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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

Ongoing disruptions to communications services and lack of emergency communications equipment continue to hinder the expansion of humanitarian operations beyond town centers and main roads.  The USAID Disaster Assistance Response Team and US Government leadership continue to advocate for the importation of communications equipment.

Food assistance and agriculture support are urgently required in areas of Tigray projected to face Crisis and Emergency levels of acute food insecurity through September to prevent extreme food consumption gaps and avert excess mortality.

In response to the crisis, USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, in coordination with the International Organization for Migration, recently donated and airlifted 1,500 rolls of plastic sheeting to Ethiopia to support emergency shelter efforts.

 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: April 15, 2021

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