Last year the rains failed to arrive in the Shashemene District of Oromiya Regional State, causing a severe drought and food crisis.
The lack of water meant crops failed and farmers were unable to provide livestock with adequate pasture and water. Without crops to harvest, families had no food to eat, nor any to sell in order to buy food. In some regions of Ethiopia, the cost of staple food products rose by as much as 300%.
ChildFund Australia’s partner organisation in Ethiopia implemented an emergency feeding and famine recovery program. To date, over 27,000 kgs of food rations have been delivered to 2,000 children under the age of five. As a result, the number of children suffering from moderate or severe malnutrition has reduced from 58% to 11% in the target area.
ChildFund Australia supporters alone raised almost $400,000. This has enabled ChildFund Ethiopia to distribute 80,000 kgs of maize grain to adults in the community, while the nutritional status of nursing mothers has been monitored and improved so that they are now able to breastfeed their children.
Abadi, ChildFund Ethiopia program manager, says: “It is common now to see children smiling and playing everywhere, as opposed to the very depressing situation at the onset of the emergency.”
To assist in the recovery process, ChildFund Ethiopia has also provided materials to construct 15 rain water harvesting cisterns, drought resistant cops, as well as ongoing education on food security. Livestock have been replenished, with ChildFund providing families with 500 sheep, 30 oxen and 15 donkeys and carts. These measures will allow the community to resume their agricultural activities in order to support their families.