Drought In Borena, Oromia Ethiopia

KElshaday Endale

Startup Associate @ Unsung Heroes Foundation

Droughts are prolonged periods of below-average rainfall, which can have severe impacts on ecosystems, agriculture, and human communities. In the case of Borena, the region is already characterised by a semi-arid climate with low and variable rainfall, making it particularly vulnerable to the effects of drought.

Climate change is one of the key factors contributing to the increased frequency and severity of droughts in Borena and other parts of Ethiopia. Rising temperatures and changing weather patterns are altering the distribution and intensity of rainfall, leading to longer dry spells and more frequent periods of drought.

Another contributing factor is deforestation, which can disrupt local rainfall patterns by reducing the amount of moisture in the air and altering the local microclimate. Deforestation in Borena has been driven by a range of factors, including agricultural expansion, fuelwood collection, and charcoal production.

Overgrazing is another factor that can contribute to drought by reducing vegetation cover and soil moisture. Livestock production is an important source of income and food for many communities in Borena, but unsustainable grazing practices can exacerbate the effects of drought and lead to land degradation.

To address the effects of drought in Borena, a range of interventions have been implemented, including emergency food and water assistance, support for sustainable agriculture and livestock management practices, and efforts to promote reforestation and water conservation. However, the ongoing challenge of drought in Borena highlights the need for long-term solutions that address the underlying causes of drought and build resilience to its effects, such as sustainable land management practices, climate change adaptation strategies, and community-based water resource management.

The deadly drought has hit the Borena zone in the Oromia region of Ethiopia, affecting over 800,000 residents who are facing famine. This has caused shock among Ethiopians, who have been sharing heart-wrenching pictures on social media. The majority of people in the region are pastoralists who rely on animals for their livelihood, and the area depends on rain for water, but it has not rained for three years. According to state-owned media FBC, over 3.3 million livestock have died due to the drought. While it is unclear if there have been human casualties, thousands have already been displaced and are sheltering in the Dubluk centre.

Although state media claims that over 600,000 people are receiving aid, an EBC report suggests that as many as 263,136 people need emergency food aid. Despite government efforts to provide assistance, they are reportedly insufficient to address the magnitude of the problem. If the region does not receive any rain this year, the situation is expected to worsen, and there are predictions that the drought could be worse than the one that occurred in Somalia more than ten years ago, which claimed the lives of over 260,000 people.

Author:Elshaday Endale

Startup Associate @ Unsung Heroes Foundation