Briefing from ROAPE Volume 30 Number 97
Food Crisis in Ethiopia: Drought or Poor Economic Policies?
Serious malnutrition is affecting the peoples of southern Ethiopia in 2003, after a year of crisis in the Afar and Harerge regions. For two successive years rain has been insufficient and the crisis became evident in May 2002, with unusual movements of livestock in the Afar region. This is one of the most neglected pastoral areas although it is crossed by the strategic highway linking Addis Ababa to the port of Djibouti. Very soon animals began to die in large numbers (from 20 to 50% of the cattle herds, including even camels) and pastoralists had difficulty in surviving in a region where there was no water. Was the spectre of the Ogaden famine of 2000 about to repeat itself? Since the summer of 2002, the crisis has struck the Afar triangle, which is given over to trans-humant pastureland, and it then expanded in concentric circles to the Afar agro-pastures: first to the west, affecting the Oromo of Wollo and the Kereyu, a rival pastoral group along the border of the Awash National Park, and then more markedly to the east, in Harerge.