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New assessments in drought-parched regions of Ethiopia

Ethiopia, July 27, 2011

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  <span class="field-credit">
    courtesy of Wikipedia  </span>
    The regions of Ethiopia, with the drought-affected Oromia and Somali regions at bottom right, next to the borders with Kenya and Somalia. Photo: courtesy of Wikipedia

As worsening drought and food shortages spread throughout the Horn of Africa, we've begun more assessments of hard-hit areas in eastern and southern Ethiopia.

Over the last five days, our teams have been surveying the situation in five areas: the districts of Moyale and Hudet in Ethiopia's Somali Region, and the districts of Arero, Moyale and Dhas in the Oromia Region. Team reports indicate an urgent need for food and water.

In the Somali Region district of Moyale, our team has communicated that there are virtually no animals left, as herders have taken their livestock out of the area in search of water and pastureland. Some villages around Moyale are completely empty. Those who've stayed behind in local communities say that they can perhaps hold out for another two weeks or so before they have to abandon their homes and go searching for food and water.

Many people are heading to the area around Arero — and there are fears that such a huge influx of displaced families will overwhelm the already-precarious local food, water and living situations.

This assessment is revealing a constantly-changing situation involving populations on the move. Most are desperate for food, water and other relief as they travel across Ethiopia's vast landscape.

We will keep you updated on our work and response in Ethiopia and throughout the region.