Horn of Africa Drought Driving Emergency Needs in Ethiopia; Humanitarian Response Must Be Scaled Up

News and Press Release
Originally published


(27 April 2011, Addis Ababa): The La Niña-induced drought that has set in over much of the Horn of Africa has left more than 2 million people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in the southern and southeastern lowlands of Ethiopia, with emergency conditions likely to persist until the next rainy season arrives in October.

With the end of the long gu/ganna rainy season in pastoral areas fast approaching at the end of April, a second consecutive season of very poor rains is increasingly likely. The Government of Ethiopia has described the situation in some southern and southeastern areas as ‘critical’ with regards to pasture and water. Affected parts of the country include all nine zones of Somali Region; Borena and parts of Bale, Guji, Arsi, East and West Hararghe zones of Oromia; and South Omo, Konso and Derashe Special Woreda of SNNPR. Increasingly, northern Afar is also reporting drought effects.

Recognizing the severity of the developing situation, the Government of Ethiopia on 12 April presented updated figures for the number of people affected by the drought and who require urgent assistance.

More than 2 million people were identified to be in need of relief food and non-food assistance in Somali and the lowlands of Oromia and SNNPR. This is in addition to some 1,043,000 people throughout the rest of the country who also require relief food assistance, according the Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) released in February 2011. The resource requirements to support the ongoing emergency response were also updated, with the Government calling for an additional $75 million for priority responses in these areas in the next two months (April and May).

With this Special Report, the Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team (EHCT) signals its concurrence with the Government that the existing humanitarian response must be scaled up to meet increasing needs.

As a result, additional humanitarian resources – particularly funding – will be required to support expanded operations in the coming months and avoid critical pipeline breaks.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit