Drought in Ethiopia

Drought in Ethiopia

After a record harvest in October 2007, Ethiopia settled into a drought. Little rain fell during the October and November rainy season, and rainfall was predicted to be below normal in the March-to-May rainy season as well, said the Famine Early Warning System Network.

The impact of the poor rainfall is evident in this vegetation image, made with data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite between March 5 and March 20, 2008. Areas where vegetation was less healthy or more sparse than average are brown, average growth is cream-colored, and better-than-average growth is green. An arc of brown stretches across central Ethiopia, roughly following the chain of lakes that line the Great Rift Valley.

Ethiopia’s economy is dominated by agriculture; eighty percent of total employment in the country of about 76.5 million people is in agriculture. Food security and famine are recurring problems. In parts of southern Ethiopia, the present drought has extended through three rainy seasons. In these areas, the poor rainfall could lead to widespread, extreme food insecurity, the Famine Early Warning System Network warned. In early March, the United Nations requested four million dollars to provide aid to more than one million people in Ethiopia, reported Reuters.

NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data provided by Inbal Reshef, Global Agricultural Monitoring Project. Caption by Holli Riebeek.

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