El Niño drought: Kimiya’s story

The El Niño weather system has caused an extreme drought in Ethiopia. Crops have failed completely in large areas of the country, and more than 10 million people depend on food assistance from the government and aid agencies like CARE. Kimiya Amedu is one of them.

Kimiya is a 26 year-old mother of two and one of hundreds of people to receive food rations at a monthly distribution organized by CARE in collaboration with the Ethiopian government and with supplies from USAID in East Hararghe in the beginning of December 2015.

“This is the worst drought we have ever experienced,” said Kimiya. “We had a drought last year also, but this year is much worse. Our whole harvest failed completely. In order to get money for food, I collect and sell firewood, but the market is very far, and I have to spend the whole day collecting and going to the market, while my husband watches the children. I can only breastfeed my youngest child in the morning and at dusk. This is what I do every day – except today when I have come here for the food distribution [she smiles]. I have no other way of coping in this crisis. I have no education, no friends or family in town who can help us with money or provide collateral for loan. We have no livestock – not even a chicken. Fortunately there is a water spring nearby where we can still get drinking water. My husband was responsible for working the land, but now he has nothing to do. In addition to the support we get from the government and from CARE, we support each other in the village. We don’t let the poor die. We borrow from each other and remember the kilos.”

Along with food distribution, CARE works with families to develop farming practices coupled new planting techniques with efforts to improve crops to grow in dry conditions. At the same time, CARE helps create new job opportunities for women so they are able to afford food to feed themselves and their families. CARE also supports local initiatives such as cereal grain banks in the Sahel to help communities during prolonged periods when staple crops are not abundant and prices rise to unaffordable levels.

We need your support to continue to be able to provide life-saving aid to women like Kimiya and their families in Ethiopia.