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Ethiopia drought not a full-scale disaster, benefitting from political stability

Catholic church development project
This dam in Dahwan is a Catholic church development project that took nearly 30 years of planning, interrupted by war and famine, before it was finally completed a few years ago. Now, people in this area can use it for livestock, though it is a bit too salty to use for irrigating crops. (GSR photo/Melanie Lidman)

By Melanie Lidman  |  Jun. 3, 2016
Adigrat, Ethiopia

As Ethiopia emerges from the worst drought in decades, you’ll have to look very hard to find the expected results of severe drought: emaciated children, skin-and-bones cattle, malnourished nursing mothers desperate for food, skeletal elders hovering in doorways.

Unlike the horrifying images that garnered world attention during Ethiopia’s infamous drought from 1983 to 1985, most of the 10 million people directly affected by the current drought don’t look like they are on the brink of starvation for one simple reason: They aren’t.

“We have avoided a major catastrophe because of major accomplishments that Ethiopia has been able to do,” said Choice Okoro, the head of the Strategic Communications Unit for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia. “These national systems are behind Ethiopia’s success — these are the backbones of the response of the current drought,” Okoro said, crediting government programs for the free flow of international aid.

see more at ncronline.org

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