Though Ethiopia’s economy has grown quickly in recent years, many of the country’s most vulnerable citizens have not experienced the benefits of this financial upturn and remain dependent on international aid. Some five million Ethiopians—as well as thousands of refugees fleeing drought and violence in neighboring countries—face a wide array of humanitarian challenges, including escalating food prices and persistent drought that threaten their food security.
In 2011, severe drought crippled the Horn of Africa. Widespread drought left more than 13 million people in Ethiopia and surrounding countries in desperate need of help. Thousands of families affected by drought and conflict sought refuge in Ethiopia. These families arrived at refugee camps malnourished and dehydrated, with no possessions or means to provide for themselves.
Action Against Hunger started working in Ethiopia in 1985 to help communities through severe drought and food shortages, and we continued that work during this most recent food crisis. In 2011, we helped 463,000 Ethiopians. In 2012, we treated more than 22,000 child refugees for severe malnutrition, boosting treatment regimens for children who weren’t responsive to traditional care methods. We opened a daycare center in one of the camps and provided daily meals for families. We also supported communities surrounding the camps to help the region cope with the burden on its natural resources after the arrival of hundreds of thousands of refugees.
Though the worst of the crisis in the Horn of Africa has passed, there is still much work to be done. Communities are still recovering, and the refugee camps still hold thousands of displaced people in need of care. We are continuing to help these vulnerable populations regain access to proper nutrition, safe water, and sustainable livelihoods.