The Somali region of Ethiopia remains highly vulnerable to catastrophic potable water and food shortages and the crisis is not restricted to a few areas. Much of Gode, Warder, Fik, Qorehay, Dagahbur , Liban and Afder Zones are affected or at serious risk. Emergency reserves have so far staved off the worst water and food shortages but stocks are dangerously low and weather forecasts are not good.
Potable water and Food must be urgently pre-positioned in remote areas before people are at risk.
There is a pressing responsibility on the National and international community to respond quickly and effectively to find a solution to the problem. That is why Ogaden Welfare and Development Association to ask for help from International Community in alleviating the problem.
» Why has famine struck again?
The failure of the rains may have triggered the crisis in the Region but it is not the fundamental cause of the famine. The coping mechanisms of vulnerable communities are so fragile that minor climatic variations can result in crisis conditions. Alongside the emergency response, long-term investment is required to consolidate coping mechanisms and address food insecurity.
Government and Non-Government Organizations warned of the developing emergency and lobbied donors for responses well before the situation deteriorated. However, these systems have not elicited adequate and timely responses. Early warning systems are only effective if they are responded to in a timely fashion.
Ogaden Welfare and Development association offices and Representatives along the region, have indicted that the famine situation is far worse in that region than any other even 1999-2000 famine. Close to 1,000,000 people are affected with many moving from rural areas to urban areas hoping to receive life-saving assistance from groups working throughout the area. , the people are fleeing from their Origin land searching for water and pasture for them and their livestock. Even the neighboring pastoralists from Somalia (Sol, Galgudud, etc) were moved in to the region which is adding fuel to the fire (conflict of water and pasture resource)
To save the lives of those living in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia (Ogaden), immediate financial assistance is urgently required by all agencies to purchase food from the remaining food-surplus areas within Ethiopia. Food surplus expected from overseas will arrive much too late to save many of those lives.
» Not just an emergency response – developing ling-term, sustainable program
Ultimately, food aid is not the solution to the region’s problems. The solution to the region’s ongoing food crisis is in developing long-term food security policies that will ensure a steady food supply despite the climatic conditions. If the National and International community is serious about averting this and future famines in Ethiopia, it should be prepared to invest serious funding into long-term development programs. It is a question of looking further and to replace assets to reduce vulnerability, to prevent this happening again.
The Rehabilitation and self-sustainability for the famine and displaced population. The extensive Webe Shebelle River in the south east of the country is being considered for an irrigation scheme to assist the Internal Displaced people to resettle and establish farm and vegetable plots for future food supplies.
Most importantly, the cycle of crisis must be broken. The people in the need peace, more development assistance, and debt relief. Commitment to them in these efforts must be sustained