UNICEF Generation El Nino
The 2015-16 El Niño episode caused drought across large parts of eastern, southern, and central Ethiopia. Failed belg and delayed/erratic kiremt rains caused acute and widespread crop failure, asset depletion, and food insecurity. Children were amongst the most vulnerable to the 2015-16 El Niño drought, and their well-being was affected across numerous indicators. The episode was neither unfamiliar, nor unpredictable, being a severe iteration of a natural climatic phenomenon affecting Ethiopia and the wider Horn of Africa. In general, Ethiopia experiences significant variability in rainfall, and research suggests that the country is experiencing further warming trends driven by climate change1.
These characteristics and trends point towards a likelihood of recurrent drought in future decades, badly afflicting certain parts of the country whose populations are dependent on rain-fed agriculture and/or pastoralist ways of life. Persistent drought episodes will place millions of children at risk in terms of their long-term well-being and future development. To place children on positive, long-term development trajectories, it is critical to ensure children’s needs and aspirations are integrated within a clear strategic framework of resilience building that provides a shared reference point for humanitarian and development efforts.