FAO / ETHIOPIA DROUGHT

02-Dec-2022 00:02:59
To help vulnerable farmers get through the worst drought in forty years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has so far supported more than 138 300 households (comprising 691 500 people) in just the Somali region of Ethiopia with life-sustaining supplies and by the end of 2022 will have assisted a total of 1.5 million households in need (7.5 million people) across the entire country. FAO
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STORY: FAO / ETHIOPIA DROUGHT
TRT: 2:59
SOURCE: FAO
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT FAO ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH /NATS

DATELINE: 22 NOVEMBER 2022, SOMALI REGION, ETHIOPIA
SHOTLIST
1. Wide shot, cattle at the drying water source
2. Med shot, cattle at the water source
3. Tracking shot, herd of camels walking by
4. Wide shot, wheat field
5. Close up, wheat
6. Med shot, Paulsen looking at wheat
7. Wide shot, Paulsen walking in the field
8. SOUNDBITE (English) Rein Paulsen, Director of the Office of Emergencies and Resilience, FAO:
“When there is drought, it doesn't mean there's no rain, it can come late, it can be badly distributed. But with the right types of inputs and technical support and local engagement, we can make a meaningful change and this is much better than just handing out food assistance. This is vulnerable families being able to produce for themselves and the results are really incredible.”
9. Close up, farmer inspecting wheat
10. Wide shot, Paulsen and FAO officials talking to farmers
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Rein Paulsen, Director of the Office of Emergencies and Resilience, FAO:
“What's so impressive is that the wheat that's growing here behind, it's possible to grow even in challenging circumstances. This farming family told us how they've lost half of the cows. They've lost the majority of their sheep. They're having to shift to cultivation but it's working even though the rains came late. We were able to provide high quality seeds, fertilizer and some cash support to get the family through the worst period of the lean season. And this wheat is in fantastic condition.”
12. Wide shot, wheat field
13. Close up, wheat
14. SOUNDBITE (English) Rein Paulsen, Director of the Office of Emergencies and Resilience, FAO:
“FAO’s response is multipronged and it's grounded in years and decades of presence and collaboration with local communities, local authorities, regional government, federal government. So this is a sustained relationship where we're supporting the authorities and we're supporting the local communities to support themselves.”
15. Pan right, from Paulsen and FAO officials to farmer talking
16. Med shot, female farmer talking
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Rein Paulsen, Director of the Office of Emergencies and Resilience, FAO:
“This is a historic drought. We need better emergency response and we need to focus on resilience immediately. The resilience work can't wait. FAO and partners are implementing this. It's what the authorities and communities all of them are asking for. But we can only do it with resources. FAO is response to the drought in Ethiopia is funded in less than 14%. The only thing that's limiting us from helping more families to survive and to thrive is funding. It's as simple as that.”
18. Close up, stalk of wheat
19. Wide shot, Paulsen and the group in field
20. Med shot, Paulsen and the group in field
STORYLINE
To help vulnerable farmers get through the worst drought in forty years, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has so far supported more than 138 300 households (comprising 691 500 people) in just the Somali region of Ethiopia with life-sustaining supplies and by the end of 2022 will have assisted a total of 1.5 million households in need (7.5 million people) across the entire country.

FAO is helping farmers by providing locally adapted seeds of different types of crops and fodder, good quality fertilizers, supplementary animal feed for livestock, animal health services and cash support. Alongside this material assistance, FAO ensures that the households it is working with receive agricultural extension services and training in best practices.

FAO’s Emergency Director Rein Paulsen visited the drought-affected region to better understand the extent and impact of the drought, monitor FAO’s drought response and establish the current needs of communities and the government, as well as to get feedback on FAO support from officials, communities and implementing partners.

“When there is drought, it doesn't mean there's no rain, it can come late, it can be badly distributed,” Paulsen said. “But with the right types of inputs and technical support and local engagement, we can make a meaningful change, and this is much better than just handing out food assistance. This is vulnerable families being able to produce for themselves and the results are really incredible.”

Thanks to FAO’s assistance, some traditionally livestock farmers, after losing their herds to drought, were able to successfully switch to growing crops instead.

“What's so impressive is that the wheat that's growing here behind, it's possible to grow even in challenging circumstances,” Paulsen said. “This farming family told us how they've lost half of the cows. They've lost the majority of their sheep. They're having to shift to cultivation but it's working even though the rains came late. We were able to provide high quality seeds, fertilizer and some cash support to get the family through the worst period of the lean season. And this wheat is in fantastic condition.”

“FAO’s response is multipronged, and it's grounded in years and decades of presence and collaboration with local communities, local authorities, regional government, federal government,” Paulsen added. “This is a sustained relationship where we're supporting the authorities and we're supporting the local communities to support themselves.”

Communities in southern parts of Ethiopia are suffering from a devastating drought following four consecutive failed rainy seasons since late 2020, entering a fifth failed season from October to December.

The situation will likely continue to drive high humanitarian needs in the coming months and well into 2023. Accordingly, the humanitarian needs have exponentially increased in the last few months exacerbating the complexity of the humanitarian crisis and associated response.

Some 17 million out of 24 million people living in drought-affected areas are targeted for assistance until the end of the year, up from 8.1 million people targeted earlier in the year. Over 10 million people are in need of urgent food assistance in the drought affected regions. The Somali, Oromia, Sidama and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ (SNNP) regions have been hit the hardest.

“This is a historic drought,” Paulsen said. “We need better emergency response and we need to focus on resilience immediately. The resilience work can't wait. FAO and partners are implementing this. It's what the authorities and communities all of them are asking for. But we can only do it with resources. FAO is response to the drought in Ethiopia is funded in less than 14%. The only thing that's limiting us from helping more families to survive and to thrive is funding. It's as simple as that.”

The overall inter-agency drought plan for Ethiopia, appealed for USD 132.7 million and received USD 60 million so far, leaving a gap of USD 72.7 million.

Over the last few years, many of the drought affected communities, mostly pastoralist and agro-pastoralist, have experienced multiple shocks, including conflict (notably in Afar, southern Oromia, SNNP and Somali regions), years of back-to-back drought and desert locust infestations. Conflict has destroyed public facilities such as health centres and schools and hindered the movement of critical aid supplies such as food and nutrition items.

The level of livestock deaths is staggering, highly alarming, and significantly affecting essential livelihoods. It is estimated that more than 4 million livestock (8% from the total livestock population) have died since late 2021, and at least 30 million weakened and emaciated livestock are at risk. More livestock are expected to perish in the next few months due to the continuation and worsening of the drought conditions, which will have a further devastating impact on communities heavily reliant on livestock for nutrition, particularly for children, and income.

The prolonged drought and conflict have triggered significant displacement and may likely increase over the next few months across communities with eroded livelihoods and in search of food, pasture and water. From the beginning of the year up to September 2022, 590,000 new drought related displacements have been estimated, representing a significant increase over the last few months. This number further compounds the already high numbers of displaced people living in drought affected areas.
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