Ethiopia in crisis


Ethiopia’s current drought is the worst for 50 years, eclipsing the infamous drought and famine of the 1980s. An estimated 9.7 million people have been seriously affected. 

The extent of the current crisis is laid out in a new joint report from the Ethiopian Government and a number of humanitarian agencies. 

This latest drought is particularly severe because of weather caused by El Nino – a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean. Millions across the country are malnourished, around half a million people seriously malnourished. 


However there is some positive news; a more stable government in Ethiopia and more co-ordinated efforts means that it is easier to offer assistance than 30 years ago. Also the rains have now arrived, although this doesn’t spell the end of the crisis. 

‘Although the rains have brought an end to the drought itself, it’s not the end of the crisis,’ explains Tadesse Dadi Programme Support Advisor for Tearfund in Ethiopia.

Photo: Antonio Florente/Tearfund


Tearfund and our partners in Ethiopia are hard at work in the region, offering two key responses to the crisis:

  • A cash programming scheme, providing money to communities in desperate need. This will be administered by 270 ‘self help’ groups, based in two selected districts in Ethiopia

  • Setting up food distribution centres in a key area of need, reaching 64,000 people in desperate need.

‘The households that are getting help have already suffered two years of drought,’ explains Tadesse. ‘They have lost their livestock either to the drought, or have been selling them to buy grain for their families.  This help will alleviate their suffering and help them hold onto whatever little assets that they still have.’

The ‘self help groups’, which offer small loans have already been shown to make the communities that they operate in more resilient to disasters like these.

Pray for Ethiopia:

  • For rains to continue until the end of September;

  • Stability after recent unrest in the country;

  • For additional resources to support the emergency response that Tearfund and our partners are engaged in.

Give to Tearfund’s Ethiopia Emergency Fund

Ben Cohen
Ben is Web Editor for Tearfund. This can sometimes feel a bit like being ‘senior hairstylist for…