While Ethiopia continues to reel from the impacts of the El Niño-induced drought occurred in 2016, a new drought affects millions of people in southern and eastern low lands. At least 8.5 million people need emergency food assistance. As water sources have dried up, 10.5 million people are affected by lack of drinking water. The 2016 assessment indicates that millions of people living in 200 Woredas (districts) need WASH support. This is due to increased non-functionality of water points in the identified districts, poor rain and lowering of ground water levels.
In response to the life-threatening drought, Habitat Ethiopia launched Disaster Risk Reduction and Response (DR3-WASH Project) in October 2016. Through the project, Habitat Ethiopia has assisted more than 37,000 people in Sankura and Alicho districts of Silte Zone in Southern Regional State.
As a result of drought, the community water supply systems are not functional in the two districts. Women and children travel two to three hours per day to collect water from unprotected sources where large number of people and their livestock line up for hours.
Through the project Habitat Ethiopia has provided water back packs, jerry cans and buckets to make water carriage and storage easier. Large scale hygiene and sanitation awareness raisings training have been provided to the community to minimize health risks related to water-borne diseases. Water purifying chemicals were distributed to house-holds to make drinking water safer.
To scale up the emergency WASH efforts, new project proposals have been developed. The new projects will focus not only on supplying emergency wash kits but also construction of water facilities which serve communities in a sustainable way including construction of water points, development of springs and wells. Habitat Ethiopia is seeking additional funds to start new projects in drought affected areas. Click here to know how to donate.