Ethiopia has been experiencing one of the worst protracted droughts in decades. Extended dry periods followed by late and sporadic rains have caused drought and intermittent flooding since 2015, when El Niño-driven weather led to the failure of the main kiremt rainy season from June to September, on the heels of two previous poor rain seasons. Kiremt rains are vital for the meher harvest which produces over 80 per cent of Ethiopia’s agricultural yield – in an industry that employs 85 per cent of the country’s workforce.
Failed rains in pastoral areas from late September to December 2016 due to the negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), a weather phenomenon, caused drought yet again across lowland areas in the Horn of Africa. While the 2016 kiremt rains were successful and thus normal harvests are expected throughout northern and western parts of the country, livestock deaths and water shortages are emerging from the primarily pastoral areas in southern and south eastern Ethiopia. While late spring rains have reached most areas, effects from drought and flooding continue to cause disease outbreaks and food and nutrition insecurity throughout the country.
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