This African crisis is taking lives. So why haven’t we heard about it?
Posted by Amy on Thursday 7th March 2019
Aid workers in Ethiopia are calling for support as they face the worst water and food crisis in years. The response? Radio silence.
38 year old farmer Mustafa has barely enough food to last him the week. His farm in Afar hasn’t seen rain for months, and he and his two children are battling to survive on just two cups of water a day.
Mustafa’s own crops and cattle have been laid to waste by drought and disease. The local government’s food safety net program can't keep up. International media have been silent. No help is coming anytime soon.
Cornered in on all sides by drought, hunger and disease, Mustafa and his family will be lucky to see the week through.
DROUGHT PREVENTION FAILED
Mustafa is just one of many farmers in outback Ethiopia who are now in a daily battle to survive.
The rains expected at the end of last year did not come, and the drought prevention programs so carefully put in place are failing.
Water is disappearing fast across the district. One of the main dams in northern Afar which supports over 1,500 households had the very last of its soupy mud scooped out in January. Many household water tanks have been contaminated by thirsty monkeys.
FOOD PRICES SKYROCKET
Basic food supplies have skyrocketed in price. Whole cattle herds have been wiped out from starvation while livestock disease threatens to finish off the remaining few.
With meat and milk in short supply, the price of grain has hit the roof. A 50kg sack of wheat is now marked up by over 650%, making basic rations unaffordable for almost all families.
AID WORKERS AT BREAKING POINT
Local aid workers are stretched to their limit. Two drought trucks containing 14,000 litres of water are frantically trucking fresh water to those hit the hardest.
Aid workers are also traversing long distances on foot, by camel and by car over difficult terrain to distribute emergency grain, animal fodder and water purification tablets.
Crews estimate that over 30,000 farmers like Mustafa are in immediate danger from famine, dehydration and disease.
WHERE IS THE GOVERNMENT?
The local Afar government has set up a safety net program to provide emergency food rations for farmers in need. But the program only runs during the rainy season. During the dry season, when farmers like Mustafa need it the most, they are on their own.
ABOUT TO LOSE IT ALL
The only relief on the horizon is for Mustafa to sell off what’s left of his cattle herd. With the money, he may be able to buy enough water and grain to see his family through another week.
Mustafa is on the brink of losing everything. His story is one in thousands, but no one is talking about it. The media is silent right at a time when farmers like Mustafa are desperately crying out for help.
* * *
You can pitch in for emergency relief today to help see Mustafa and farmers in Afar through the crisis.
Your contribution of $12.50 will go into an emergency relief pool to provide grain, water and animal fodder to those hit the hardest.