It is already being considered the world’s next crisis, and one that could possibly exceed the conflict in Syria. The Horn of Africa, which includes the countries of Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Djibouti, is suffering from the worst drought in years which has resulted in insufficient harvest and crops for a region of the world already struggling with high rates of malnutrition.
Zakat Foundation in Ethiopia
In 2010, the Ethiopian government made a concerted effort to strengthen agricultural development to eradicate starvation—an issue that has riddled Ethiopia for decades. Agriculture also remains the heart of the Ethiopian economy with the majority of the population working in farming and the majority of exports coming from the agricultural sector, particularly coffee. There has been significant domestic growth since the government unveiled a five-year Growth and Transformation plan to diversify the economy, and, although the country outlook has improved in recent years, a majority of the population still suffers from malnutrition and inadequate access to clean water, healthcare, or education. According to a consortium of UN-affiliated agencies, the most critical issue Ethiopia faces is poor sanitation and malnutrition. As is the case in many Sub-Saharan countries, the mortality rate is high as a result of treatable diseases. Increasingly unpredictable weather patterns have contributed to diminished harvests and the possibility of widespread drought remains a threat.
Despite massive food insecurity, Ethiopia has served as a refuge for over 200,000 refugees and asylum seekers from neighboring Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan. Zakat Foundation of America has worked to provide relief to refugees and to increase food and water security through emergency food distributions and the installation of water wells and water pumps for rural communities.
Sources: UN Stats | World Bank | Pew Research Center