As part of an ongoing relief effort in support of drought-affected families, IOM recently distributed 442 Emergency Shelter and Non-Food Item (ES/NFI) kits to displaced families in Mile, Dubti, and Asiyta woredas of the Afar Regional State. Accordingly, 87 households were assisted in Mile, while 305 received assistance in Dubti and 50 households in Asiyta. The ES/NFI kits contained plastic sheeting for temporary shelters, mosquito nets, sleeping mats and blankets, kitchen sets, basic hygiene kits and other materials to meet essential household needs.

The current El Niño-driven drought is unprecedented in scale and severity. 10.2 million farmers, herders and their families have lost harvests and livestock and rely on food assistance to meet basic needs. Malnutrition rates are increasing and over 5 million people require emergency water and sanitation assistance, which is starting to become a major factor in driving displacement.

Host communities continue to demonstrate extraordinary resilience in their accommodation of newly displaced families, despite also being severely impacted by the drought.

The life and livelihoods of pastoralist communities in the Afar Region are based on livestock productivity and the drought has adversely affected their livelihood conditions. For example, the health and quality of livestock are deterioarating due to water depletion and pasture degenaration. As a result, the market value of livestock decreases substantially. Rainfall during the spring Karma season has also been inadequate for the regeneration of pasture and replenishment of water sources.

These factors are driving many pastoralist communities to move from their places of origin to neighboring woredas and regions of Amhara, Tigray and Oromia in search of water and pasture.

IOM, in strong partnership with the Ethiopian  Red Cross Society continues to provide assistance to displaced communities in other drought-affected areas across Amhara, Afar, Gambella, Oromia, SNNPR, Somali and Tigray Regions. In 2016, across the country, over 800,000 people are expected to be in need of emergency shelter and non-food items.