Disaster Risk Reduction and Rehabilitation
ERCS disaster preparedness unit major activities between 2007-2010 and plan 2011-2015
Ethiopia is one of the disaster prone countries in sub Saharan Africa. Drought, flooding, conflict, crop pest, hailstorm, landslide and others are the widely experienced disasters in the country. These disasters coupled with poverty, high population pressure, climate change, ever increasing prices on basic requirements of the people have made many individuals, households and the community by large vulnerable for varying disasters.
The mismatch between fast growing population in one hand and declining population supporting capacity of land on the other hand has by far remained the major cause for the existence of high level rural poverty in Ethiopia.
Climate change and environmental degradation have also been the major challenges the country encountered in the past many decades. The unpredictable rainy seasons that affected the cropping calendar, the spread of malaria in previously malaria free mid altitude, increased incidence of bush fire, the reduced volume of surface and ground water, drastic decrease in the number of wild animals are some of the indicators that exhibited climate change and environmental degradation which remain as major challenges in the country.
Those social groups such as poor farmers and pastoralists in rural part and the urban poor in towns are the most suffering from the impacts of the various disasters. Since their capacity is very limited they couldn?t resist, cope with and recover from even small shocks. The frequently observed disasters particularly drought and flood has reduced the ability of the vulnerable people to survive.
Although, many factors aggravated the food security situation, drought due to adverse climatic condition has contributed a lot in deteriorating the availability, access and utilization of food in the country. Frequency of famine, high malnutrition, and the increasing number of people affected by drought, the expansion of the drought prone areas from northern part to the potentially rich southern part of the country and dependency on food aid has been increasing from time to time. Some studies indicated that more than 5 million people are estimated to be chronically food insecure in the country even in the normal harvesting period.
Both flash and over flow flooding have been common along the major watersheds in the country. However, these days flooding have become devastating. It has been increasing in magnitude and the impact resulted on the vulnerable people. The number of people and areas affected, number of deaths, infrastructure and property damage has been increasing dramatically in the past few years For example the 2006 flood killed more than 600 people, affected 200,000 and damaged property estimated more than 40,000,000 birr worth which was not observed in the recent past in the history of the country.
Although reduced in frequency and magnitude, Ethiopia is still one of the conflict prone countries in Africa. International armed conflict and internal violence have been the main threats hampering the country?s development endeavor. The fragile border conflict with Eritrea, the tense situation with Somalia and sporadic ethnical clashes are the potential danger that could potentially result heavy humanitarian crises.
This document overview some ERCS disaster preparedness activities undertaken by its capacity, with the support of the movement members and others to prepare for and address the above major disasters in the past three years and shortly highlight its plan in the year 2011-2015.