BUREAU FOR DEMOCRACY, CONFLICT, AND HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE (DCHA)
FOREIGN DISASTER ASSISTANCE (OFDA)
Cyclical droughts, exacerbated by a growing population and limited government capacity, have led to chronic food insecurity and water shortages in Ethiopia. Major drought and famine episodes in 1984/1985, 1993 to 1999, 2002/2003, and 2005 have rendered several areas of Ethiopia increasingly vulnerable to emergencies as the cumulative effects of multiple crises have exhausted many household coping mechanisms. The repeated failure of the short rains has adversely affected crop production and resulted in significant livestock losses due to severe water and pasture shortages. In Somali Region, insurgent activity and security operations have disrupted trade networks and restrictions on the movement of people and livestock have exacerbated food insecurity.
Since the 2002/2003 emergency, USAID/OFDA has adopted a comprehensive approach to saving lives and alleviating human suffering in Ethiopia by focusing on livelihood interventions that complement emergency assistance, while promoting economic resilience and diverse strategies to break the cycle of famine and poverty. In a shift towards more sustainable solutions, USAID/OFDA supports vulnerable families in undertaking activities to improve food security by enhancing coping mechanisms at the household level. Current USAID/OFDA interventions, including cash-for-work programs, livestock health activities, and seed multiplication programs, meet immediate emergency needs while helping develop household and community assets for the long-term benefit of drought-affected regions. USAID/OFDA implementing partners also work with local governments and communities to improve early warning and response capacities.