Case studies: Families coping with drought in Ethiopia
Meet Adanech, a mother of 5 in Ethiopia’s Shebedino area. The long dry season has left her without food and too weak to produce milk for her baby.
"My name is Adanech Woyna, and I'm 39 years of age. I live with my husband and my 2 sons and 3 daughters. My youngest daughter is only 7 months old. I don't have enough food to even feed myself. I'm dry - my baby can't get enough milk. If I stop feeding my baby I know she will die - so I don't have any option but to keep trying. I have to get food so I can feed my baby. I am getting worse and worse, I know that, but I want my baby to survive.
"We are facing this food shortage because we had a long dry season. We lost almost everything that we normally produce. During a normal harvest, we'd have fresh maize to eat right now. But we have nothing. We don't have any livestock - we had to sell our only ewe. We are going to be dealing with these food problems until September at least, when we hope we can harvest maize and feed the family."
Abebe, age 27, lives with his two children and his 6 months-pregnant wife in Diksis district.
"My wife is repeatedly sick and it has become harder for me to pay for her healthcare. My income from farming has already dried up due to the shortage of rain last season when we were expecting to plant wheat and barley that is harvested in July and August. It has become even more difficult for me to feed my children and families.
"Presently we depend on monthly food aid from the food-for-work program. This amount is not enough to feed my family for one month. A quintal (100kg) of barley was sold for 200 birr before the drought, now it has inflated to 700 birr. How can I afford this amount?
"For my pregnant wife, I know that she should get good food so that the coming baby will be strong and healthy. However, leave alone providing good food for my wife, we are not eating enough to fill our bellies everyday. I feel hopeless when I see my children going to bed without enough dinner."
Meet Misra from Diksis district. Her 11 month-old son Genna Adem has been identified as suffering malnutrition.
"I am 30 years of age and live with my husband and four children near Diksis district. We used to grow different crops and harvest twice a year. It didn’t rain during the planting season so we didn’t plant any seed. We lost many livestock and particularly milk cows and calves which are less resistant of dry season. So we don’t have any milk to feed our children. I am not eating enough to feed my child properly. How can a mother produce milk to feed her baby when she herself is hungry?
"My third child, Genna Adem, 11 months-old, was repeatedly sick and getting thinner and thinner. He was affected by diarrhea. I took him to the nearby health clinic. The nurse gave me nutrition-rich and high protein food to feed my baby. The situation has been improving since my baby started taking the food.
"Now we have to wait 5 more months to harvest what we have planted this season. If we are lucky enough and the rain remained promising we can manage to make some crop produces."
Bayessa, 25, is mother to 9 month-old Seadam. Her baby was brought to a health clinic in Hamda, Ethiopia and was found to be suffering diarrhea and pneumonia due to malnutrition.
"We have been in food shortage since last year and the situation is getting worse and worse as we cannot produce enough to feed our children. My children are particularly sick as I don’t have enough to feed them. We planted maize and barley last February, but we lost all as there was no rain. I lost 2 milk cows and 4 sheep during last March and May due to shortage of grass and water. I am remained with few livestock which I sell to buy food items for my family. I am very much concerned as my livestock asset is diminishing.
"We walk up to 4 hours to buy water from the nearby town for drinking during the drought season. After the rain arrives our problem with watering livestock has been improving, but the problem with food is worsening."