Save the Children set up its first formal office in Ethiopia in 1965 and expanded rapidly during the 1973 and 1984 droughts and food crisis. In a country once defined by hunger, much progress has been made but there are still enormous challenges ahead. The current humanitarian situation in Ethiopia is deteriorating at an alarming rate due to El Nino-induced weather patterns (drought in the North and flooding in the South) that are negatively affecting harvests and food supplies. With over 80% of the population dependent on rain-fed agriculture for food and income, the failure of the seasonal rains last year will have devastating implications for the food security of millions of people.
Save the Children's Response:
Since the failure of the belg rains early last year, Save the Children has worked alongside the Ethiopian Government to launch a full-spectrum response. We are working in over 70% of the worst-affected woredas (districts) in Ethiopia, providing food, water, medicine and crucial support to families who have lost their incomes. We are:
- Working with the government to treat moderately and acutely malnourished children and families.
- Detecting and treating disease outbreaks that result from malnutrition, such as measles, meningitis, dengue fever and scabies.
- Providing immediate life-saving interventions like water trucking to areas in critical shortage and fixing hand-dug wells.
- Ensuring school children and teachers have access to water for drinking and essential hygiene.
- Helping families protect assets, providing feed for livestock, while building resilience against the current and future droughts.
The Situation Now
Save the Children, alongside the World Food Program and other NGOS, is forewarning that without urgent international aid, the food pipeline will likely break in the beginning of May. This could have catastrophic consequences, especially if key rains and harvests fail over the coming months, as the number of people reliant on food aid and the number of children suffering from malnutrition would likely spike.
- Estimated number of people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2016: 10.2 million
- Estimated number of children at risk of going hungry: 5.75 million
- Children currently suffering from Moderate Acute Malnutrition: 1.7 million
- Children who will suffer from Severe Acute Malnutrition in 2016: 400,000
Youth in Action
Save the Children is also present in Ethiopia through its Youth In Action program. This project, which is a partnership with the Mastercard Foundation, is focused on the creation of sustainable agriculturally-based livelihoods. Youth In Action has a goal of impacting almost 40,000 out-of-school rural young people. To learn more about Youth In Action, please click here.
How You Can Help Read About our CEO's Recent Trip to Ethiopia