Ethiopia Food Crisis

“The animals die first,” that’s a saying in Ethiopia.

Right now, Ethiopia is suffering its worst drought in 30 years. And the animals are, indeed, dying.

We need to do what we can now before children lose their lives. Before we see a repeat of the horrible famine that we witnessed in 1984 when a million people starved to death.

 Today, lives are at risk due to a lack of food and water, and the risk of disease outbreaks.


Ethiopia map

Source: 2016 Ethiopia Humanitarian Requirements, Joint Government and Humanitarian Partners’ document

At Hope and Healing International, our decades of experience have taught us two things…

…that in any crisis, children with disabilities are the most vulnerable. They can’t reach the food distribution points. They rely on the kindness of neighbours. And when things are desperate, they are the first to die.

We’ve also learned that malnourished children are at heightened risk of disease and disability. Malaria, dengue fever, diarrhea coupled with severe malnutrition will kill many, many children.

What the news doesn’t often report is that malnutrition + disease will leave even more children with lifelong disabilities – blindness, orthopaedic and intellectual impairments…

We need to act now, while we still have time to save the lives of children like Sira.

This is Sira. She is blind. In this drought, she is among the most vulnerable of all. She can’t see the path to the food distribution centre. She needs a hand to lead her.

Hope and Healing International’s 3-Step Action Plan

1. Our first priority is getting nutrient-enriched food to the most vulnerable children – children affected by disabilities and children already showing signs of malnutrition, hollow cheeks, sunken eyes.

cbm's step

2. Kids suffer most in food droughts like this. Malnutrition is a major cause of disability – as is lack of clean water. We will work with partners to provide health care and clean water to prevent disability wherever possible.

cbm's step

3. Lastly, we will help rebuild lives – sending things like seeds and farm kits – providing sustainable sources of income – so parents will be able to feed their children long after the food crisis is over.

Your gift of $30 will feed one child for 5 months.

Your gift of $60 will provide chickens and seeds for the weeks and months ahead.

Your gift of $100 will help to give a family clean water to prevent disease and disability.


Rains fail


The 2015-16 El Niño cycle has created a huge release of heat into the atmosphere that influences global weather patterns. Across the Pacific and East Africa, these severe weather extremes are causing unprecedented flooding, fire and food shortages, with Ethiopia in the grip of its worst drought in 30 years.

Crops die


Ethiopia experienced poor growing seasons in 2015, and with rains delayed again over Christmas, many crops have withered and died. This means Ethiopia’s main annual harvest saw a severe reduction in output.

Food Shortage


Since January 2015 there has been an increase in the number of malnourished children. The World Health Organization estimates that 400,000 children face severe malnutrition and a further 700,000 expectant and new mothers are at risk of acute malnutrition too.

Livestock Gone


“The animals are the first to die” is a staying in Ethiopia. With two failed rains, thousands of
animals have already died. And without a harvest, families have sold off surviving livestock in order to put food on the table. Families have also been forced to eat the seeds they would normally have planted.

“I’ve been visiting communities in two of the most-affected woredas (districts) and the situation is worsening, especially for children with disabilities. There is a terrible shortage of water – people often have none – and schools and other relief distribution points are often not equipped and prepared to meet their needs.”

Habtamu Haile, CBM Emergency Programme Manager, Ethiopia