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

Key Developments

An estimated 8.4 million people in Ethiopia will require humanitarian assistance in 2020, according to the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). Approximately 54 percent of the population in need are children, predominantly residing in Oromiya and Somali regions. In addition, due to ongoing conflict, climatic shocks, and crop and pasture loss from the current desert locust outbreak, approximately 6.4 million people will require food assistance during the year, the HRP reports.

U.S. Ambassador Michael A. Raynor declared a disaster due to the effects of the desert locust infestation in Ethiopia on November 18. In response, USAID supported the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to conduct critical pest control operations across the country. The current infestation is the largest Ethiopia has experienced in 25 years—with nearly 581,000 acres of crop, forest, and pasture land affected as of late January—and could negatively impact food security and livelihoods among local populations in 2020, FAO reports.


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: February 04, 2020

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