Ethiopia Water
In Ethiopia, women and girls may have to walk hours or days to find clean drinking water for their households. USAID rehabilitates water points, supplying life-saving access to clean drinking water to drought-affected households.
Kelley Lynch

Latest Horn of Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is responding to the complex emergency in the Horn of Africa region, including in EthiopiaKenya, and Somalia.

Relief organizations and international media reported that clashes in areas along the border between Ethiopia’s Oromiya and Somali regions have displaced thousands of people in recent weeks. Information on population displacement and conflict-related casualties remains limited due to the fluid security situation and restricted humanitarian access. Relief agencies are coordinating with Government of Ethiopia (GoE) authorities to identify areas of displacement and assess needs. As of late September, the GoE and relief actors had identified internally displaced persons in Oromiya’s Bale, Borena, East Hararge, Guji, West Guji, and West Hararge zones, as well as Somali’s Dawa, Erar, Fafan, and Sitti zones. The GoE is leading response activities and has identified emergency shelter and relief commodities as critical needs. While the inability to conduct rapid assessments and verification exercises continues to hamper response activities, relief agencies are supporting the provision of health care services through hospitals and mobile health teams.

Flooding affected more than 53,000 people in Gambella and Oromiya regions during August and September, with more than 13,400 people displaced by floods between August 28 and September 22, according to the UN and the GoE National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC). Heavy rainfall has generated flooding along the Awash River Basin, which includes parts of Afar and Oromiya regions, and increased water flow to the Koka Dam; flood-related damage to the dam could adversely affect electricity production, according to NDRMC.

Please visit our Horn of Africa web page for additional information.


Ethiopia is experiencing its second severe drought in less than two years. Insufficient rainfall during the 2017 rainy season has led to severe water shortages, catastrophic livestock losses, and failed crops throughout the country. The drought in southern Ethiopia comes as the country’s north and central highland communities continue to recover from a severe drought in 2016 triggered by multiple consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall and the effects of the 2015/2016 El Niño climatic event. In August 2017, the Government of Ethiopia estimated that 8.5 million people in the country would require humanitarian assistance through December, primarily due to increased drought-related needs in southern and southeastern parts of Ethiopia.

In addition to drought, populations across Ethiopia face other challenges that contribute to sustained humanitarian needs and an ongoing complex emergency—including above-average food prices, disease outbreaks, localized intercommunal conflict, seasonal flooding, and limited access to health and water, sanitation, and hygiene services.

Last updated: October 16, 2017

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