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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

The conflict in northern Ethiopia’s Tigray Region continues to generate large-scale humanitarian needs and result in civilian deaths, population displacement, and protection violations.

On March 1, USAID activated a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) to coordinate the U.S. humanitarian response efforts to the Tigray crisis.

Many people in Tigray remain unable to access basic services.  No more than 30 percent of the region’s health facilities are functioning, and health care services across the region remain severely impaired.

Food insecurity will likely worsen in conflict-affected areas of central and eastern Tigray in the coming months without sustained humanitarian assistance, according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

 Complex Emergency

Insecurity in parts of western and southern Ethiopia— including Benishangul-Gumuz Region’s Metekel Zone, Oromiya Region’s West Wollega Zone, and the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) Region’s Konso Zone—continues to drive widespread displacement and elevated humanitarian needs. 

Nearly 13 million Ethiopians will likely require emergency food assistance through July due to conflict, drought, locust infestations, and COVID-19, according to food security monitors. 

Ethiopian authorities and relief actors completed the first phase of a cholera vaccination campaign in late January, immunizing more than 1.6 million people in Gambella, Oromiya, Sidama, and SNNP regions.   

USAID is also responding to the worst locust outbreak in decades. Learn more about our response in Ethiopia and several other East Africa countries.


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.



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Last updated: March 04, 2021

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