Ethiopia Water
In Ethiopia, women and girls may have to walk hours or days to find clean drinking water for their households. USAID rehabilitates water points, supplying life-saving access to clean drinking water to drought-affected households.
Kelley Lynch

Latest Horn of Africa Fact Sheet

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Key Developments

USAID's Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) is responding to the complex emergency in the Horn of Africa region, including in EthiopiaKenya, and Somalia.

The fifth round of emergency food distributions provided by USAID’s Office of Food for Peace partner the UN World Food Program (WFP) are ongoing in Ethiopia’s Somali Region, benefitting 3.3 million people, or 60 percent of the region’s population, including 200,000 conflict- and drought-affected internally displaced persons. WFP is also initiating a three-month blanket supplementary feeding program for the prevention and management of moderate acute malnutrition for approximately 400,000 children younger than five years of age and pregnant and lactating women in 45 Somali districts worst affected by malnutrition. The UN Central Emergency Response Fund—a pooled humanitarian fund established and managed by the UN to support sudden-onset and underfunded emergencies—and the Government of Denmark recently contributed $10 million and $4 million, respectively, in support of blanket supplementary feeding programs in Somali Region.

In late August, health actors reported a 27 percent increase in the number of new acute watery diarrhea (AWD) cases, predominantly in Afar, Amhara, and Tigray regions. The increase is attributed in part to community transmission at large public gatherings at holy water sites, as well as seasonal worker migration. In Somali, the number of newly reported cases has continued to decrease since peaking in April. As of August 29, health actors had recorded more than 43,000 suspected AWD cases and nearly 840 related deaths in Ethiopia, according to the UN World Health Organization.

Please visit our Horn of Africa web page for additional information.


Ethiopia is experiencing its second severe drought in less than two years. Insufficient rainfall during the 2017 rainy season has led to severe water shortages, catastrophic livestock losses, and failed crops throughout the country. The drought in southern Ethiopia comes as the country’s north and central highland communities continue to recover from a severe drought in 2016 triggered by multiple consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall and the effects of the 2015/2016 El Niño climatic event. In August 2017, the Government of Ethiopia estimated that 8.5 million people in the country would require humanitarian assistance through December, primarily due to increased drought-related needs in southern and southeastern parts of Ethiopia.

In addition to drought, populations across Ethiopia face other challenges that contribute to sustained humanitarian needs and an ongoing complex emergency—including above-average food prices, disease outbreaks, localized intercommunal conflict, seasonal flooding, and limited access to health and water, sanitation, and hygiene services.