Jun 2018

Emergency & Long Term Drought Relief

Posted by Ethiopiaid on Friday 15th June 2018

Each day, children across Ethiopia’s north-east walk for over 9 hours to find water.

These children trek long distances over a dry, desert landscape, with no food and sometimes without shoes, to collect water for their families.

The amount they can carry in their containers, sometimes as little as 3 litres, is just enough to sustain their family for a day or two before making the long trek once again. 

Families and children are down to their last drops of water. To support Ethiopiaid Canada's partners who are working on critical emergency drought relief, please visit here.

Children walking through desert in Afar Ethiopia for water

Ethiopia is in the middle of a severe drought.

Right now 7.9 million people are in dire need, struggling to find enough water while facing off starvation. Almost half are young children. 

Failed rainy seasons have led to back-to-back periods of drought, which has had devastating consequences for a country that relies so heavily on agriculture. In the north-east region of Afar, one of the worst affected areas, thousands of livestock animals have died and food prices have exploded. Many thousands of families have lost their livestock, are unable to rebuild and now struggle to provide for themselves and their children.

With your help and with trusted community partners, we are working to provide emergency food, water and medicine to those in serious need.

Our community partner, the Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA), is working hard to develop sustainable, long term solutions to the water crisis, but immediate relief is needed to ensure families can survive until the next rainy season.

Afar Pastoralist Development Association providing drought relief in Ethiopia



  • Water trucking is critical for immediate relief, especially in remote communities where drilling for water is impossible.

  • APDA is working tirelessly to deliver 2.5L of water per person per day. Their trucks cover distances of up to 180kms to reach the most remote communities of Afar with enough water to withstand the drought.

  • Although for some communities water trucking is the only way to get clean and safe water, APDA is also working on more sustainable solutions. Where possible due to the lay of the land, APDA has plans to use their skills and equipment to drill new boreholes, install wells and maintain cisterns for water catchment and storage. In this way, communities will be able to collect and store water when it does rain and so reduce their dependence on trucking.


  • Dehydration and malnourishment makes children and seniors even more vulnerable to disease. During drought, it is vital that what little water there is remains safe to drink.

  • APDA supplies water purification tablets to households to ensure any water they collect, store or have delivered is safe from waterborne disease such as acute watery diarrhea.

  • It is not just during times of drought that water purification is essential. Directly after the seasonal rains set in, new bacteria or pathogens are often washed into catchments for fresh water which can lead to epidemics of waterborne disease unless safely treated first.


  • APDA has two phases of food relief to provide immediate aid and then restore independence to families whose farming or livestock livelihoods have been wiped out by continual drought.

  • First, to provide immediate aid, APDA supplies a 50kg bag of lentils and 2 goats to families identified as being the most vulnerable. They also provide veterinary treatment to help livestock survive the drought and provide much-needed income or food for families.

  • For families who have lost their whole herd and prospects for their livelihood, APDA gives them the tools to start afresh with 10 breeding goats each. In this way, communities can make a shift from being reliant on food relief to being able to provide for themselves once again.


  • APDA’s health workers are vital in ensuring aid gets to the most vulnerable. They travel huge distances on foot for 15 days at a time, visiting households to give immediate food and medical aid and give awareness on hygiene and disease prevention.

  • In just 15 days, one health worker can reach and treat 150 people who are severely malnourished.

  • The government, UNICEF and the World Food Programme rely on APDA’s health workers to get vaccinations and malnutrition supplements to remote communities across the Afar region. 


Thanks to the kindness of our supporters, in 2016-2017 Ethiopiaid Canada supported the distribution of critical water and food supplies to 200,000 people, treated 1,560 people for acute watery diarrhoea, and constructed three dams to secure access to life-saving water for approximately 6,660 individuals. 275 families across the Afar region who had their livelihood wiped out also received a chance to start over with 10 goats to raise and breed.

Emergency water trucking for drought relief Ethiopia


Great steps have been taken, but as the drought in Ethiopia persists many families especially in remote communities are still under great threat.

It is only with your help that we can continue to provide the emergency relief so desperately needed.

A gift today provides critical water, food or medicine to help a family endure the drought.

Just a small gift can make a big difference. Please, give help today.


Donate Now for emergency drought relief in Ethiopia

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