Surviving Recurrent Droughts: Ibrahim’s Story

Wednesday 7 April 2021

Ibrahim Mohammed (55) is a father of nine who lives in a small rural village called Abitu in Ethiopia. 

Ibrahim is a pastoralist. His family’s livelihood is based on animal rearing. He used to own four cattle but lost two of them due to a recent drought in the area.  Ibrahim, not unlike any other pastoralists in the area, relied solely on his livestock for his and his family’s sustenance. Milk was the most important component of his family’s daily meals. It also served as a financial means when He sold some of it to buy other food items.  However, all this had became a thing of the past as most of the water sources in the area had dried up. Nowadays, animals had to travel up to 30kms and more for their grazing as well as drink needs. The droughts,  which had now started occurring concurrently, killed half of Ibrahim's cattle stock and those that remain try to survive on market purchased maze. Ibrahim’s money as well as cattle herd is dwindling with each passing day and he fears the worst for the future as he anticipates being unable to buy any maze for his cattle.

Ibrahim’s story in his own words:
I survived with a small livestock for many years, I used to sell the milk and had earned an income of 200 birr per day. Lately, such kind of income is unthinkable since I had lost all but two of my cattle. Many families have fled to the nearby town seeking support from their relatives, and I don’t know what had become of them since then.” 

The water shortage is worse than ever. We used to have nearby water resources where we get our drinking supplies. We also used to take our cattle there so that they can drink their fill. It was also useful for our cooking and cleaning needs. It usually rains during this season, but it’s uncharacteristically dry this year. So, what little water we have is diminishing at an alarming rate. We hardly has enough water for our needs let alone our cattle. So we travel as far as 30 kilometers to get our cattle a drink of water. Furthermore, the plants are also dying out since we’re not getting enough rain in the area. so, the cattle doesn’t have anything to graze on and we have to travel in search of that as well. The commute is very hard on the cattle so their number is dwindling with each passing day as they drop off dead due to exhaustion or dehydration. 

I try to feed my cattle with some market bought maze but I fear that it won’t be something I can do for long.  I neither have the money nor the resources to keep it up.  Nonetheless, I can’t just sit idly by while my cattle die one by one so I will do as much as I can to prolong their life since their life dictates our own as well. 

What is Save the Children doing to help IDPs in Moyale area? 

Having a long presence in the area since day one, Save the Children has been working with key partners to assess the situation and respond accordingly.  So far, Save the Children has managed to reach more than 10,000 households with its multi-sectoral intervention targeting IDPs.  through its ESNFI and WASH support. Save the Children is planning for continuation of health and nutrition services in the near future complemented by Emergency WASH intervention. It plans to start mobile health and nutrition programs in the affected areas in the near future.