Ethiopia, a Nation of Farmers, Strains Under Severe Drought

Carcasses of cattle litter the landscape in northeastern Ethiopia. (Photo Credit: Jacey Fortin for The NY Times)

The New York Times


MIESO, Ethiopia — Every day, Yasin Mohammed Aliye stakes out a spot on his small farm to chew khat leaves, a stimulant, and guard against intruders.

The khat, he explains, helps to dull the hunger.

“We got just one day of rain each month during the rainy season,” Mr. Yasin said, referring to the days from July through September. “It should have been raining every other day. Now my harvest has failed.”

The green hills and full fields around here belie an alarming fact: This is the worst drought Ethiopia has experienced in more than a decade.

The stream bordering Mr. Yasin’s farm has run dry, and the trenches he dug to irrigate his land never filled. He has sown seeds three times this year, each time anticipating rains that never came. His corn and sorghum stalks are stunted and will yield no harvest. He has sold four of his eight cows at a steep discount in order to buy corn at nearly double last year’s market prices.

Mr. Yasin, 50, now regularly skips meals. He worries that the animals he has left to sell will not be enough to sustain his family until the next harvest season. If all else fails, he will move west, where the rains have been more reliable.

Read more at The New York Times »

El Niño Strikes Ethiopia (The New York Times Editorial)
Ethiopia’s Government Makes International Appeal for Food Aid After Poor Harvests (AP)
Ethiopian drought threatens growth as cattle die, crops fail (Bloomberg)
Drought Hits Millions in Ethiopia (Radio France International)
Sharp rise in hungry Ethiopians needing aid: UN (AFP)
Ethiopia: Need for Food Aid Surges (Reuters)
The Cause of Ethiopia’s Recurrent Famine: Is it Drought or Authoritarianism? (The Huffington Post)

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