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Drought relief Eastern Africa

Large parts in Africa are on the verge of a humanitarian disaster because of a severe drought. Millions of people are hungry and there is a huge shortage of water that is causing harvests to fail and cattle to die. People desperately need help. The Dutch Emergency Relief Cluster, consisting of ZOA, Red een Kind, Tear, Woord en Daad and Dorcas, is taking action to help those who are affected.

Drought response in Ethiopia

ZOA Ethiopia is responding to the current drought in the country with funding from the Dutch Relief Alliance (DRA). The drought that is caused by the El Nino effect is already affecting more than 10 million people in Ethiopia.

ZOA is implementing a drought response project in Moyale, Hudet and Midega Tola districts that are affected by the drought and where water is becoming very scarce. The project will enhance the community’s access to water by partnering with community and government leaders to construct various water schemes, such as ponds, (super) birkas or sand dams and distribution of water purification material. Due to the pressure on water sources an outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhea did already occur in Moyale district. In response 115 wells were treated with chlorine to stop the outbreak. These water interventions are implemented by our local partner IDURUS.

Donkey distribution

In addition, 235 donkeys will be distributed to support the women with fetching water. A one way trip of 6 hours to the remaining water source is not an exception and vulnerable households without any donkey are selected for this.

Besides the water intervention, 500 vulnerable households will be supported with chickens to supplement their diet and with seeds. Due to the drought many households have sold their livestock to buy food and an extra investment in seeds will further deplete their assets. To prevent this the seeds are distributed.


The members of the cluster were already working in the affected areas and have initiated additional programmes to help local inhabitants deal with the dramatic effects of the drought. The cluster is currently working in Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda, Sudan and South Africa, focusing on providing food and medical care the most vulnerable groups, such as the elderly, the chronically ill, and families with young children. Together with our partners we are working on structural solutions for this reoccurring problem. Water reservoirs and water point are added or repaired.

El Niño

The drought and the looming famine in Africa do not occur randomly. An exceptionally strong El Niño causes the drought in Africa to be more extreme than normally. This is the worst drought in decades.



ZOA is member of the Integral Alliance.