Ethiopia is facing its worst food crisis in 30 years, with severe drought in the north east

Ethiopia Drought: Titua's Story

Ethiopia is facing its worst food crisis in 30 years, with severe drought in the north east

By Action Against Hunger

May 18 2016

Titua’s story

Ethiopia is facing its worst food crisis in 30 years with a severe drought in the north east of the country putting thousands of young children at risk.

“We face many challenges in our region. There is no rain and the sun is very strong. We’re facing drought and there’s little food and water.” These are the words of 35-year-old Titua Wilde who has seven children and is five months pregnant with her eighth child. She lives in a village in Debi Balaka Kebele, which can only be reached by crossing the Tekezé River by boat and then by travelling on foot or on an animal for several hours. 

“This year, the drought is much worse than previous ones,” Titua told us. “The rains failed last year so there’s limited availability of water and grass. Daily chores such as feeding our animals and family, fetching water for their consumption… all of these are now very difficult compared to previous years.”

Titua and her children live in the north east of Ethiopia, an area badly affected by drought. Photo: S. Tawhid for Action Against Hunger

Waiting for the rain

Action Against Hunger has launched an emergency nutrition programme and Titua is now receiving a monthly supply of corn soy blend known as fao fao. Her youngest child is receiving ready-to-use therapeutic foods at an Action Against Hunger-supported outpatient centre after she became ill with malnutrition to help her regain her health.

“My eight-month-old child was becoming weak as I wasn’t producing enough breast milk,” Titua told us. “She is already getting better and can now play with her siblings again.

“We are farmers so we are waiting for the next rain to come. We are ploughing our land and getting it ready for sowing. But if the rain fails again this year, we will miss the harvest again. We feed our children mainly from the wheat we receive from the Government.”

“We sold seven goats and one cow to buy food supplies for the family,” she added. “We have five cows and 10 goats remaining. We may have to sell more of our livestock assets in the future. There is not enough grass for feeding them. We don’t know what the solutions are or what to do in the future.”

The Ethiopian Government has spent more than £210 million buying wheat in the international market to respond to the drought. Our teams are working with the Ethiopian Government to tackle the crisis but many more children need our help.

Action Against Hunger has been present in Ethiopia since 1985
Action Against Hunger has been present in Ethiopia since 1985

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Images: S. Tawhid for Action Against Hunger