Impacts of the 1997-98 El Niño Event in Ethiopia

Tsegay Wolde-Georgis, Demlew Aweke, Yibrah Hagos, Berhane Asfaw and Adane Kebedde (2000). Impacts of the 1997-98 El Niño Event in Ethiopia. Reducing the Impact of Environmental Emergencies through Early Warning and Preparedness in the Case of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). United Nations University.

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    Author Tsegay Wolde-Georgis
    Demlew Aweke
    Yibrah Hagos
    Berhane Asfaw
    Adane Kebedde
    Editor Tsegay Wolde-Georgis
    Title Impacts of the 1997-98 El Niño Event in Ethiopia
    Series Title Reducing the Impact of Environmental Emergencies through Early Warning and Preparedness in the Case of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
    Publication Date 2000-07-10
    Place of Publication Washington DC
    Publisher United Nations University
    Pages 73
    Language eng
    Abstract At the national level, Ethiopia has to increase the number of its researchers in meteorology in general and in climate forecasting in particular. At present there is no single Department of Meteorology in any of Ethiopia’s five universities. Mechanisms have also to be made so those social and physical scientists outside the DPPC and the NMSA could develop an interest in conducting research on the relationship between El Niño and climate-related impacts in Ethiopia. In general, there is a need for the training of meteorologists, especially for the regions. There is a need for the supply of basic office materials, computers and access to the Internet. The El Niño of 1997-98 exposed the fragility of food security in developing countries, even with a government that is focused on agricultural development. Ethiopia had excellent food production in 1995-96 and 1996-97, but the optimism was dashed with the onset of the first drought. In spite of the existence of a supportive political environment for those involved in disaster prevention in Ethiopia, the struggle was very difficult. At the end of 1997, the Emergency Food Security Reserve was depleted and there was nervousness in the country that famine might revisit the country. Only the mass intervention of the donors saved a “killer” famine. One of the lessons we learn from this experience is that even though food security reserves are an excellent way of responding to disasters, if they depend on donor generosity for refills, they can not be dependable. Donors can ignore pleas for food to fill the stocks, as happened in the case of Ethiopia in 1999 and 2000. Long-lasting preparedness for climate-related impacts is necessary to improve the capacity of the country, especially in water preservation before the onset of the drought. Ethiopia is very rich in water resources, but a farmer’s access to irrigation is very limited. We should also learn that one of the reasons for the containment of the 1997-98 disaster was because of a positive economic condition in the country, open-mindedness on the part of the government and donor support. In the final analysis, however, we should note that complete national preparedness to disaster could come only through socio-economic development in all sectors of the country.
    Copyright Holder United Nations University
    Copyright Year 2000
    Copyright type All rights reserved
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    Created: Wed, 10 Nov 2021, 09:50:13 JST