Floods destroy meagre crops in Ethiopia’s lush highlands

15 Oct

Posted by The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)

The worst drought for decades in Ethiopia’s northern highlands has ended, but unusually heavy downpours threaten to ruin crops and exacerbate food insecurity as flash flooding turns roads to rivers and swamps fields Photographs by James Whitlow Delano/USAid

The worst drought for decades in Ethiopia’s northern highlands has ended, but unusually heavy downpours threaten to ruin crops and exacerbate food insecurity as flash flooding turns roads to rivers and swamps fields
Photographs by James Whitlow Delano/USAid via The Guardian

In its latest report, Fews.Net notes that the June to September Kiremt rains have gradually decreased since mid-August, although rainfall totals in most northern and western areas remained above average.

The flooding threat remains high in western regions. However, in central, southern, and eastern areas of Oromia, rainfall has been below-average throughout the season. In these areas and parts of SNNPR, field observations and remote-sensing products indicate likely yield reductions.

In terms forecast, it is anticipated that the short-term NOAA/GFS (National Oceanic and Atomspheric Administration/Growth Enhancement Scheme) rainfall forecast for October 20 to 27, 2016 shows the ongoing establishment of the October to December seasonal rains in the western sector of the region, specifically in southern Ethiopia and central and southern Somalia. The forecast rainfall is expected to help ease the current drier-than-normal conditions along the coastal strip of East Africa

Moderate to heavy rains (25 – 100 mm) are forecast in western and southern Ethiopia, western South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, northwestern Tanzania, and western and central Kenya in the next two weeks. Heavy to very heavy rainfall (more than 100 mm) is forecast to continue over the western and central highlands of Ethiopia. The western coastal strip of Yemen is also forecast to continue experiencing light to moderate rains during this period.

Ethiopia, International Organization for Migration Shelter Cluster Country data show an estimated total of nearly 150,000 people would be displaced within Ethiopia from the effect of El Nino-exacerbated drought, flooding and inter-communities tension.

Around 90 precent of the flood-displaced population returns to their place of origin within a short time frame. However, those who have lost their livestock as well as been displaced by the drought are often without prospect of longer-term solutions.

In the past months, the number of those displaced by conflict accounts for 56 percent of total new IDPs (internally displaced persons). On going inter-regional tension is expected to cause further displacement in coming months.

In terms of hunger, it is estimated that the number of hungry people is increasing. At present, the earlier estimated 9.5 million people that are in need of food assistance has shot moved up to 9.7 million. The WFP points out that those it targeted in its 2016 response, along with the regime were 7.1 million.

Under the current political turmoil the TPL regime invited upon the nation, responding to the needs of these people is increasingly difficult.

Despite their lush appearance at the peak of the unusually wet season, the northern highlands are very susceptible to dramatic swings in levels of rainfall. Coming after one of the worst droughts in decades, the rains could threaten staple cereal and vegetable crops via The Guardian

Despite their lush appearance at the peak of the unusually wet season, the northern highlands are very susceptible to dramatic swings in levels of rainfall. Coming after one of the worst droughts in decades, the rains could threaten staple cereal and vegetable crops via The Guardian

A woman carries a heavy sack of wheat along a saturated road. Unusually heavy summer rains have caused severe flooding, displacing almost 190,000 people via The Guardian

A woman carries a heavy sack of wheat along a saturated road. Unusually heavy summer rains have caused severe flooding, displacing almost 190,000 people via The Guardian

Rural families gather at a muddy compound at the edge of Lalibela to receive sacks of wheat. In January, USAid announced an additional $97m (£79m) in emergency assistance for Ethiopia, to address the crisis triggered by the unusually strong El Niño. Across southern Africa, countries have been appealing for help with the worst drought for 35 years via The Guardian

Rural families gather at a muddy compound at the edge of Lalibela to receive sacks of wheat. In January, USAid announced an additional $97m (£79m) in emergency assistance for Ethiopia, to address the crisis triggered by the unusually strong El Niño. Across southern Africa, countries have been appealing for help with the worst drought for 35 years via The Guardian

A group of men walk back to their village. Walking is the most common mode of transport in the highlands, where there are few motorbikes and people often have to cross difficult terrain to reach the nearest town via The Guardian

A group of men walk back to their village. Walking is the most common mode of transport in the highlands, where there are few motorbikes and people often have to cross difficult terrain to reach the nearest town via The Guardian

A woman prepares a cooking fire using charcoal. Roughly 96% of Ethiopians are dependent on biomass fuels, such as firewood, charcoal and dung. This dependence leads to rampant deforestation in the highlands, which in turn leads to flash floods, because woodland undergrowth plays a useful role in holding back floodwaters Facebook Twitter Pinterest via The Guardian

A woman prepares a cooking fire using charcoal. Roughly 96% of Ethiopians are dependent on biomass fuels, such as firewood, charcoal and dung. This dependence leads to rampant deforestation in the highlands, which in turn leads to flash floods, because woodland undergrowth plays a useful role in holding back floodwaters Facebook Twitter Pinterest via The Guardian

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