In 2016, several regions of Ethiopia were facing the worst prolonged drought in 30 years. In Afar, this was particularly acute with the loss of hundreds of thousands of animals on which pastoralist communities depend for their livelihood. In August 2016, the long-awaited seasonal Belg rains finally came. With the heavy rainfalls, however, waterborne diseases began to affect communities that had already been severely weakened by the drought. Acute watery diarrhea (AWD) set in, and by the month of November this reached an epidemic scale affecting dozens of communities in Afar region.
Water and food distribution to save lives in the most affected districts of Afar; restocking of goat herds for pastoralist communities to restore their autonomy; medical health worker interventions to treat, control and prevent the spread of acute watery diarrhoea;
Our partner on the ground, Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA), has been working closely with local communities for the past 28 years. APDA sent trucks carrying 14,000 litres of water over distances of up to 180kms to reach the most remote and affected districts in Afar. In places where malnutrition had reached 24% of households, 50kg bags of lentils and two goats were distributed to each family. During the rehabilitation phase, 275 of the most destitute families who had lost their entire herd, and way of life were provided a chance to start over with 10 breeding goats each.
In order to control and halt the AWD epidemic, APDA deployed a team of 60 community health workers to all affected areas to screen for illnesses, provide immediate treatment, distribute soap and purification tablets, and inform communities about how to cope with the outbreak.
Ethiopiaid launched an emergency appeal to all our donors and, thanks to an amazingly generous response, was able to respond swiftly and save many lives in Afar, one of the most affected regions. As a result approx. 8,000 lives were saved in the Afar region.
- Water and food were supplied to approx. 200,000 people
- A goat restocking program (10 breeding goats distributed to each family who had lost all their animals) swiftly restored the autonomy of 275 families - over 3,000 people - who had become entirely dependent on international or government aid.
- 1,560 people were treated for Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD)
- Approx. 5,000 lives were saved over the course of the AWD intervention