 2.4 million farmers and herders cannot sustainably practice their livelihoods and reinvigorate their already drought-stricken farms, the new drought is throwing an additional 5.7 million people into crisis.

At the launch of the Humanitarian Requirements Document, UN Humanitarian Chief Stephen O’Brien called for US$948 million to meet people’s survival and livelihoods needs in 2017.

“We need to act now before it is too late,” he said. “We have no time to lose. Livestock are already dying, pastoralists and farmers are already fleeing their homes in search of water and pasture, and hunger and malnutrition levels will rise soon if assistance does not arrive on time.”


Source: 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document

Back-to-back cycles of poor or non-existent rainfall since 2015, coupled with the strongest El Niño on record, led to Ethiopia’s worst drought in decades. The new drought has hit southern and eastern regions, and pastoralists and farmers are fleeing their homes to find water and pasture.

The new drought extends beyond Ethiopia’s borders—in Kenya and Somalia, it has already pushed 1.3 million people and 5 million people into hunger, respectively. Severe water and pasture shortages in Somalia have resulted in livestock deaths, disrupted livelihoods and caused massive food shortages.

UNICEF: Ethiopia: 5.6 million people require relief food assistance in 2017 March 9, 2017

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   UNICEF Ethiopia Humanitarian SitRep #12 – Reporting Period February 2017

Report from UN Children’s Fund on 06 Mar 2017

      Highlights:

  • A negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) resulted in below average rainfall over East Africa and led to drought situations in Somali, Oromia and SNNP regions. The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate and more than 4.2 million people in these regions are targeted to receive food aid in 2017 (out of a total of 5.6 million people estimated to require food assistance in Ethiopia in 2017). These people are also in critical need of emergency water, health and nutrition services.
  • The Ministry of Health, with support from health partners and UNICEF, has started a regular national measles vaccination targeting 22.9 million children.
  • The Government of Ethiopia, with support from WASH partners, including UNICEF, is providing water rations to an estimated 839,500 people in Afar, Oromia, SNNP, Somali and Tigray regions.
  • Child protection and education sectors remain largely underfunded, with no funds received for 2017 in either programme. Both programmes play a critical role in protecting emergency affected children and addressing children’s psychosocial needs.

        SITUATION IN NUMBERS

5.6 million people* require relief food assistance in 2017
303,000 children* are expected to require treatment for SAM in 2017
9.2 million people* require access to safe drinking water and sanitation services
2 million school-aged children* require emergency school feeding and learning       materials assistance
There are 801,079 refugees in Ethiopia (UNHCR, January 2017)

        Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

The humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate in Somali, Oromia plus parts of SNNP regions. According to the 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD), 5.6 million people require relief food aid in Ethiopia, including more than 4.2 million people in the Horn of Africa (HoA) drought affected regions. However, as the drought situation is worsening, an increase in people requiring food aid is expected. Water shortage and depletion of pasture have resulted in the displacement of mainly pastoralist populations to neighbouring woredas and regions as well as the deaths of a large number of livestock. In addition, the displacement of families has further disrupted already limited education opportunities for children and significantly increased the risk for children’s separation from families, abuse and exploitation. In Afar, failure of seasonal rains in December 2016 has resulted in critical water shortage.

In early February 2017, UNICEF has undertaken an assessment of the impact of the drought in the most affected zones of SNNP region (Gamo Gofa, Segen and South Omo). The assessment findings indicate that water, food and livestock feed are the most pressing needs in the affected areas.

The renewed influx of Somali and South Sudanese refugees into Somali and SNNP regions, respectively, has further stressed the already dire situation in these regions. In SNNP, a total of 4,800 families seeking asylum have fled South Sudan due to food insecurity and conflict and have reportedly settled in Ngangatom woreda of South Omo zone in January 2017. In Somali region, 4,106 asylum seekers from Somalia have arrived in Ethiopia between 1 January and 28 February 2017, fleeing from a conflict exacerbated by food insecurity.


Related:-

Famine: Ethiopia: 5.6 million people need urgent humanitarian assistance requiring in 2017 January 11, 2017

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5.6 Million Ethiopians are in need of emergency food assistance in 2017. Failed rains from late September to November caused a new drought in Oromia, Somali and SNNP regions. Pastoralist and agro pastoralist communities in Borena, Guji, Bale and East Hararge zones of Oromia region, all the nine zones of Somali region and Omo, Gamo Gofa and Segen zones of SNNP region are the most affected.

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Ethiopia: Some 2,000,000 pastoralists and agro pastoralists need emergency food assistance; serious water shortage continues to affect the regions January 3, 2017

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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: Ethiopia Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 02 January 2017

Drought exacerbated by El Niño, combined with extensive flooding, disease outbreaks and the disruption of basic public services, continue to have a negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of 9.7 million Ethiopians. Urgent funding gaps for the response remain across multiple sectors to the end of 2016, notably for response to Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD), for interventions in animal health and food assistance. Major funding requirements are already anticipated for early 2017, as there are concerning indications that the current negative Indian Ocean Dipole, may affect water availability, livestock body condition and Meher harvest performance in southern and eastern Ethiopia.

Some 2,000,000 pastoralists and agro pastoralists need emergency food assistance; serious water shortage continues to affect the regions

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OCHA: Regional Outlook for the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region: Recommendations for Humanitarian Action and Resilience Response – October to December 2016 October 27, 2016

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Due to the convergence of climatic, conflict, and economic shocks, the number of food insecure people in the region facing Crisis and Emergency (IPC 3 and 4) levels, has doubled in the last 12 months from 11.0 million in September 2015 to 23.4 million people today. The worst affected countries are Ethiopia (9.7 million people), South Sudan (4.79 million people), and Sudan (4.42 million people).

In Ethiopia, anti-government protests by the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups continued with reports of casualties among protesters and security forces. OHCHR has called upon the Ethiopian government to permit the deployment of independent observers into the country to access the human rights situation.

 

Drought exacerbated by El Niño, combined with extensive flooding, disease outbreaks and the disruption of basic public services, continue to have a negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of 9.7 million Ethiopians. Overall food security and agricultural production remain severely affected, with cascading effects on livelihoods, nutrition, health, water, sanitation, education and other sectors.

Number of children reached by nutrition screening dropped in Amhara and Oromia

The number of children reached by nutrition screening reduced significantly since July in Amhara and Oromia, coinciding with the increased unrest in the two regions. The drop was most significant in Oromia, where the number of children screened went down from an average of 3 million between January and June to 2.1 million in August. In Amhara screenings reduced from an average of 920,000 in the first half of the year to some 380,000 in August. In contrast, the Afar region has maintained an 80 per cent screening coverage on a monthly basis, according to the Nutrition Cluster. read-more-at-humanitarian_bulletin_24_october_2016

Internally displaced persons in Babile and Kubi need urgent humanitarian assistance

Some 5,100 internally displaced families in Babile and Kubi woredas of the Somali region need urgent humanitarian assistance. According to recent multi-sectoral assessment, priority needs include some 650 metric tons of food per month for the next four months as well as supplementary feeding for children and pregnant and lactating mothers, clean water, and emergency shelter and non-food items. The new displacement is the result of resource-based conflict that started in June-July 2015 in East and West Hararge zones of the Oromia region. The Oromia and Somali region officials are discussing on a possible return of the IDPs to their areas of origin. read-more-at-humanitarian_bulletin_24_october_2016


 

Read more at: OCHA Regional Outlook for the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region: Recommendations for Humanitarian Action and Resilience Response – October to December 2016

It presents a four-month trend analysis from June to September 2016 and a humanitarian outlook from October to December 2016

UN: Ethiopia: El Niño: Overview of Impact, Projected Humanitarian Needs and Response as of 02 June 2016 June 3, 2016

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Ethiopian Drought (famine) Projected outlook, June -September 2016

ETHIOPIA: The worst drought in 50 years has tripled humanitarian needs since early 2015. More than 2.3 million households need immediate agricultural support. The number of people who need emergency health interventions nearly doubled in three months, from 3.6 million in December 2015 to 6.8 million in March 2016. A total of 10.2 million people still need food assistance, and this number is expected to grow in the second half of the year. There are an estimated 2 million additional ‘ad hoc beneficiaries’ – people needing assistance outside the original plan. Malnutrition rates are staggering, with over one third of Ethiopia’s woredas (districts) officially classified as facing a dire food security and nutrition crisis. A total of 2.5 million children under age 5, pregnant women and nursing mothers need treatment for moderate acute malnutrition . It is estimated that 20 per cent of the expected 435,000 severely malnourished children will develop medical complications that need intensive life-saving medical treatment in hospital-based therapeutic feeding centres….

OCHA_ElNino_Monthly_Report_2Jun2016


The humanitarian impact of the 2015-2016 El Niño remains deeply alarming, now affecting over 60 million people. Central America, East Africa (particularly Ethiopia), the Pacific and Southern Africa remain the most affected regions. The El Niño phenomenon is now in decline, but projections indicate the situation will worsen throughout at least the end of the year, with food insecurity caused primarily by drought not likely to peak before December. Therefore, the humanitarian impacts will last well into 2017 . El Niño has affected food security and agricultural production, with cascading effects on livelihoods, health, water, sanitation, education and other sectors. This is due to flooding, disease outbreaks and malnutrition, disruption of health and education services, and overall increased mortality. In Eastern and Southern Africa,¹ some 50.2 million people are food insecure, many due to drought exacerbated by El Niño or due to a combination of drought and conflict. This number is expected to increase significantly towards the end of the year. Drought, flooding and extreme weather events caused by El Niño affect women and girls in particular ways which must be understood and incorporated into humanitarian and development interventions.

This year’s El Niño is taking place in a world already dramatically affected by climate change. More extreme weather events are expected, and climate change may increase the frequency and severity of future El Niño events. These events hit the poorest communities hardest. This means that, in addition to responding quickly to critical food, water, nutrition, health and livelihoods requirements, efforts must be focused on building climate resilience and the capacity to respond to future shocks.

The likelihood of a La Niña developing by September 2016 has increased to 75 per cent². However, some uncertainty remains, as forecasts made at this time of the year typically have less accuracy than those made during the second half of the year. The World Meteorological Organization’s El Niño/La Niña Update3 of 12 May indicates a return to ENSO-neutral conditions in May 2016, with odds increasing of La Niña development in the third quarter. The specific impacts of La Niña are difficult to predict, but it typically brings extreme weather to the same regions most affected by El Niño, where people’s coping capacities have already been eroded. Areas now experiencing drought could face flooding, and areas that have seen excessive rainfall with El Niño could experience drought. This means that La Niña preparedness and early action need to be built into El Niño response and recovery efforts, and development actors should increase risk and vulnerability-reduction efforts in priority areas, including by reprioritizing existing development funding to mitigate the risks.

Several additional countries have finalized costed response plans since the last Global Overview, raising the funding request to almost US$3.9 billion. Response plans with requests for international assistance have been completed by Governments and/or humanitarian partners in 19 countries, with other plans still being finalized. Since mid-2015, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) has allocated over $119 million to 19 countries. Reflecting recent pledges and new funding requests, the current funding gap is almost $2.5 billion. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is expected to issue a regional appeal in June 2016, based on new crop assessments completed in May/June, which is expected to increase the funding request. The food security and agriculture sector is the worst affected by El Niño, with funding requests comprising almost 80 per cent of all national and humanitarian response plans.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

Counter Punch: Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016 May 25, 2016

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The ruling regime, that appears to be more concerned with its international image than the suffering of those in need, has presented an ambiguous, contradictory picture of the famine.

Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016

Millions of the poorest, most vulnerable people in Ethiopia are once again at risk of starvation. Elderly men and women, weak and desperate, wait for food and water; malnourished children lie dying; livestock, bones protruding, perish.

According to a statement issued by the World Food Programme (WFP) on 6th February, over 10 million of the most vulnerable require urgent humanitarian assistance. This figure was published in the Joint Government and Humanitarian Partners’ Document (HRD) in December last year, and does not take into account the seven and a half million people who annually receive support from Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme – PSNP, (established in 2005 to enable, “the rural poor facing chronic food insecurity to resist shocks, create assets and become food self- sufficient), taking the total in need to almost 18 million. The worst affected areas, according to USAID, are the pastoral areas of Afar and Ogaden Region – where people rely totally on their livestock – and the agricultural lowlands of East and West Haraghe – close to the capital Addis Ababa.

The WFP explain that the level of humanitarian need in Ethiopia has “tripled since early 2015…caused by successive harvest failures and widespread livestock deaths. Acute malnutrition has risen sharply, and one quarter of Ethiopia’s districts are now officially classified as facing a nutrition crisis.” With a shortage of food, families are forced to make children drop out of school to take up menial jobs to survive; such children, lacking a decent education, are unable to find well-paid jobs in adulthood, and so the spiral of exclusion, poverty and deprivation continues.

Poverty and Chronic Food Insecurity

Ethiopia is a large country (385,925 sq. miles), with a population of just over 101 million (13th largest in the world), which is growing at a yearly rate of around 2.5% (over double the world-wide average). Conflicts resulting in migration from the neighbouring states of Sudan, South Sudan, and Eritrea has brought an influx of refugees and asylum seekers, which according to USAID amount to more than 733,000.

More than half the population live on less than $1 a day; over 80% of the population live in rural areas (where birth-rates are highest), and work in agriculture, the majority being smallholder farmers who rely on the crops they grow to feed themselves and their families.

The people of Ethiopia have suffered chronic food insecurity for generations: the major reason, as is the case throughout the world, is poverty. Other causes are complex; some due to climate change, others result from the ruling regime’s policies. Action Aid (AA) reports that unequal trading systems are a factor. The Ethiopian government purchases crops from farmers at low, fixed prices. International organisations encourage Ethiopia to produce cash crops to export, which reduces the land available for growing domestic crops – yes, Ethiopia – where millions rely on food aid every year – exports food. The country’s top exports are Gold (21%) Coffee (19%), vegetables and oily seeds, followed closely by live animals and khat – a highly addictive narcotic.

The agricultural system itself is another major cause. Individuals do not own land; it is assigned, AA states, “according to the size of a family, and redistributed every few years.” This means that every time land is redistributed “it is divided between more people”, so each farmer gets less. The lack of investment, combined with the need for large yields from a small area, leads to soil degradation, resulting in poor harvests.

The Oakland Institute (OI) in their report on the country’s land sales makes clear that drought (15 droughts since 1965), state-fuelled armed conflict, as well as “inappropriate government policies (land tenure, access to markets, etc.), rapid population growth and lack of infrastructure,” add to the list of causes.

Land grabbing and hunger

Since 2008 the EPRDF government has been leasing huge amounts of fertile agricultural land to so-called “foreign investors’’: international corporations, domestic agents, fund managers, and nations anxious to secure their own future food security.

Detailed research by the OI in 2011 estimated that “3,619,509ha of land have been transferred to investors, although the actual number may be higher.” Incentives to investors include exemption from import taxes, income taxes and custom duties as well as ‘easy access to credit’; the Ethiopian Development Bank will contribute up to 70% towards land costs – which are extremely cheap to begin with.

Land is sold with the understanding that it is totally cleared of everything – including people, by government forces. Indigenous communities, who have lived on the same land for generations are displaced and herded into camps – the universally condemned ‘Villagization’ programme. OI state that over a million people have been affected, and that, “the loss of farmland, the degradation and destruction of natural resources, and the reduction of water supplies are expected to result in the loss of livelihoods of affected communities.” Despite this, the ruling regime maintains that the land sold – all land is state owned (with formal and informal land rights) – is unused, and is being leased off ‘without affecting farmers’.

Industrial size farms have been built and foodstuffs (not eaten by the native population) grown for export, – back to their homeland – India for example. Very little, if any, of the food grown is going into the Ethiopian food market, and there are attractive government incentives in place to ‘ensure that food production is exported, providing foreign exchange for the country at the expense of local food supplies’. Oakland found that these commercial agricultural investments, by national and multi-national companies “increase rates of food insecurity” in Ethiopia, and that, despite “endemic poverty and food insecurity, there are no mechanisms in place to ensure that these investments contribute to improved food security.”
OI makes clear that in addition to these land sales, ‘state-fuelled armed conflict’ is an underlying cause of food insecurity. One of the worst affected areas in the current famine is the Ogaden (or Somali) region in the Southeast corner of the country. The majority ethnic Somali population has been under military control since 1992. People fleeing the area report large-scale arrests of civilians, torture, rape and murder, as well as the destruction of land, cattle and property, and confiscation of humanitarian aid by government military and Para-military forces. With international media and most humanitarian aid groups denied access to the region since 2007, independent information on the conflict and the impact and extent of the current famine is in short supply.

Official duplicity

The ruling regime, that appears to be more concerned with its international image than the suffering of those in need, has presented an ambiguous, contradictory picture of the famine.

In a recent interview Arkebe OQubay, the ‘special adviser to the Prime-Minister’ told Bloomberg that the countries greatest achievement since 1984, was that “we are being able to feed ourselves. In 1984 we were struggling to feed our 40 million-population, but now we have 95 million population and we have food security.” This is pure fantasy: Ethiopia (according to most recent, 2012 figures) remains the largest recipient of food aid in the world, and millions are today at risk of starvation.

Shortly after this claim from his ‘special adviser’, the Prime Minister himself, Hailemariam Desalegn appealed for help in supplying humanitarian aid to the millions in need, saying, ESAT News report; “it is the responsibility of the international community to intervene before things get out of hand.”

The EPRDF government owns most of the media inside the country, exerts tight controls on any marginally ‘independent’ publications and seeks to restrict and condition reporting by international media. Interviewed by foreign news agencies, officials smugly reject claims of widespread human rights violations and paint themselves as a democratic government bringing economic prosperity, opportunity and stability to the country: A fabricated image, far from the truth.

With the government more or less controlling the flow of news about the situation in the drought-hit areas, detailed, open and honest information is hard to come by. The sole independent Ethiopian broadcaster ESAT News, which has reliable contacts in the country, carries the account of an aid worker who recently spent time in the worst affected regions – Afar in the North East and Ogaden in the South East. He reports that, “the famine was already taking its toll on humans and livestock………[and] that the situation in places near Jijiga and Shinile in Somali [or Ogaden] region was very serious.” He saw, children whose skins were fused with their bones at feeding centers in the regions,” and at a health center in Afdem (in central east part of the Ogaden), met “hunger stricken bony children.”

The government proudly boasts that the Ethiopian economy has been growing, by between 7% and 8% (UK GOV figures) for almost a decade, that malnutrition and famine are no longer possible and that within a decade Ethiopia will be a middle ranking power. Nevertheless Ethiopia finds itself ranked 174th out of 188 countries in the UN Human Development Index (inequality adjusted). This suggests that whatever ‘growth’ the country has achieved, it has not changed the lives of the majority of Ethiopians, and, as is evidenced by the millions suffering from hunger and malnutrition, has clearly not eradicated food insecurity – which should be the first priority of the government.
Donor response

The scale of the current crisis has led the UNOHCA to call for $1.4 billion of funding to supply emergency food and water, to ‘in excess of 15 million’ people. So far donors have been slow to come forward, prompting Save the Children’s Ethiopia Director to describe the reaction as “the worst international response to a drought that he has seen.”

Around 45% of the total has been donated, including $200 million from the ruling regime. However the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) says it has less than a third of the money it needs to keep the aid coming.

America has offered some small-scale additional support, sending, CNN reports, “20 disaster experts to provide technical assistance, conduct humanitarian assessments and coordinate relief efforts with partners on the ground,” as well as “$4 million in maize and wheat seed for more than 226,000 households.” This level of assistance, whilst welcome, is nowhere near enough, and it seems the motive is far from pure. “Climate-related threats pose an urgent and growing threat to our national security, contributing to increased natural disasters, refugee flows and potential conflicts over basic resources like food and water,” said USAID spokesman Ben Edwards. It seems the US is concerned about ‘stability’ in Ethiopia and the wider region, not human welfare; fearing that a lack of food and work may drive young people into the hands of extremist groups, and encourage migration, adding to the huge refugee flows.

The UNOCHA estimates the total current cost of worldwide humanitarian demand to be $21 billion. With Syria on fire, a huge refugee crisis in Europe, urgent demand in Yemen, Afghanistan and Iraq, in addition to ongoing international development commitments (including Ethiopia), donor nation resources (and attention) is turned elsewhere.

The need for sharing

It is the poor who die of hunger related causes throughout the world; it is the poorest people in rural Ethiopia – who constitute some of the poorest people on Earth – who are currently at risk. Every day 35,000 children in the world die of starvation and its attendant causes, but we live in a world of plenty; there is no need for a single man, woman, or child, – in Ethiopia or anywhere else, to die because they do not have enough food or water to survive. Oxfam report that, the world now “produces 17% more food per person today than 30 years ago. But close to a billion people go to sleep hungry every night.” And they all live, more or less, in seven countries: India, China, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan.

Food, like water, shelter, access to education and health-care is a human right, and is enshrined as such in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Like all natural resources it should be shared equitably amongst the people of the world, so that nobody, anywhere – specifically the famine-affected regions of Ethiopia, where so many are once again in dire need – experiences food-insecurity and dies of hunger.

Graham Peebles is director of the Create Trust. He can be reached at: graham@thecreatetrust.org

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The worst drought in half a century has stricken large parts of Africa. More than 50 million people are threatened by hunger and few countries have been hit as hard as Ethiopia. May 14, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo

 

Ethiopia:

For a long time, the government insisted that the country could handle the situation on its own. Indeed, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn first requested assistance from the international community in March. But international aid organizations were also ordered not to speak publicly about the true scale of the disaster, the liberal magazine Addis Standard recently reported — a newspaper that is viewed with some skepticism by the government.

The authoritarian regime doesn’t tolerate criticism: Members of the opposition are persecuted and unruly journalists imprisoned. Nor are oppositional voices to be heard in parliament, where the governing Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) holds 100 percent of the seats. The party liberated Ethiopia in 1991 from the socialist terror rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam, but itself likewise acts with a heavy hand.

What Ethiopia needs is an agricultural revolution, but the government is doing too little to mechanize agriculture and increase productivity. In fact, it has done the opposite by clinging to its strategy of industrialization — one that includes the leasing of giant farmlands to foreign agricultural companies which then export foodstuffs in grand fashion from the country at a time when it must import hundreds of thousands of tons of wheat in order to compensate for the crop losses caused by the drought.


‘Death Awaits’: Africa Faces Worst Drought in Half a Century

By Bartholomäus Grill

Photo Gallery: Drought in EthiopiaPhotos
Jens Grossmann / Welthungerhilfe

The worst drought in half a century has stricken large parts of Africa — a consequence of El Niño and high population growth. More than 50 million people are threatened by hunger and few countries have been hit as hard as Ethiopia.

Herdsman Ighale Utban used to be a relatively prosperous man. Three years ago, he owned around a hundred goats. Now, though, all but five of them have died of thirst at a dried-up watering hole, victims of the worst drought seen in Ethiopia and large parts of Africa in a half-century.

Utban, a wiry man of 36 years, belongs to a nomadic people known as the Afar, who spend their lives wandering through the eponymously named state in northeastern Ethiopia. “This is the worst time I’ve experienced in my life,” he says. On some days, he doesn’t know how to provide for himself and his seven-member family.”We can no longer wander,” Utban says, “because death awaits out there.” For now, he’ll have to remain in Lii, a scattered little settlement in which several families have erected their makeshift huts. Lii means “scorching hot earth.”

‘First the Livestock Die, Then the People’

Since time immemorial, shepherds have wandered with their animals through the endless expanses of the Danakil desert. They live primarily off of meat and milk, and it was always a meagre existence. But with the current drought, which has lasted for over a year, their very existence is threatened. “First the livestock die, then the people,” Utban says.

The American relief organization USAID estimates that in Afar alone, over a half million cattle, sheep, goats, donkeys and camels have perished. Reservoirs are empty, pastures dried up, feed reserves nearly exhausted. With no rain, grass no longer grows. Many nomads are selling their emaciated livestock, but oversupply has led to a 50 percent decline in prices.

Currently, millions of African farmers and herders are suffering similar fates to Utban’s. The United Nations estimates that more than 50 million people in Africa are acutely threatened by famine. After years of hope for increased growth and prosperity, the people are once again suffering from poverty and malnutrition.

State of Emergency

The governments of Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Lesotho and Swaziland have already declared states of emergency, and massive crop losses have caused food prices to explode in South Africa. Particularly hard stricken are the countries in the southern part of the continent as well as around the Horn of Africa, Somalia, Djibouti, Eritrea and especially Ethiopia.

Meteorologists believe the natural disaster is linked to a climate phenomenon that returns once every two to seven years known as El Niño, or the Christ child, a disruption of the normal sea and air currents that wreaks havoc on global weather patterns. The El Niño experienced in 2015-2016 has been particularly strong.

Mohamed Nasir is the clan elder in the Lii nomad settlement. He says he’s never heard of El Niño before. “The lack of water is our main problem — that’s why we’re fighting for our lives.” Nasir doesn’t have any explanation for why the weather has gone crazy. For why drops of rain no longer fall from the ice-gray skies here in the mountains, while only a three days’ walk away, the plains are flooded. For why his home region has been plagued by periodic droughts for more than eight years now. “Perhaps it’s God’s will,” he says.

Nasir has just finished praying for rain, bending over in the dust according to Muslim ritual, with grains of sand still stuck to his forehead. He’s 61 years old, but the worry lines in his face make him look a lot older. He sits in the shadows of a camel thorn tree, looking east. A hot wind blows from the Red Sea out over the karstic, grayish-brown countryside. Over the horizon, the empty promise of a few cirrostratus clouds can be seen. He’s been waiting for rain for a year now.

An Image at Odds with Emerging Ethiopia

This year’s crisis is worse than the one that befell the area in 1985, Nasir says. Back then, the most catastrophic year in Ethiopian history, around a million people died of famine.

Nasir says there have already been deaths this year in his clan’s region. He points to the mountainside behind and says, “Nine children are buried there.” Other herders also speak of the first starvation victims in Afar, but it isn’t possible to confirm the reports.

The government in Addis Ababa denies the deaths. It wants to overcome Ethiopia’s image as a country eternally beset by famine and instead present itself as an emerging nation. The Ethiopian economy, after all, is among the fastest growing in the world, with annual growth rates as high as 10 percent in recent years.

Ethiopia, one of the world’s poorest countries, has transformed itself into a successful development dictatorship based on the Chinese model. It wants to achieve middle-income country status by 2025 and establish itself firmly as an emerging nation. Pictures of starving children with large, sorrowful eyes do not fit with that image.

The country’s boom is visible in the capital city of Addis Ababa, which is currently undergoing an incredibly fast process of modernization. High rises and giant new districts are sprouting up everywhere, new motorways criss-cross the capital and a light-rail system has even been built — the first anywhere south of the Sahara. Numerous new industrial enterprises are located at the city’s outskirts, where they produce textiles and leather goods for the global market.

Covering Up the Scale of the Disaster

For a long time, the government insisted that the country could handle the situation on its own. Indeed, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn first requested assistance from the international community in March. But international aid organizations were also ordered not to speak publicly about the true scale of the disaster, the liberal magazine Addis Standard recently reported — a newspaper that is viewed with some skepticism by the government.

The authoritarian regime doesn’t tolerate criticism: Members of the opposition are persecuted and unruly journalists imprisoned. Nor are oppositional voices to be heard in parliament, where the governing Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) holds 100 percent of the seats. The party liberated Ethiopia in 1991 from the socialist terror rule of Mengistu Haile Mariam, but itself likewise acts with a heavy hand.

The country’s Western allies ignore the continuing human rights violations because Ethiopia, a bastion of Christianity, is an important military partner in the battle against Islamist terror on the Horn of Africa.

In praising itself, the government often points to the lessons learned from the 1984-85 famine. In response, Ethiopia set up a disaster early warning system and created emergency grain reserves. The country built dams, irrigation systems and roads. Around 7 million small farmers now receive crisis aid through a state safety net.

Esubalew Meberate is proud of these achievements. As the head of an administrative district with 257,000 residents, he’s responsible for 37 municipalities, 22 of which have been affected by the drought. He receives visitors in his office in the city of Gohala, high in the mountains in the state of Amhara. Meberate wears a stylish black leather jacket and a white casual shirt. He’s a typical representative of the ruling class: young, power conscious and a tad arrogant. He admits that ensuring water supply is the greatest challenge. The problem is that a dearth of transport routes makes it impossible for tanker trucks to reach all the villages. Still, he says, the government is working to address it. “Our economy is growing despite the drought and our agricultural potential is nowhere near exhausted.”

‘We No Longer Have Enough to Eat’

Yet even as the elite in the capital city enthuse about economic growth, in the mountains of Amhara, the Ethiopian heartland, people like farmer Destay Zegeye are suffering. “We no longer have enough to eat,” she complains. Last year, she says, the belg, or short rainy season, failed to materialize. Neither did kiremt, the long rainy season. Zegeye says she was only able to harvest a hundred kilograms of teff, the country’s most important food grain. She was able to keep two sacks for her seven-member household — far too little for survival.

Zegeye, 36, wears a tattered, patchwork dress with a cross dangling from her neck. She walks across the field in front of her hut, a half-hectare (1.2 acre), dry and dusty square littered with stones.

She is struggling to get her family through this period of struggle. Sometimes her husband earns a few birr as a day laborer for a government employment creation program focusing on the construction of schools, roads and storm water tanks. He also recently sold two of their four oxen. The family also gets rations from the government — 15 kilograms of grains per month and household. Somehow they manage to get by, but for how much longer?

All around the mountainous country, you find the same bleak image: cracked soil hard as cement, rocky fields and dried-up creek beds — no green patches for as far as the eye can see. In between are impoverished mountain villages that are constantly growing: Places like Qualisa, for example. Just 15 years ago, only 1,500 people lived here, but today a local employee of the German relief organization German Agro Aid (Welthungerhilfe) estimates that figure to be closer to 12,000. Such growth is the result of enormous settlement pressure. The once forested mountainsides have been clear-cut because of the growing population’s need for firewood and construction material.

Ethiopia Needs an Agricultural Revolution

At the same time, agricultural production has failed to keep up with the pace of population growth. Since the massive famine that struck Ethiopia in 1984-85, the country’s population has swollen from 41 million to 102 million. One-third of the population is already considered to be malnourished today: There simply isn’t enough to go around in many parts of the country.

African droughtsZoom

DER SPIEGEL

African droughts

Much of that situation is attributable to the country’s antiquated system of subsistence farming. Millions of small farmers are incapable of yielding larger harvests because of their inability to access investment capital, equipment, fertilizers and high-quality seeds. In addition, their property belongs to the state, meaning they can cultivate it, but are unable to use it as collateral on any potential loans. They thus slave away just as in biblical times, using hoes, oxen and wooden plows to till low-yield soil.

What Ethiopia needs is an agricultural revolution, but the government is doing too little to mechanize agriculture and increase productivity. In fact, it has done the opposite by clinging to its strategy of industrialization — one that includes the leasing of giant farmlands to foreign agricultural companies which then export foodstuffs in grand fashion from the country at a time when it must import hundreds of thousands of tons of wheat in order to compensate for the crop losses caused by the drought.

Will Famine Become Chronic?

There also appears to be little concern in political power circles about annual population growth of 2.5 percent. The attitude seems to be: the more people it has, the stronger Ethiopia will be. What this overlooks is that the rapid recent population increase has been eroding successes in development policy. Agriculture experts warn that if the Ethiopian population swells to 150 million people by 2035 as some are predicting, famine could become a chronic problem.

Nor is this problem limited to Ethiopia. It could also be a harbinger of further food crises in Africa. “We are simply too many people,” says Ayenew Ferede, 37, the head of a kebele, the smallest administrative unit in Ethiopia. Seven-thousand people live in his ward, and 2,000 receive government emergency aid. “People are starving because we have run out of everything — water, grain reserves, livestock feed.”Ferede has traveled for four hours by foot here to the small town of Hamusit in the hunt for aid. He carries a heavy burden of responsibility. He, too, reports of famine deaths. “If it doesn’t rain soon, we are all going to leave.” But where will they go? “To the next kebele, to the city, across the sea to you in Europe. Someplace where there’s water and food.”

Though it has rained in recent days in some parts of the country, Ferede has little hope. “It’s too little, too late and the worst is yet to come.”


http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/drought-threatens-50-million-people-in-africa-a-1091684.html

Can aid reform end Ethiopia’s repeated hunger emergencies? May 8, 2016

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Odaa Oromoo

Famine in Ethiopia 2016

Debre Mekuria breastfeeds her malnourished baby in Seriel health centre in Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region, Feb. 13, 2016. REUTERS/Tristan Martin


 

NAIROBI, May 5 (Thomson Reuters Foundation, 4 May 2016) – Over the years, Ethiopian mother-of-three Hana Mekonnen has received all sorts of aid designed to free her from the bitter trap of poverty and hunger: goats, cash transfers, resettlement and, of course, sacks of grain.

None has worked.

Hana’s one-year-old son was diagnosed with malnutrition in October, usually a time of plenty in Ethiopia’s mountainous Amhara region, when the main harvest starts to come in.

The Horn of Africa nation’s worst drought in 50 years has left her destitute, reduced to arguing with neighbors over the allocation of aid rations.

“Because of the drought, we are all poor,” she said, seated in her dimly-lit hut with her child on her lap.

“No one in this village has anything to give their children. We all live on food aid.”

Hana blames God for failed rains, but development experts say her chronic poverty is the result of traditional farming methods, a soaring population and a lack of alternative sources of income.

Millions of farmers and herders across Africa have been pushed into crisis by drought this year, raising questions about the ability of aid to break the hunger cycle, despite a resolve to do so after famine killed 260,000 people in Somalia in 2011.

How to make people less vulnerable to natural disasters, and improving the aid response when they do strike, are key themes of the World Humanitarian Summit on May 23-24 in Istanbul.

SAFETY NET

Hana receives cash and food six months a year, in exchange for environmental work, like digging ponds and planting trees.

Ethiopia’s Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), set up in 2005, helps her through the ‘lean season’ between harvests, while also rehabilitating land and building roads, health posts and schools to tackle some of the underlying causes of poverty.

The scheme, administered by the government and largely funded by international donors, was set up to end the annual scramble for emergency funding to feed hungry Ethiopians, averaging 5 million a year in the decade before its launch.

It has made the provision of food aid more predictable and cheaper, helping to prevent the terrible famines that tarnished Ethiopia’s international image in the 1970s and 80s.

But it has not ended hunger.

“Ethiopia is, and has demonstrated itself to be, very effective at response,” said Laura Hammond, who heads the development studies department at the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).

“But there’s still this level of vulnerability and poverty that is persistent and that’s harder to turn a corner on.”

This year, one in five Ethiopians need food aid, with 8 million receiving support from the PSNP and another 10.2 million from a $1.4 billion humanitarian appeal.

By 2020, the project – Africa’s largest social safety net – will have cost donors $5.7 billion, raising questions about its sustainability.

“Ultimately, there does need to be a vision for this not being a donor-financed safety net,” Greg Collins, director of the Center for Resilience at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“We more and more need to be investing in creating opportunities that allow those who are able to graduate from the PSNP.”

Initial optimism about a rapid shift to self-sufficiency has been replaced with an acceptance that some Ethiopians will be dependent on aid indefinitely.

GROWTH STORY

The busy roads, endless construction sites and new light railway snaking over Ethiopia’s capital are testament to the double-digit growth it has enjoyed for the last decade.

This growth has led to a dramatic drop in poverty rates, with the share of the population living below the poverty line falling from 56 to 31 percent between 2000 and 2011, according to World Bank data.

“Ethiopia is the darling of Africa at the moment,” said Lindsey Jones, a researcher with the London-based Overseas Development Institute. “Its economy is expanding massively.”

But deeper structural changes, like urbanization and industrialization, are needed to end poverty, experts say.

From the early 1990s, Ethiopia pursued an agriculture-led development strategy, under visionary strongman Meles Zenawi.

Increased use of fertilizer, better seeds and expert advice produced sharp increases in yields, benefiting the 92 percent of Ethiopians who, according to the World Bank, own land.

As Ethiopia’s population has doubled since the early 1990s, many people’s farms are often only half a hectare.

“There is no means to increase the landholding size,” said Mitiku Kassa, head of Ethiopia’s National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee. “The only option is to increase the productivity of the land by using agricultural technologies.”

Each ward has three development agents, graduates in crop and animal sciences, who demonstrate to villagers how to increase their yields, he said.

But farmers remain vulnerable to poor rains, unlike workers in manufacturing and services jobs, which have proven critical in reducing poverty in countries like Bangladesh and Rwanda.

Ethiopia’s recent investment in the food processing, textile and flower industries is a step towards diversifying the economy away from its heavy dependence on farming, said SOAS’s Hammond.

ACT BEFORE DROUGHT

The most popular buzzword among aid workers after the 2011 drought across the Horn of Africa was “resilience”, which means boosting people’s ability to bounce back from shocks like a failed harvest or a death in the family.

Projects that provide families with alternative sources of income, such as livestock, or loans to set up small businesses, can make them less vulnerable when disaster hits.

“What’s needed is more investment in action before droughts strike,” said Michael Mosselmans, head of humanitarian policy and practice for Christian Aid.

Every dollar spent on preparedness saves seven dollars in disaster aftermath, the United Nations says, but it is harder to generate enthusiasm for preventative projects than tackling visible crises, like starving children.

At the World Humanitarian Summit, Christian Aid is calling for 5 percent of aid to be spent on resilience and disaster preparedness, up from the current 0.4 percent.

Ethiopia is not holding its breath.

The government’s Mitiku says efforts to end hunger for women like Hana must be driven by Ethiopia itself.

“Emergencies will continue, in my view, as long as we are living with adverse climate change,” he said, drawing comparisons with drought-hit California.

“They are not appealing (for funds) because they have the capacity to respond. We expect Ethiopia to have such capacity to respond by itself… when we reach lower middle-income (status),” he said, a target it has set for 2025.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-humanitarian-summit-resilience-ethiop-idUSKCN0XW00R

Famine: Ethiopia (Addis Ababa): Increased number of people on the streets begging for food and money and the government is trying hard to keep word from getting out May 2, 2016

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Odaa OromooPeople are dying of famine in Ethiopia, Hararghe including children, mothers and adults July, August 2015 during Obama Africa visit4

DEFYING CENSORSHIP, HUNGER STORIES EMERGE FROM ETHIOPIA

by Christabel Ligami

During my recent visit to Addis Ababa, one thing caught my eyes: the increased number of people on the streets begging for food and money. This is not the same Ethiopian capital I visited last year. It is very different due to a severe drought, and the government is trying hard to keep word from getting out.

<p>Ziway Dugda district communities waiting for food distribution at Ogolcha food centre in a drought stricken area in Ziway Dugda district, during UN Secretary General, Ban Ki moon's visit to Ethiopia, on 31 January, 2016.</p>
Ziway Dugda district communities waiting for food distribution at Ogolcha food centre in a drought stricken area in Ziway Dugda district, during UN Secretary General, Ban Ki moon’s visit to Ethiopia, on 31 January, 2016.(AP/MulugetaAyene)

I asked a fellow journalist from Ethiopia – I will not mention his identity for security reasons – if I could take a photo.

“The government doesn’t want us (media) to write about this, and especially if you are a foreign journalist, you will be in much trouble. Most of the local journalists here are in jail for reporting the hunger stories and other stories that the government is against.

“The government thinks by telling the hunger stories, it is an embarrassment to the country,” he says, echoing what I hear from other journalists as well as NGOs.

Ethiopia is facing its worst drought in at least three decades, with devastating effects on agriculture and livestock, whilst millions of people face food insecurity. More than 10 million people – one in ten Ethiopians – are said to need emergency aid due to failed rains.

The Ethiopian government and humanitarian agencies have said that Ethiopia needs nearly US$600 million in international humanitarian assistance. But critics say the government’s new leasing law for foreign concerns is aggravating the crisis by blocking livestock from grazing in areas less-affected by the drought.

One-quarter of all districts in Ethiopia – mainly in the north of the country – are officially classified as facing a food security and nutrition crisis after the drought cut production by up to 90 per cent in some areas. That has caused a flight to the cities.

“Whenever the drought occurs in these areas, people migrate to areas less affected to look for food, and Addis Ababa is one of the areas they move to, especially those just in the outskirts of the city,” said Mitiku Kassa, the Commissioner in charge of Ethiopia’s Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Agency, in an interview with Equal Times.

According to the NGO Save the Children the number of those affected could be higher, considering that 7.9 million people are supported by the government’s safety net program that provides wheat, cereals and cooking oil. It says at least 6 million children are hungry.


Worst seen since the 1980s

The nation has historically struggled with hunger, including in the 1980s, when famine and civil war left hundreds of thousands of people dead.

Experts are predicting that Ethiopia will experience the worst drought in generations, one that will surpass the 1984 famine that killed one million people.

United Sates Department of Agriculture reports that Ethiopia sought 1 million tons of wheat late last year – more than what it bought last season. The government also purchased 500,000 tons more last month through the port of Djibouti, as Ethiopia is a landlocked country.

It is estimated that imports will jump to 2.5 million tons this year, up from the 900,000 tons purchased last year. And USAID, which has deployed a disaster response team to Ethiopia, last month announced that it would provide nearly US$4 million in maize and wheat seed for more than 226,000 households.

“The Ethiopian government is building distribution points and temporary warehouses for the food delivery,” Mohammed Said, the Ethiopian government Director of Communications and Media, tells Equal Times.

“All the centres in the drought-affected regions have been equipped with food they need, and focus is now shifting to providing seeds and fertiliser to farmers so they can start planting following the start of rains.”

He said that the government has a budget of US$381million to cater for those affected by drought, including their animals.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) early this year announced an emergency US$50 million aid to help drought-hit Ethiopians.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Ethiopia has launched emergency food delivery and supervision system that helps provide food for the drought affected areas before the onset of the rainy season. He also called for more international assistance.

The United Nations also says that 5.8 million people in the country are in need water, sanitation, and hygiene services while the total assistance required in 2016 is US$1.4 billion.

The predicted number of children at risk from suffering from severe malnutrition this year is 430,000.

Paul Handley, Head of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ethiopia, said that by the end of the first quarter of 2016, 546,257 moderately malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding women were treated through the Targeted Supplementary Feeding (TSF) Programme. This represents 82 per cent of the first quarter target of 665,000 people.

“Food overall will become harder to access if we continue to see prices rise, food stocks deplete and livestock become weaker, less productive, and perish,” says FAO representative for Ethiopia, Amadou Allahoury.

“As soon as the rains start, FAO plans include distributing seeds and animal feed, vaccinating animals, delivering 100,000 sheep and goats to vulnerable households and giving farmers cash for bringing weakened and unproductive livestock to slaughter.”

He says that the current drought is not just a food crisis – it is above all a livelihood crisis.

Under Ethiopian law, land is government-owned but occupants have customary rights. In 2010, Ethiopia passed a new farm policy to which the government is leasing 3 million hectares to foreign agricultural investors who mostly include Chinese, Indians and Saudis.

According to the government, the foreign investors will have to satisfy domestic food needs before they can export, while at the same time improve the social welfare of people in the rural areas.

“You cannot speak about land issues now especially with the food insecurity in the country. You will be arrested for that,” says one official who spoke on condition of anonymity. “The vast majority of land is being used by foreigners for agriculture, especially rice cultivation in the southwest region,” he says.

Although not as affected by the drought as the northern region, the southwest is where most of the food for the country comes from.

“Pastoralists would also move to this region whenever there is drought in the north, to graze their animals, but now they can’t,” the official says. “This is one of the reasons we are witnessing the worst hunger in the country.”


http://www.equaltimes.org/defying-censorship-hunger-stories?lang=en#.Vychth0rJdi

What are the real causes of the Ethiopian ‘famine’? December 27, 2015

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Odaa OromooThe grim reality behind 'Ethiopia rise' hypeFamine Ethiopia 2015 BBC report

 

The mood within the power circle is one of relaxation…One can hardly find the sense of urgency expected…The response system remains fragmented. There is no functioning integration between risk assessment units, response institutions, local administrations and federal level units… The whole response system seems to host great inefficiency[16].

The credo was: the country has its own capacity to deal with the crisis; the government has enough food stock[7]. Redwan Hussein was categorical: “We are able to feed ourselves”.[8]The Prime Minister and Chairman of the ruling party, Haile Mariam Dessalegn, repeated such statements word by word[9].

But one month later, Redwan Hussein acknowledged that the recent rise in the number of victims calls for an urgent foreign assistance. “Although the government can tackle the problem by diverting the budget allocated for development, it needs international assistance so that the on-going pace of development would not be hampered[10]. And even more: the government is now complaining that the donors “have already promised so much, but they have delivered practically nothing. The government is working alone[11]. Even more: the government is now complaining that the donors “have already promised so much, but they have delivered practically nothing. The government is working alone”.

This provoked strong reactions. “Enough is enough… It is embarrassing and humiliating indeed to observe our smartly dressed leaders scuttling from one donor meeting into another with their begging bowls… It surely should not be beyond Ethiopia’s capacity to handle minor droughts without the necessity for the degrading foreign aid… By running to the UN for help, the EPRDF – the ruling party – has gravely injured the positive image of the country[12].

The designated culprit is the drought, attributed to the climatic El Nino phenomena. Meteorological experts have confirmed it is the worst in the last two or three decades. However, this kind of crisis is recurrent. The sequence of bad rain seasons leading to bad harvests leading to a food crisis is unstoppable in a country where 98% of the agriculture remains rain fed.

It is highly probable that sooner or later TV screens will show us crying children with emaciated faces and  balloon stomachs. The viewers will be convinced that once more famine and Ethiopia form a diabolical duo[13].  But there is always and at any time at least one place in Ethiopia where a camera could catch such a worrying scene. Does it mean that Ethiopia’s old evils have once again risen to the surface?

First, the apocalyptical famines of 1972-73 and 1984-85 left hundreds thousands of deaths, probably around 200,000 and 400,000 respectively. Now, whether real famine pockets have developed here and there remains to be seen – usually the stage of famine is considered reached when a significant number of adults start to die from hunger. In any case the possible death toll would have nothing to do with these previous figures.

Second, the official growth of the cereals production, and therefore the agricultural development action of the government are rightly the subject of enquiry. Last year, the official figure for the cereals’ harvest has been 27 million of tons for a population close to 100 million, that is to say 270 kg/person/year. Even with a high range estimate of post-harvest losses and reserve of future seeds, this left a per person consumption availability of basic food well above the required 180 kilo per year. Given these figures, Ethiopia should be overflowing with locally available surpluses.

The food market prices have remained relatively stable, and within the range of the global inflation. For example, the wholesale price of sorghum and maize in Addis Ababa are stable compared to one year ago, wheat has increased by 7% and decreased by 3% since its summer peak, teff, the most locally prized cereal, has increased by 13%[14]. But one should be aware that during former similar crises, the crops inflation started at the beginning of the following year.

But in any case, to attribute food shortages to a shortfall in the whole agricultural production cycle is misleading.

At least half of the Ethiopian farmers are net buyers of their own household food consumption thanks to extra-farm incomes. In bad years, their production drops, and they would need more money to respond to their needs. But bad years also mean less agricultural daily labour, well less paid, while this represents usually the main source of cash for the poorest. Thus, they face a food shortage not because the market is lacking, but because they cannot afford to buy it. Thus, they face a food shortage not because the market is lacking, but because they cannot afford to buy it. Amartya Sen has perfectly demonstrated this mechanism for the 1943 Bengal famine in India.

Third, the early warning systems have operated relatively properly, even if they need to be improved, after having been launched more than a decade ago.

Fourth, the so-called biblical famines of 1972-73 and 1984-85 were deliberately hidden so as to preserve the image of the imperial regime or of the Derg military junta. Even more recently, in 2008-2009, both the authorities and the donor community publicly denied the acuteness of the food crisis for three to four months, thus leading to a corresponding delay in the aid delivery.[15] Again, the reaction of the authorities is under strong criticism here and there. “The mood within the power circle is one of relaxation…One can hardly find the sense of urgency expected…The response system remains fragmented. There is no functioning integration between risk assessment units, response institutions, local administrations and federal level units… The whole response system seems to host great inefficiency[16].

Interviewed under conditions of anonymity

International experts who deal with food crisis year on year don’t share this point of view, even when they go off the record and far from being apologists of the regime. Their general opinion is that the government has efficiently performed vis-à-vis the crisis, both in terms of volume and organisation. Aid officials and NGO’s leaders, interviewed under conditions of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue for the authorities, reached the same conclusion[17].

For them, the authorities have reacted faster and more vigorously than during any of the previous crisis. Above all, their level of assistance is beyond comparison with those of the past. For the first time, they have drawn on the national and regional budgets to put on the table first a tiny 33 million US dollars, second around 200 millions of the 600 million needed at that time, and just now an additional 97 million[18].

This represents around 3% of the whole budget, and 9% of the investment budget. Haile Mariam Dessalegn travelled to the affected areas in the Somali region at the end of October, and almost all regional high officials also did this. The concerned state departments are fully mobilized, including and even more in the regions. When the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ethiopia said that “the leadership and commitment of the government in driving its response to the impact of the El-Nino phenomenon on food security in affected areas has been exceptional[19], this statement is not only diplomatically motivated. When Addis Standard writes: “The trend of not admitting on time to a looming drought hasn’t improved over the last four decades since 1974[20] – the weekly is wrong.

It is obvious that the ruling power does not want the age-old dramatic images of starvation and the dead aired again all over the world. Reports have proven that, at least locally, a lot is done to hide the drama and even to silence the victims[21]. But trying to minimize the publicity about the food shortages, which the authorities do with a patent clumsiness, must not be mixed up with trying to withhold information of a crisis.

Fifth, the worst is highly probably to come. There is no doubt that the summer rains season in many parts of the highlands were insufficient and erratic, including in some of the most productive areas, and that the main harvest has been affected as a result. The crisis can only deepen until at best the small spring harvest and, more possibly the main production next autumn.

Controlling the crisis

Now the key question is: facing unprecedented growing needs, could the authorities – and the donors – continue to upgrade their response capacities, and thus maintain the crisis under control? Now the key question is: facing unprecedented growing needs, could the authorities – and the donors – continue to upgrade their response capacities, and thus maintain the crisis under control?

Some argue that the latter seem now to have reached their limits. The State Minister for Agriculture and Secretary of the National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee Mitiku Kassa stated: “You can build resilience, but when conditions are bad enough, so severe – and we’re seeing the perfect storm – these resilience systems are overawed”. He added: “The international community is not in a position to respond to our crisis[22].

200,000 tons of food are on their way to Ethiopia. 600,000 tons have just been ordered. A bid for one million tons will soon be called for. The aim is not only to feed the starving people, but also to prevent a sky-rocketing in food prizes.

Where could the money come from to buy on the international market? First, Ethiopia’s lack of foreign currencies is chronic. It seems the World Bank and the African Development Bank are willing to give a hand. But other donors are more reluctant, and some of them even condition their further financial effort on the same move by the Ethiopian government.

The minimum delay between a bid and the effective distribution of the food at a village level is five months. The only solution to feel the gap in between is to dip into the available local reserves. But again: who will pay? At this stage, some donor organizations will be short of food to distribute in January in some areas.

Finally, the logistic bottlenecks. Most of the importation of Ethiopia transits through Djibouti port. It manages usually around 500,000 tons per month. Can it deal with an additional 2 million tons, and with what kinds of delay?

Sixth, Ethiopia is expected to become a middle level income country in 2025. Could the continuous foreseen growth of the Ethiopian economy, including the agricultural sector, progressively absorb these perennial food crises? The answer looks rather grim.

First, the cereal production has officially tripled during the last fifteen years. Even if this figures is highly questionable, the per capita production has substantially increased for sure. But the percentage of people suffering from the droughts has remained stable: around 20% in 2001-2002, around 15% in 2007-2008, around 20% now. “The poorest 15 percent of the population experienced a decline in well-being in 2005-11 mainly as a result of high food prices ».[23]  “Graduation from the Safety Net Program has been short of expectation[24].

The number of people who succeeded in increasing their assets enough to live without perennial aid has not exceeded a small percentage. So the hard core of the poorest farmers, the food insecure people, chronically vulnerable to any climate shock, has not been significantly alleviated.

Prospects

The present agricultural development policy does not seem to be appropriate to reverse this trend. At the grass roots level, when asked why this hard core of poverty remains, and even extends, the local authorities and development agents respond: “because these farmers do not follow our development advice”. When asked why they cannot escape from poverty, these poor farmers reply: “because the development programme does not fit our needs and means”. Actually, it looks like they are left to their fate.

They even start to complain that a kind of implicit alliance has been formed between the local authorities and the most enterprising farmers – the so called “model farmers” – to endorse this neglect. The former focus their efforts on the latter because they can boast of having better results to their superiors. The latter are the only ones who can rent a land from a poor farmer who is obliged to do so because he is engulfed in a debt spiral when any shock occurs.

The government seems to have validated this status quo. The draft of the Growth and Transformation Plan for 2015/16-2019/20 devotes few words to this destitute hard core. It mentions “strengthening the Productive Safety Net Program” and “providing effective credit facilities and other supplementary and complementary programs… to accelerate the graduation of Programme beneficiaries[25].

But it looks like it doubts itself whether any of these actions would succeed: the food reserve for Food Security, Disaster Prevention and Preparedness, would have to be raised from 400,000 tons now to 3 million tons, which could be reduced to a little bit to more than one million tons in the finalised Plan[26].

Finally, the same scapegoat is selected as always. “The right to ownership of rural and urban land… is exclusively vested in the State and in the peoples of Ethiopia”, states the Constitution. Thus, the land tenure system, because it forbids sales, leases and mortgages, because it allows eviction for public interests, would be the main culprit for low production and thus for the food shortages in case of crisis. The only solution would be privatisation. But the land tenure security is now largely assured through the new 30 years land certificates. De facto, a mechanism of leasing has been put in place which allows land to be rented for cash or through a share cropping agreement. Privatisation would worsen the situation of the poorest farmers.

In the case of drought, they inevitably fall in debt. If a land market existed, their only choice would be to sell their last asset, their land, with very few possibilities of being employed either locally or in the urban areas, because the available workforce outnumbers the needs. They would simply join the growing rural lumpen proletariat – who is precisely the main food aid seeker.

 

 

 

 

 

Read more at original source:-

Source: What are the real causes of the Ethiopian ‘famine’?

Ethiopia: Ethiopian drought/ famine victims attacked for talking about food shortage – VOA December 6, 2015

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???????????Famine Ethiopia 2015 BBC reportFamine in Ethiopia 2015

Ethiopian drought victims attacked for talking about food shortage – VOA

Bloomberg Business: Ethiopia Sees Nationwide Power Cuts While Drought Dries Dams December 1, 2015

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???????????Famine in Ethiopia 2015Energy Consumption, disconnected Africa6

Ethiopia may face further power shortages because of low water levels at dams after a poor rainy season, an official said, following two days of sporadic cuts caused by technical faults at hydropower plants.

Unspecified issues at a substation serving Oromia region’s Gibe 1 and 2 plants, which together can produce as much as 604 megawatts, and a shutdown at the 320-megawatt Tana Beles installation in Amhara state, caused the outages on Nov. 28-29, Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy spokesman Bezuneh Tolcha said Monday by phone.

The drought affecting the east of the country that’s left 8.2 million Ethiopians in need of food aid wasn’t related to the outages, though that may change in the coming months unless there’s non-seasonal rainfall, he said.

“There has been a shortage of rain all over country,” he said from the capital, Addis Ababa. “The dams have not collected as much water as they can collect.”

Growth in Ethiopia, Africa’s second-most populous nation and largest coffee producer, was 8.7 percent last year and may be 8.1 percent this fiscal year, according to the International Monetary Fund. The drought threatens to crimp economic expansion in a country where 39 percent of output stems from agriculture, about 90 percent of which relies on rain.

Water Shortages

The 300-megawatt capacity Tekeze Hydropower Project in the drought-affected Tigray region is producing only 10 megawatts, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn was cited as saying in an interview with The Reporter, an Addis Ababa-based newspaper, published on Nov. 28.

Two months after the end of the main rainy season, there are severe water shortages at the country’s oldest dam at Koka on the Awash River, which can generate 42 megawatts, and the 153-megawatt Melka Wakena on the Wabe Shabelle in east Oromia, Hailemariam said.

Over 94 percent of Ethiopia’s electricity was generated by hydropower in the last quarter of the fiscal year that ended July 7, and production increased 3.5 percent to 2,300 gigawatt hours compared with the year before, according to central bank data. The first two turbines from the 1,870-megawatt Gibe III plant have started producing power, Bezuneh said, without giving details.

The construction of Africa’s largest power station, the 6,000-megawatt Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, is scheduled for completion in mid-2017 and it may annually produce as much as 15,860 gigawatt-hours of electricity.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-01/ethiopia-sees-nationwide-power-cuts-while-drought-dries-dams

On Ethiopian Famine 2015/2016:Despite its higher severity in terms of intensity and magnitude as compared to similar humanitarian crises in recent time, the current hunger in Ethiopia doesn’t receive adequate response yet from national and international aid organizations. November 23, 2015

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???????????Ethiopia in 2015, catatrphic famine, over 15 million people affectedFamine in Ethiopia 2015Famine Ethiopia 2015 BBC report

On Ethiopian Hunger 2015

By  Tolera Fikru Gemta,  Social Media  (Facebook)

Despite its higher severity in terms of intensity and magnitude as compared to similar humanitarian crises in recent time, the current hunger in Ethiopia doesn’t receive adequate response yet from national and international aid organizations. Though good news are coming about bilateral aid support from U.S and certain EU members, the INGOs which have got ample experience in the area of humanitarian responses in the country are either still on the stage of preparation or did not yet plan to respond. The irresponsible position of the ruling party-EPRDF – that claimed the drought would not be beyond government capacity- might have contributed for the late and/ or no response acts of the aid organizations.

Moreover, Aid organizations become more curious about their mandate/roles and forced to operate under strict precaution (even in the case of emergency interventions) since the new civil society law enacted in the year 2009- that explicitly prohibited them to undertake any right based projects. The critical question usually asked by the practitioners goes, “is there any thing as such which can not be a right in the development endeavor? be it education, livelihood, economic empowerment or emergency food support?”. The ruling elites have never wanted to properly address such confusions emanated from their notorious enactment, as their main intention is to narrow dawn the space of civil society in Ethiopia’s political engagements.

Whatever the reasons, the emergency response support to millions who are severely affected by the disaster is already delaying. The results of such irresponsible acts might claim the lives of the vulnerable groups, if the trend continues so. The internationally accepted “Humanitarian” principles and standards are being compromised in Ethiopia due political irresponsibility in the ruling elites and lack of adequate sensitivity in the aid sector. The hunger incident has already severely affected the life of 15 million people through putting at least six regional states in “red level” hot spot situation. Oromia regional state having more than 125 most affected districts is leading in the humanitarian crisis. It should be noted that the recurrent drought crisis is proportionally shifting to South of the country during the recent incidents.

The claimed “food aid” through various government owned mechanisms do not address the need of all affected communities fairly and equally mainly due to autocratic political acts. The target community/ localities that showed their support to opposition forces during the recent national election 2015, for instant, would be discriminated by blind cadres during such government based aid support. Denial of such food aid-humanitarian support- to certain severely affected households due to failing to pay membership fee for OPDO- ruling party in Oromia region- was also observed in some areas.

Thus, alternative emergency response interventions should be in placed immediately. The Aid Organizations (INGOs) and other national civil society organizations as well as the entire community should act now, irrespective the prevailing political and bureaucratic challenges.

Related:-

SBO – Sadaasa 22, 2015. Oduu, Qophii Beelaa, Dhimmoota Adda Addaa Irratti Gaaffii fi Deebii Namoota Gara Garaa Waliin Taasifamee fi Qophiilee Biroo

 

 

 

 

Oromia (Harargee Bahaa Aanaa Miidhagaa Tolaa): Gazaxessoonii bayyeen dhaabbiilee sabqunnamtii itoophiyaa irra Godina Harargee Bahaa Aanaa Miidhagaa Tolaa (miidhagaa lolaa) dhaquun waa’ee hoongeefi abaar yeroo isan nama gafachuu barbadaan, Bulchaan Aanaa Miidhagaa namonni akkaa ittii dhihatanii hin dubanne dhorkaa turan. Boodarra garuu nama dhalaa takkaa kanuma warrii Aanaa qopheysee qabanii haseysaan. Isiiniis waan isaan dhooysuu barbadaan osoo hin dhooysiin ittii himtee

https://oromianeconomist.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/oromia-harargee-bahaa-aanaa-miidhagaa-tolaa-gazaxessoonii-bayyeen-dhaabbiilee-sabqunnamtii-itoophiyaa-irra-godina-harargee-bahaa-aanaa-midhaga-tolaa-miidhagaa-lolaa-dhaquun-waaee-hoonge/

Amharic Program-በኢትዮጵያ በተደጋጋሚ እየተከሰተ ባለው ረሃብ ዙሪያ ከእሸቱ ሆማ እና ግርማ ጉታማ ጋር የተደረግ ወቅታዊ ዉይይት:: Nov. 21, 2015

https://www.oromiamedia.org/2015/11/amharic-program-%E1%89%A0%E1%8A%A2%E1%89%B5%E1%8B%AE%E1%8C%B5%E1%8B%AB-%E1%89%A0%E1%89%B0%E1%8B%B0%E1%8C%8B%E1%8C%8B%E1%88%9A-%E1%8A%A5%E1%8B%A8%E1%89%B0%E1%8A%A8%E1%88%B0%E1%89%B0-%E1%89%A3%E1%88%88/

IRIN: Alarm bells are ringing for a food emergency in Ethiopia. The UN says 15 million people will need help over the coming months. The government, wary of stigma and therefore hesitant to ask for help November 19, 2015

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???????????Ethiopia in 2015, catatrphic famine, over 15 million people affected

 

HOW BAD IS THE DROUGHT IN ETHIOPIA?

IRIN  humanitarian news and Analysis

19 November 2015

Alarm bells are ringing for a food emergency in Ethiopia. The UN says 15 million people will need help over the coming months. The government, wary of stigma and therefore hesitant to ask for help, has nevertheless said more than eight million Ethiopians need food assistance. Extra imports to stem the crisis are already pegged at more than a million tonnes of grain, beyond the government’s means. Inevitably, comment and media coverage compare the current situation with 1984 – the year Ethiopia’s notorious famine hit the headlines. Reports suggest this is the worst drought in 30 years. One declares it a“code red” drought. So how bad actually is it?

The country of close to 100 million people is huge, spread over an area of more than a million square kilometres that ranges from semi-desert to swamp to mountain ranges and fertile farmland. The weather systems and agricultural patterns are diverse and complex. Even within the higher-altitude areas of the country, the most densely populated, the typical rainy seasons vary and crops are grown at different times of the year. This year, the weather has been prone to even greater variation due to the global climate phenomenon El Niño, last seen in 1997-1998.

Ethiopia produces more than 90 percent of its own food. Last year, the cereal harvest was estimated to be 23 million tonnes, but imports in recent years averaged 1.2 million tonnes – just five percent of that. So even if 2015 and 2016 are bad years (the impact of a poor harvest is felt months later as food stocks run out), the vast majority of Ethiopian people will support themselves and eat produce from their own country. But in a giant like Ethiopia, 15 percent of the population is 15 million people – more than the entire humanitarian caseload of the Syrian crisis. An extra five percent of cereals is another 1.2 million tonnes.The costs and logistics become formidable at this scale.

WEATHER

The weather is only one part of the equation in whether people go hungry. Politics, economics, the availability of seeds and fertiliser, conflict, trade and labour markets, population pressure, social habits, and a host of other factors matter too.

While the science and sociology of food security is complex and layered, international agencies working on drought and hunger-prone countries, including Ethiopia, use a scheme called the Integrated Food Security and Humanitarian Phase Classification Framework (IPC) to simplify the mass of underlying data into a five-step scale – from minimal food security pressure to famine. Some parts of northern Ethiopia are already flagged as being in “Phase 4”, one step from the worst category. More are expected to follow, unless sufficient resources can halt the slide.

Even getting a single view of one year’s weather, let alone human interaction with it, is no simple matter.

For more than 30 years, meteorologists have gathered a giant archive of satellite data for Ethiopia. US satellites, in particular METOP-AVHRR, churn out petabytes of data. Triangulating that with other sources, including ground-based measurement, farm assessments, nutrition, and price monitoring provides a rich toolkit to estimate vegetation, rainfall, soil moisture and temperature – ultimately giving an idea of food on the table.

Considering all the variables, the drought and famine watchdog FEWS NET, established in the wake of the 1984 famine, has used direct, but not alarmist, language to describe the prospects: its latest report for Ethiopia is titled “Large-scale food security emergency projected for 2016”. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, meanwhile, warned: “food security conditions sharply deteriorated.”

Political sensitivity, donor pressures, logistics, media distortion, inefficiency and scepticism may yet conspire to tip more Ethiopians into “Phase 4.” Even in the best-case scenario, the financial resources will be hard to find – $270m is still needed for 2015 alone, according to UN’s emergency aid coordination body, OCHA, and needs are set to rise sharply (the US, the UK and China have pledged relatively early to the response, according to the government).

To illustrate the complexity of weather patterns in Ethiopia and attempt to demonstrate a link with El Niño, IRIN analysed 30 years of satellite imagery to provide some visual evidence of the complex and erratic picture of weather in the Horn of Africa. Read more in the following link

http://newirin.irinnews.org/dataviz/2015/11/19/how-bad-is-the-drought-in-ethiopia

Why is Ethiopia hungry again? Ityophiyaan maaliif ammas beelofte ? October 24, 2015

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Why is Ethiopia hungry again?

By Jawar Mohammed

Just couple months ago, Western leaders and media outlets were fascinated with Ethiopia’s ‘miraculous’ economic growth. From Bill Gates to Obama and everyone else in between, they were convinced and tried to persuade others that Ethiopia has put that sad history of hunger behind itself and emerged as the fastest growing economy in Africa, if not the world.

Fast forward to these past few weeks, reports have begun giving back Ethiopia its old name- a starving country begging for urgent food aid. A month ago, the number of people needing aid were reported to be 4.5 million; now its 8.2 million and expected to reach 15 million by the end of this year. Two months ago when OMN first reported about the death of children from hunger in Western Hararghe, the regime dismissed the reports and suppressed the plea for emergency food aid. It has now been forced to admit the crisis and it is, as usual, asking the world for food aid to feed its hungry population. No amount of PR campaign or cooking the numbers to showcase double digit economic growth can hide the fact that Ethiopia is once again hit with famine.

Let’s ask the obvious question: why is Ethiopia hungry again? Within the Ethiopian discourse, four factors are often attributed as causing the recurring hunger. First, the government; not just the current but also past regimes, usually blame hunger on change in weather and climatic conditions for causing crop failure that results in food shortage. But how does an economy growing by double digits, whose agricultural sector apparently shows at least 9% annual growth for over a decade and produced ‘millions of millionaire farmers’, fail to produce enough surplus to feed few provinces hit with shortage of rainfall ?

The second theory attributes the problem hunger not on shortage of food but its weak circulation within the country. Popularized by Dr Eleni Gerbremedihin, this argument states that ‘market failure’ results in a situation where one province starves while another wastes food due to surplus production. So, Dr Eleni took her “idea whose time has come” to the World Bank and Meles Zenawi resulting with establishment of Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) in 2008. Launched with huge financial injection and massive public relation campaign, the project promised to make hunger history by ushering in a new system of market efficiency. As inspiring as Dr Eleni was, few of us remained skeptical from the get go. In response to her article promoting her project, I wrote a piece which argued that as long as the political market remains monopolized by one group, her ambition of creating an efficient and competitive exchange system is unlikely to be realized. I hate to say I told you so but 7 years later, ECX’s much anticipated revolution in agricultural market is not visible. Eleni herself has moved on ( quit or fired depending on who you ask). And hunger is back to being Ethiopia’s trademark. Genuine efforts to engineer market efficiency are either be rejected or sabotaged to serve the regime. If we take Dr Eleni’s project, the regime twisted and turned into a tool for further monopolizing the market. ECX enabled EFFORT owned companies to push out competitors and monopolize coffee export. A mechanism ( ECX ) that meant to open up the market to increase efficiency has turned out be a tool for control, corruption and monopolistic market practice.

The third argument blames hunger on the land tenure policy of the country. The argument goes that the source of food shortage in Ethiopia is farmers cultivating crop on small and fragmented plots of land using century old subsistent farming practices. Highly publicized during the 2005 election as key policy element of the CUD, this proposed solution advocates privatizing land ownership so that wealthy investors can help develop large plots of land using technologically advanced tools and inputs. This argument has already been put to test and failed to yield its intended result. Although land has not been officially privatized, domestic and foreign investors have been granted as much land as they request at dirt cheap price. Yet we are not witnessing the anticipated improvement in agricultural productivity and hunger remains a recurrent problem. Millions are starving even after over 3 million hectare of land has been leased out to the rich. Privatizing land while the political system is not competitive means, land would be transferred from millions of smallholders to few with connection to the ruling class. These few ‘investors’ are driven with profit maximizing incentives hence mostly produce for export, or hoard their product to limit circulation with the market to keep price high.

This leaves us with the fourth argument which asserts that lack of freedom is the real cause of hunger. This idea was developed by India’s Amartya Sen, who used Ethiopia as main example on a thesis that would net him Nobel Prize. Basically the argument affirms that hunger occurs only in dictatorship not in democracy. In democracy drought doesn’t necessarily lead to starvation as the media, civic society and elected officials preemptively publicize and exert pressure on the government to act early to ensure food supply. Let’s take Ethiopia and Kenya for instance. Their shared border provinces are inhabited by same people who mostly live nomadic life, and the climate condition is the same. Whenever drought hits Southern Ethiopia, it also hits Northern Kenya. But hunger in Ethiopia side of the border is a frequent phenomenon; Kenya rarely witnesses it. Hence, lack of democracy is the only argument of the four which has not been tested and still stands as plausible in Ethiopia. As long as the country is governed by authoritarian regimes, drought projection are unlikely to be acted up on, leaving farmers natural calamity whenever climate changes.

This current famine did not only bust the myth of Ethiopia’s economic miracle. It has also debunked the argument that the country could imitate the East Asian model of rapid economic growth while suppressing freedom. They can cook numbers, they could fool western diplomats and media outlets but, hunger has come back once again to unravel deception of the regime and illusion of its supporters. Poverty, and its worst form hunger, will remain the hallmark of Ethiopia until the people attain freedom and establish a government that depends on their consent rather its own gun and external aid.

Ityophiyaan maaliif ammas beelofte ?

Barruu xiixalaan siyaasaa beekamaan Obbo Jawar Mohammadiin Afaan Ingiliziin maxxansee ture  Obbo Boruu Barraaqaa akka armaan gadiitti afaan Oromootti hiikee dhiheessee jiraa. Konoo armaa gaditti argama. Obbo Boruun galatoomi jenna.

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Baatiilee lamaan tokko dura, hogganoonni Dhihaa fi miidiyaaleen isaanii guddina dinagdee ‘ajaahibsiisaa’ Itoophiyaatiin maalalamuu turani. Bill Gate irraa hanga Obaamaattii kanneen jiran hundi Itoophiyaan seenaa beelaa gaddisiisaa durii san of duubatti dhiiftee amma guddina shaffisaa Afriikaa keessattiifi tarii addunyaattuu tokkofaa ta’uu danda’u agarsiisaa jirti jechuun amananii warra hafes amansiisuuf carraaqaa turan. Torbaanota as dhihoo dabran keessa ammoo dubbiin tun cookkoo deebiteetti. Gabaasaaleen amma bahaa jiran, maqaa Itoophiyaa duraan beekamu san deebisuudhaan, biyya beeloftuu gargaarsa midhaanii ariifachiisaa kadhattu tahuu isii himaa jirani. Baatii takka dura, lakkoofsi ummata gargaarsa midhaanii barbaaduu miliyoona 4.5 tahuun yeroo himamu amanuun isaan rakkisee ture.. Amma ammoo gara miliyoona 8.2tti ol guddachuu isaa fi dhuma waggaa kanaa irratti miliyoona 15 dhaqqabuuf akka jiru gabaafamaara. Baatiilee lama dura wayta OMN yeroo duraaf waa’ee daa’imman Harargee Dhihaa keessatti balaa beelaatiin du’ani gabaase, mootummaan gabaasaa kana sobsiisuu fi oduun tunis akka gadi hin baane ukkaamfsuuf yaalaa ture. Amma garuu balaa haaluun hin danda’amne kana amanee fudhachuuf dirqameera. Akkuma baratametti ummata beela’e kana himachuun gargaarsa nyaataa addunyaa yoo gaafatu dhagahaa jirra.

Duulli ololaa kan guddina diinaggee diijitii dachaa garsiisaa jirra jedhun saaxil bahuun har’as Itoophiyaan balaa beelaatiin qabamuu isii kan dhoksuu danda’u hin taane. Gaafiin namuu if gaafatuu male, mee Itoophiyaan maalif ammas beelofte ? Sababa balaa beelaa Itoophiyaa deddeebi’ee mudatuuf ilaalcha adda addaa afurtu kennama. Kan duraa, mootummaan, kan amma aangoo irra jiru qofa osoo hin taane warri dabres, hanqina nyaataa dhalatuuf jijjiirama haala qilleensaa sababfatu. Jechuunus yoo roobni yeroo isaatti roobuu dhabe, hoongee uumuun, midhaan facaafame badee hanqinni nyaataa mudataa jedhan . Haa tahu malee, akkamitti dinagdeen diijitii dachaadhaan guddachuun himamu, kan omishni qonnaa 9% waggaa waggaatti guddachaa ganna kudhanoota lakkoofsise jedhamu tokko balaa kanaaf saaxilama ? Diinaggeen damee qonnaa kun ‘qonnaan bultoota miliyoonaroota’ hore jedhamee baara baraan badhaasni dhihaatuuf kun akkamitti nyaata gahaa omishuu hanqatee naannoolee muraasa balaa hongeetiin dhawaman sooruu dadhabe ? Kanaafu hanqini roobaa beelaaf sababa gahaa jedhanii fudhatuun hin dandayamu.

Sababni akka lammaffattii balaa beelaa kanaaf kaafamu tokko ammoo akkana jedha. Wanni beelli biyya san hubuuf biyyattiin midhaan gahaa oomishuu dadhabdee osoo hin taane, rakkoo midhaan kuufamee jiru biyya keessa raabsuu dadhabuuti jedha. Yeroo kutaan biyyattii tokko midhaan nyaataa dabraa omishee bakk itti gurguruufi kuusu dhabee rakkatu, kutaan biyyattii biroon akka beela’u kan godhe ‘kufaatii mala gabaa ti’ kan kan jedhu. Jechuunis qonnaan bulaan Jimmaa boqqolloo hanga nyaataaf isa barbaachisu caalaa omishee, gabaan guuttee, gatiin rakasee yeroo horii nyaachisu, kan Walloo sababa caamaatin midhaan jalaa badee beelaya. Kanaaf ammoo furmaanni gabayaafi geejjiba midhaan Jimmaatti haalaan tole kana wallo kn hanqinni mudate san geessu baasuu barbaachisa. Yaanni kun nama Dr. Eleni Gebremedihin jedhamtuun akka malee afarfamaa ture. Kanaafuu Dr. Eleniin yaada isii kana gara Baankii Addunyaa fi Mallas Zeenaawiitti dhiheessuudhaan bara 2008 keessa Ethiopian Commodity Exchange (ECX) jaaran. Pirojektiin maallaqa guddaa nyaatee fi hojii qunnamtii hawaasaa bal’aadhaan hundeeffame kun Itoophiyaa keessatti beela seenaa taasisuu fi sirna gabaa haaraa milkeessuuf waadaa seene. Yeroma Dr. Elenii yaada kana dhaadhessaa tortetti gariin keenya karoorri isii kun rakkoo beelaa biyya sanii hiddaan furuuf akka hin dandeenye shakkii qabnu ibsaa turre. Xalayaanin kallattiidhaan isiif barreesse tokkorratti anuu rakkoo pirojektiin sun mudachuu malu akeekkachiiseen ture. Barruu kiyya saniin, hanga gabaan siyaasaa biyyattii ol’aantummaa garee tokkootiin dhunfatame jirutti sirna bittaa-bittaa gurgurtaa namuu bilisaan itti wal dorgomu dhaabuun waan hin yaadamne ta’uun agarsiisuuf yaalee ture.

Har’a waggaa 7 booda yaanni kara ECX sirna gabayaa callaa qonnaa bifa haarayatti qindeessuun sossohinaafi waljijjirraa meeshaafi maallaqaa uumuuf waadaa galame warraaqsi sirna gabaa qonnaa hawwiin eegamaa ture, haga ammaatti firiin inni buuse hin mul’atu. Dr Eleeninuun , abdii kutatteet dhiifteefi aangorraa ari’amteefu erga ECX’n addaan baate waggaa sadi ta’e. Abdiin isiiin qabdu cilee bushaan seente taatee, waandaan isiitis jiddutti nyaadhamtee, kun egaa ammas beelti mallattoo Itoophiyaa tahuutti deebitee jirti. Akkuma gaafa duraa akeekkachiifne tattaaffiileen dhugaadhaan milkii gabaa fiduuf godhaman mootummaa abbaa irreetiin gufachiifamniiru. Pirojektii Dr. Ellenii kana yoo fudhannee laalle, mootummichi meeshaa ittiin daranuu gabaa biyyattii harkatti galfatuun godhatee itti fayyadame. ECX akka kubbaaniyaaleen EFFORT jalatti hammataman dorgoomtota biroo dhiibanii baasuudhaanfi warra harayaatittis balbla cufuun gabaa buna alatti erguudhaa dhuunfatan dandeessise. ECX kan sirna gabaa milkii fiduuf yaadame jedhamee dhaabbate, dhuma irratti gara meeshaa ittiin sirna gabaa biyyattii daranuu harka murna tokkootti galchaniin fi malaammalutummaan keessatti hanqaaqu tahee argame.

Sababni inni sadaffaan beelaaf biyya saaxila jdhamee dhiheetu haala qabeentaa lafaa (land tenure) biyyattiin hordoftu komata. Akka yaada kanaatti hanqinni midhaan nyaataa Itoophiyaa keessatti kan mudateef qonnaan bultoonni lafa qonnaa xixiqqoo irratti mala moofaa fi duubatti hafaadhaan omishu kan jedhuu dha. Dhimmi kun wayta filmaata bara 2005 san warra Qindoominaa (CUD) biratti mata duree guddaa godhamee laalamaa ture. Warri CUD sun akka furmaataatti kan dhiheessan lafa qonnaa biyyattii abbootii qabeenyaa gurguddoodhaaf laatanii, teknooloojii ammayyaatiin gargaaramanii qotuudhaan callaa midhaanii dacha dachaan ol guddisuutu fala jedha. Garuu ammoo furmaanni jedhame kun hojii irra oolfamee laalamee akka hojjechuu hin dandeenye hubatameera. Lafti biyyattii labsii seeraatiin gara qabeenyaa dhuunfaatti jijjiiramuu baatu illee, investeroonni biyya keessaa fi alaa lafa babal’aa gaafatanii gatii rakasaatiin fudhataniiru. Hanga ammaatti garuu fooyya’iinsi omisha qonnaa hawwame akka hin argaminii fi beelli ammas dhibee maraammartoo irraa hin fayyamin tahuu isaa taajjabaa jirra. Lafti qonnaa hektaarri miliyoona 3 ol tahu dureeyyiidhaaf eega laatamee booda har’as lammiileen biyyattii miliyoonotaan shallagaman beela’aa waxalamaa jiru. Haala sirni siyaasaa wal dorgoomu hin jirre keessatti lafa qonnaa dhunfaan qabachuu jechuun ummata miliyoonota irraa lafa fudhatanii harka namoota hagoo kan hidhata warra biyya bulchuu qabanitti galchuu jechuu dha. ‘Investeroonni’ hagoon kun bu’aa mataa isaanii guddifachuuf jecha midhaan gabaa alaa gurgurmu irratti xiyyeeffatu. Omisha biyya keessa raabsamu gad xiqqeessanii gatii gabaa qaalessuudhaan bu’aa guddaa hammaarrachuu barbaadu.

Kun gara sababa isa afraffaatti kan, maddi beelaa biyya tokkoo guddaan bilisummaa dhabuu ummataati kan jedhutti nu geessa. Tiyooriin kun hayyuu biyya Hindii, Amartya Sen jedhamuun bal’inaan addunyaatti akka beekamu godhame. Namni kun Itoophiyaa akka fakkeenya guddaatti fudhatee qorannoo Badhaasa Nobeelaaf isaaf argamsiise hojjete. Qorannoon Amartya Sen akka agarsiisetti seenaa keessatti balaan beelaa biyyoota abbaa irree keessatti malee warra dimokraasiidhaan bulan tokkollee keessatti uumamee akka hin beeyne mirkaneessa. Warra demokraasiin bulu biratti roobni dhabamee hongeen yoo dhalateyyuu gara balaa beelaa fiduutti hin guddatu. Sababni isaas, miidiyaan, hawaasni siiviikii fi qondaalonni ummataan filaman dhoksaa tokko malee dhiibbaa mootummaa isaanii mudachuu maluuf dursanii furmaata barbaaduudhaan balaa kana qacaleetti irra aanu. Fakkeenyaaf Itoophiyaa fi Keeniyaa wal biratti haa laallu. Ummata wal fakkaataa jireenya tikfattummaan bulantu lafa haala qilleensi isaa wal fakkaatu irra wal daangessanii qubatu. Yeroo hongeen gama Kibba Itoophiyaa dhawu hundumaa Kaabni Keeniyaas balaa kanaan dhawama. Haa tahu malee balaan beelaa daangaa Itoophiyaa gama kibbaatti beekamaa yoo tahu daangaa Keeniyaatiin garuu dabree dabree malee hin mul’atu. Kana kana irraa ka’uun wanni hubatamu, hanqinni demokraasii sababoota afran olitti ibsaman keessaa sababa isa hanga ammaatti qormaataaf dhihaatee hin kufin tahuu isaa ti. Beela Itoophiyaatti deddeebi’uuf sababni inni guddaan isa kana ta’uu isaati. Hanga biyyattiin sirnoota abbaa irreetiin bultutti, hanqina nyaataa dhabamiinsa roobaa (hongee) tiin dhufuofirraa ittisuuf dursanii waan itti hin qopphoofneef balaan beelaa ummata gaaga’uu ittuma fufa .

Dhumarratti balaan beelaa amma mudate kun olola guddina dinagdee Itoophiyaa ajaa’ibaa jedhamu fudhatama dhabsiisee qofa hin dhiifne. Biyyattiin bilisummaa ummataa ukkaamsaa guddina shaffisaa warra Eeshiyaa Bahaa akkeessitee tarkaanfachuu dandeessi ilaalcha jedhus kijibsiiseera. Lakkoofsota dharaa tottolfatanii himachuu danda’u. Dippilomaatota Dhihaa fi miidiyaalee addunyaas gowwoomfachuu malu. Haa tahu malee, beelli ammas as marmaaree gowwoomsaa sirnichaa fi gowwoomfamuu deeggartoota isaanii ifatti saaxilaa jira. Hanga ummatoonni biyyattii bilisummaa isaanii argatanii sirna isaaniif dhaabbate hin hundeeffatinitti, hanga sirni qawwee fi gargaarsa alaatti irratti irkate aangoo irra jirutti, hiyyummaa fi hammeenya irra hamaa isaa kan tahe beelli mallattoo Itoophiyaa tahee ittu fufa.

Related:-
10 Poorest Countries in The World (All in ‪#‎Africa‬, ‪#‎Ethiopia‬ is the 2nd poorest after Niger).

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Finfinnee Radio: Historian Edao Boru talks about History of Hunger in Ethiopia October 22, 2015

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???????????Famine in Ethiopia 2015https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m2H1Np650A8

OPride: HAS ETHIOPIA REALLY ACHIEVED THE MDGS? October 8, 2015

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ethi_famine_30_years1414175983Drought, food crisis and famine in Afar state captured through social media, August 2015

 

HAS ETHIOPIA REALLY ACHIEVED THE MDGS?

By J. Bonsa,  Opride Contributors, 8 October 2015

 

http://opride.com/oromsis/articles/opride-contributors/3802-has-ethiopia-really-achieved-the-mdgs

 

 

On Sept.13, the BBC World Service aired the first segment of a two-part documentary entitled: Africa Surprising. As part of the series, journalist Hugh Sykes reported thatEthiopia has achieved a number of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ahead of schedule.

Ethiopia has long been praised for being “on track to meet most of the MDGs by 2015 if progress continues or the pace increased.” Earlier this year, the Horn of Africa nation declared achieving a few of the targets even before the end of 2015. Sykes’ aim was to capture this “exceptional success story.”

Unfortunately, the report illustrates the Western media’s sloppy and superficial coverage of African success stories. At least in Ethiopia, the much-celebrated storyline does not actually exist on the ground.

The BBC documentary

The most central and relevant part of the broadcast is Sykes’ visit to a health center in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. It is unclear how the BBC chose to profile this particular site, but Ethiopians know that such matters are typically handled by the regime. Authorities pick a site, tidy up everything and then let unsuspecting visitors or journalists such as Sykes in at their own convenience. As Sykes walked around the clinic, he noticed that the doctors and nurses greeted him with “broad smiles.” Their exuberance looked too unreal that Sykes had to ask why they were smiling so much. “They were so happy for over achieving the MDGs ahead of time,” a health staffer murmured. Of course, they had to smile, how else could they keep their jobs and a straight face while talking about a barely existent achievement?

It is startling that an astute journalist like Sykes was not aware that the whole thing was a setup. Ethiopia’s success stories are often created by manufacturing data or instructing project managers on how to provide information to foreign journalists. (In the case of journalists at the state-run media, reporters are given instructions on how to tell such stories.) In the BBC documentary, the clinic’s staffers appear a bit overzealous to the point of making Sykes uncomfortable. He asks what exactly they did to reach their targets ahead of schedule. Among other things, they recounted their work educating families on the benefits of breastfeeding and family planning. Incidentally, one of Ethiopia’s MDG success stories is the reduction of birth rates through a “highly successful and exemplary family planning” scheme. Little do reporters like Sykes or novice Western researchers know that the decrease in birth rate has nothing to do with the government’s family planning but the excessive outmigration of large cohorts of young women to the Middle East and South Africa, among other places.

In 2012 alone, an estimated 500,000 migrants, mostly young women, migrated to the Middle East. At that rate, several millions of female in fertile age group have left the country in search of better opportunities over the past few years. (The 2012 estimate doesn’t include migration to destinations other than the Middle East.)

Importantly, the excessive outmigration of Ethiopia’s youth is a reflection of dire poverty, and failure to achieve the MDGs. This outflow has intensified since the MDGs were put in place. Despite this, Sykes seems to nod, admire and move on. “Over the last ten years we achieved more than what was achieved during the previous century,” Ethiopia’s Minister of Health, told Skyes, an audacious and superfluous claim that the journalist let stand.

The series wrapped up by paying lip service to the truth: Sykes showed high rise buildings within a few meters of slums with shabby dwellings, rusty tin roofs and muddy walls; executives with stylish modern suits walking on the same streets with bony beggars; SUVs shuffling along with donkeys and goats on the streets, etc. He then offered a faint reference to ruling party’s embarrassing declaration of 100 percent electoral victory in May, alluding to a familiar storyline — Ethiopia’s economic rise despite a few governance hiccups here and there.

The paradox of double-digit growth

Ethiopia’s so-called double-digit economic growth brings to mind German politician Joseph Goebbels’propaganda principles: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

The regime in Addis Ababa has ridden Ethiopia of educated manpower so much that the capacity to put numbers together and generate sensible economic statistics and estimate reasonable economic growth rates has been grossly diminished over the years. This is not a place to delve into the niceties of GDP estimation and growth rate calculations. By government’s own admission, almost all of the last five-year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP I) targets have not been achieved, with all large infrastructural projects stuck at their early phases. However, the GDP growth rates remained more or less at the level forecast at the plan’s preparation stage. If all economic activities have not reached their goals as planned (in fact most lagged behind anticipated targets), how did Ethiopia somehow manage toachieve only the MDG targets, before schedule at that?

From SAPs to MDGs

The distribution of income and wealth are aspects of economic progress that are most relevant to the MDGs. The widening gulf between the haves and have-nots in Ethiopia does not require a journalist or any analyst to leave Addis Ababa.  The alarming increase in the number of beggars in the streets and the exodus of unemployed youth across deserts and high seas are sufficient to inform any observer interested in arriving at a balanced assessment. But such a story may not generate enough clicks in donor countries. It may also undercut the Western narrative of saviordom that’s driven by the aid-industrial complex.

Why are donor countries and their institutions so keen to tell the “Ethiopia rising” story to the extent of getting ordinary Ethiopians irritated and uncomfortable?  It is appropriate to provide a broader background on the origins of the MDGs.

Back in the 1980s, African governments were told to adjust their economies to market rules through structural adjustment programs (SAPs). There was little to no concern with “poverty” in the West. Laissez-faire economics or economic policy based on market rules was the order of the day.

By mid-1990s, the failure of SAPs became apparent, primarily because they gave rise to widening gaps in income distribution and propagation of poverty, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, who promoted SAPs, were at one point even referred to as Lords of Poverty. However, rich western nations were behind these multilateral agencies, arm-twisting leaders of developing countries to adjust their economies to the needs to the “global economy,” a proxy for the economies of the industrialized countries.

Western powers and their multilateral agencies reluctantly acknowledged the failure of laissez-faire economic policies and replaced them with the MDGs amid pressure from their progressive constituents, presumably to redress the damage caused to the developing countries’ economies. MDGs were grouped into sets of eight targets and handed over to developing countries with a condition that development aid would be strictly linked to achievements of the MDGs.

Statistical lies

When the MDGs came into existence, Ethiopia’s current rulers had already been in power for more than ten years. The regime immediately became a darling of the West because of massive poverty, which led to the outpouring of a substantial amount of development aid over the last two decades. The coupling of development aid with the achievement of MDGs target has created a precondition and breeding ground for misreporting on achievements of those targets.In dictatorial regimes like Ethiopia, numbers related to achievements can easily get churned out and systematically built over the years.

It is often hoped that donor countries, and the United Nations, which is responsible for monitoring the progress on MDGs, would scrutinize data accuracy and ensure that the targets have genuinely been achieved. That is the ideal scenario, but we live in the real world, not in the ideal world. In the real world, the required level of scrutiny does not often come into existence simply because it is costly to setup and operationalize them. To begin with, donors often assign inexperienced and naïve staff with skills unfit for the purpose of managing large and complex programs and projects. Additionally, donor agencies and NGOs have a responsibility to report back to their governments or fund providers on implementations of programs they are entrusted with. Therefore, it is not in the interest of such agencies to report program or project failures.

The Ethiopian regime has often presented itself as a key partner with the Western powers. Geopolitical interest and the excessive weight assigned to security concerns mean authorities in Addis Ababa could do anything and get away with it.  This has adversely affected scrutiny on MDGs progress. No analyst or reporter would dare to question records supplied by officials in Addis Ababa. A journalist or researcher, who tries to shed some doubt on the credibility of official statistics, would be harshly treated, including expulsion with short notice or even physical attacks.

It is also abundantly clear that there is a tacit understanding between the Ethiopian government and the donor agencies not to scrutinize Ethiopia’s record on MDGs to a required extent. Donors need a foreign aid success story. Besides, for fear of political backlash from the general public, Western leaders would not object to the success story lines. It is in this scheme of things that the Western media appear to be given the role of generating the “Ethiopia rising” or “Africa Rising” storylines to enhance the “feel good factor” in donor countries. The increasingly muzzled Ethiopian public can do little more than helplessly watching this drama being played out in the name of poverty reduction.

Hoongee fi Gogiinsa Oromiyaa Keessaa Lammiilee Hubaa Jiru September 29, 2015

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Hoongee fi Gogiinsa Oromiyaa Keessaa Lammiilee Hubaa Jiru…

Gabaasa Sagalee Bilisummaa Oromoo

SBOImpaayera Itoophiyaa keessatti imaammata dabaa murni wayyaanee hordofaa jiru irraa kan kahe hoongee fi gogiinsi uumame lubbuu lammiilee fi  beeyladaa balaa ulfaataaf saaxilaa jira. Keessumaa ammoo dacheen Oromiyaa jiidhinaa fi badhaadhinaan beekkamtu imaammatuma gartuu abbaa irree kanaatiin ontee fi gogdee lammiileen kumootaan nyaata dhabuun leeccalloo isaaniis hurgufatanii hiraara argaa jiru. Mootummaan wayyaanee wayta rakkoon kun uumamu ummata nan bulcha jedhuuf birmatee nyaataan dhaqqabuu fi hegereefis akka rakkinichi hin uumamneef hojjechuu mannaa, inumayyuu hammeessaa jiraachuu gabaasaaleen godinaalee Oromiyaa adda addaarraa nu dhaqqaban ni ibsu.

Akka odeessa godinaalee Oromiyaa adda addaa irraa nu gahe kanaatti saamichaa fi manca’iinsa qabeenya bosonaa wayyaaneen geessiserraa kan kahe dacheen qullaatti haftee rooba dhabuudhaan hoongeen uumame midhaan facaafamee fi beeyladoota miidhaaf saaxileera. Ummannis kanarraa beelaan hubamaa fi qayee dhiisee godaanaa akka jirutu ibsame.

haala-qilleensaa-fi-beela-oromiyaa-keessaa-2015-ed

 

Haala Qilleensaa fi Beela Oromiyaa keessaa…2015 =ED

Tyranny and Famine: Why Famine is a Permanent Phenomenon in Ethiopia? September 21, 2015

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Why Famine is a Permanent Phenomenon in Ethiopia?

By Tokkicha Abbaa Milkii, http://www.ayyaantuu.net/
Time Magazine Ethiopia Famine 2008

“We are still surprised by the prevalence of draught-induced food shortages in Africa, 3,500 years after the Pharaohs worked out how to store grain.” (The dictator’s Handbook, by Bruce Buend De Mesquita and Alastair Smith, p x-xi)

A recorded history shows that there was famine during the reign of Minilik. This famine was attributed to a plague called “ye Hidar Beshita” as their chroniclers put it. The story goes like this, “this plague killed people and their domestic animals like cows and oxen that caused a wide spread catastrophe and famine throughout the newly incorporated regions of the empire. The true story which the chroniclers did not want to mention was the plague broke out due to genocide committed in Oromia and the southern regions by Minilik army.

Somehow the plague killed millions of people and farm animals. Since the farm animals were extinct there were no means left to plow the land to grow crops. The chroniclers of the king’s history told us that the king ordered the skilled people to produce pickaxes to be distributed to the people to dig the land by hand in which the king himself participated in digging to prepare the land for growing crops. That was a “big technological innovation” discovered by Minilk to mitigate famine according to them.

This was narrated by his admirers to present Minilik as the innovative king who had concern for his people. For a shallow minded people it looks true. But Minilik who was an expert in amassing war technology like gun and ammunition from European countries to kill several millions of Oromos and the Southern Peoples had no sympathy to ask for medicine, food and farm technology aid from his war patrons.

If anybody think that this bloodthirsty monster had no knowledge how to get that aid is a fool. He had enough access and knowledge but did not want to save the subjects lives and introduce any sort of civilization into the newly incorporated regions.

To simply understand Minilik’s diplomatic ability and access to European countries it is enough to look at the next example. He amassed the next bulk of guns and ammunitions between 1968 and 1990 from four European countries with which he massacred millions of unarmed Oromos and the Southern Peoples.

Country                           guns                ammunitions
1-England                            15,000              5,000,000
2-France                            500,000           20,000,000
3-Italy                                  50,000            10,000,000
4-Rusia                              150,000             15,000,000 (Source Amharic book Written by Tabor Wamii titled “ye wugena Drsetochina yetarik Ewunetoch” p 499, translated from Amharic)

During Minilik’s reign a productive forces- all men capable of producing- from the north ( Habasha country) were forced to wage colonization war on the South (oromi’a, Sidama, wolayita,Somali, etc,) productive forces who resisted colonization. This process of war took more than two decades and during which all sort of production and progress was impeded. Therefore it is not a matter of wonder if famine and plague hit the people, because it was a man made famine and plague.

Take the case of Tewodros, he didn’t force the European missionary to produce improved farming tools. Instead he forced them to produce not even simple guns, but cannons. This shows that his appetite for mass destruction was overwhelming and clarified that Habasha rulers were and still are obsessed not with development and growth but with killing neighboring people to colonize and loot their wealth. This famine is inherent in this part of the world because the regimes were busy at war and looting the resource of the people rather than development and progress.

Out of thousands of Tewodros’s barbaric acts, to mention one of his anti-production deeds “Tewodros went to Karoda village. Karoda is known with its grain production and specially, in grape production. It was said that in Gonder one barrel of wine was sold with one bar of salt. Europeans said Karod wine was superior to European wine. He (Tewodros) ordered that grapes to be uprooted. Everybody who heard the King’s order uprooted his grapes. After that there was no wine in Ethiopia. Haleka Weldemariam wrote that, “Tewodros upon his arrival at Karoda ordered the people to be gathered at one place, 1700 people including children were gathered together. He packed all people in the houses at a maximum capacity and burnt them alive.” (Yewugena dirsetochina ye tarik Ewunetoch, by Tabor Wami, p416-417). Tewodros’s advocates try to convince us that he had a big vision for Ethiopia. I don’t understand how, the king who instead of rewarding those productive people at Karoda, burn them alive can be presented as visionary.

Tewodros never owned and resides in a palace and never settled in one place. He was called a king who lived in tent. He came to power through war, he waged war on different rival chiefs, brutally punished the people in the localities he found resistance. He committed genocide and brutal acts like mutilation of hands and legs, burning alive in mass, slain etc. wherever he set foot on. What makes Tewodros special is, even though he did the same crime on neighboring Wallo Oromos, his victims include Abisinyans. This does not mean that he had no hatred for other nations like Oromos, he had extreme rancor for Oromos and had a long intention to invade and evict them from their land. This evil intention was expressed in his letter written to Queen Victoria of England to ask for armaments to wipe out these Oromos whom he mentioned “pagans who occupied his father’s land”.

When we come to the modern era we find the Haile Selassie aristocratic and keliptocratic monarchy rule which the remnants of Naftenyas consider as nirvana. In actual fact it was as hell as the present time for  the people who were expropriated their land and reduced to gabar, chisagna, slave, etc. This regime divided all the colonized peoples’ land among his invading army leaders who were changed to feudal land lords. This system of land ownership discouraged the farmers to produce in full capacity and famine was the day to day life style of the people. We can mention what famine meant to these rulers.

“Heart-wrenching images of starving children are a surefire way to stimulate aid donations. Since the technology to store grain has been known since the time of the pharaohs, we cannot help but wonder why the children of North Africa remain vulnerable to famine. A possible explanation lies in the observations of Ryszard Kapuscinski. Writing about the court of the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, Kapuscinski describes its response to efforts by aid agencies to assist millions of Ethiopians affected by drought and famine in 1972.

Suddenly report came in that those overseas benefactors who had taken upon themselves the trouble of feeding our ever-insatiable people had rebelled and were suspending shipments because our Finance Minister, Mr.Yelma Deresa, wanting to enrich the Imperial treasury, had ordered the benefactors to pay high customs fees on the aid. “You want to help?” the Minister asked. “Please do, but you must pay.” And they said “What do you mean, pay? We give help! And we are supposed to pay?” “Yes, says the minister, “those are the regulations. Do you want to help in such a way that our Empire gains nothing by it?”

The antics of Ethiopian government should perhaps come as little surprise. Autocrats need money to pay their coalition. Haile Selassie, although temporarily displaced by Italy’s invasion in the 1930s, held the throne from 1930 until overcome by decrepitude in 1974. As a long term successful autocrat, Selassie knew not to put the needs of the people above the wants of his essential supporters. To continue with Kapuscinski’s description:

‘First of all, death from hunger had existed in our Empire for hundreds of years, an everyday, natural thing, and it never occurred to anyone to make any noise about it. Drought would come and the earth would dry up, the cattle would drop dead, the peasants would starve. Ordinary, in accordance with the laws of nature and the eternal order of things. Since this was eternal and normal, none of the dignitaries would dare to bother His Most Exalted Highness with the news that in such and such a province a given person had died of hunger……..So how were we to know that there was unusual hunger up north?’

Silassie fed his supporters first and himself second; the starving masses had to wait their turn, which might never come. His callous disregard for the suffering of the people is chilling, at least until you compare it to his successor. Mengistu Hail Mariam led the Derg military regime that followed Silassie’s reign. He carried out policies that exacerbated drought in the Northern Provinces of Tigry and Wollo in the mid1980s. With civil war raging in these provinces and a two year drought, he engaged in forced collectivization. Millions were forced into collective farms and hundreds of thousands forced out of the province entirely. Mass starvation resulted. Estimates of the death toll are between 300,000 and 1 million people. From the Derg’s perspective the famine seriously weakened the rebels, a good thing as Mengistu saw it. Many of us remember Live Aid, a series of records and concerts organized by Bob Geldof to raise disaster relief. Unfortunately, as well intentioned as these efforts were, much of the aid fell under the influence of the government. For instance, trucks meant for delivering aid were requisitioned to forcibly move people into collective farms all around the country. Perhaps 100,000 people died in these relocation.” (The Dictators Hand Book, by Bruce Bueno De Mesquita and Alastair Smith, P162-163)

What I mentioned above is to refresh your memory a little bit. Even though corruption and kleptocracy were not started by Habasha rulers they were the first to introduce it to Africa. H/ Silassie started hording billions of Dollars in Swiss banks long before any African country got its independence. Therefore he is considered to be the first kleptocrat, the father and teacher of corruption in Africa.

We are still in the same vicious circle of corruption and kleptocratic rule. Instead of avoiding the barbaric acts of their fathers and forefathers todays Fascist rulers modernized and continued the same barbaric acts. Instead of burning alive, mutilation of hands and legs in public like Tewdros and Minilik, and instead of killing and throwing the dead body of their victims on the streets of cities like the military junta, today’s rulers do it behind doors, in known and un known detention camps, and prison centers like H/ Silassie deed. A hidden war is waged on the people in all colonized regions too.

Therefore it is not a matter of wander if peoples of this part of the world are starved in millions year after year. All Monarchs, Communist Military Junta leaders and The Fascist TPLF Dictators are on the same set of war against the colonized people, corruption and looting. In all of the mentioned criminal regimes government revenue was and is spent on bribing supporters and left open for corruption and on buying the loyalty of a few key cronies at the expense of general welfare. Yet these corrupt dictators make sure that the people cannot coordinate, rebel, and take control of the state and endeavor to keep those outside of their coalition poor, ignorant, and unorganized.

That is what TPLF fascists are doing today. Instead of mitigating poverty and hunger they loot all tax payers money, borrowed and aid money to reward their supportrs and buy weapons with the extra money to wage war on the colonized peoples like Oromo, sidama ,Ogadeenia, afar etc. who ask for their freedom. What is heart breaking most is on the very day they preached  the self- sufficiency of the country in food supply and the idea was praised by US President, the International Agencies and medias started disclosing at least 4.5 million people are starved in a “Praised Ethiopia for its double digit economic growth”.

These Fascists behave like shy to tell the truth to the people of the country they rule about the famine looming on the people. On another hand they are courageous enough to exaggerate the damage to the donor countries to attract more relief funds. Once the aid fund is secured, it is simple for them to divert it into their private accounts, rather than being steered towards famine mitigation. Letting people die is  good governance for them. This is the behavior of corrupt rulers.

I want to quote “We started this chapter with an account of Hail Silassie’s shakedown of donors. By now it should be clear that this practice is all too common, and reflects the logic of privately given aid. When private donors provide aid, governments must either strike deals with them so that the government gets its cut-that, after all, is the value of aid to a small coalition regime-or, in the absence of such deals, they must shakedown well-intentioned private donors. Either way, the government must get its piece of the action or it will make it impossible for donors to deliver assistance.”(The Dictator’s Handbook, p.186)   This prevalence of master thieves among world leaders is shocking.

As the writer of this book clearly stated this practice is all too common to day and the corrupt TPLF leaders are an expert in channeling aid money to their foreign bank accounts. Their so called Civil Society’s Law was declared only to shakedown donors like their grandfather did half a century ago. So this process is a vicious circle which does not go away by itself. Nothing can stop this peril except liberating ourselves from the grip of these keliptocratic fascist dictators with our own struggle and sacrifice and build democratic and accountable governance.

Thank you