News: Officials in SNNP region warn prolonged drought in Konso zone at alarming level

Shelter for communities displaced by the impact of ongoing drought in Konso. Photo: Konso Communication Office

Addis Abeba – Regional authorities in Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regional state warned that the persistent drought the Konso zone has threatened the lives of many.

The area has not received sufficient precipitation for over four consecutive years, according to the Konso Zone.

The SNNP region’s disaster risk management task force including the region’s deputy President Gelgelo Gelsho visited the drought and violence-affected people of the zone, according to statement.

“The drought situation has reached a critical point, rivers in the zone have all dried up, and an immediate solution is needed,” the statement quoted Gelgelo Gelsho as saying.

People and livestock are dying of shortage of food and fodder on daily basis, according to the communications department. Adding that despite the assistance being provided by the zonal safety-net development program and other stakeholders, the problem still remains alarming.

The Konso zone is among the volatile areas prone to inter-communal clashes in the SNNPR. In April 2022, some 37,000 people have fled the Segen Zuria and Sagan districts of the zone due to the communal clash erupted between the Konso people and the bordering Ale special district. The volatile security situation, particularly in Segen Zuria Woreda, hindered provision of humanitarian assistance, it was reported.

In July last year, local authorities in Konso zone confirmed the death of at east 13 children due to hunger as drought and conflicts continue to affect the area. The number of malnourished children in the district was also growing, with more than 240 of them admitted to hospitals already.

In neighboring Borena zone of the Oromia regional state the impact of the drought is also taking toll leaving more than 800,000 residents of the zone in need of immediate food assistance.

UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said between June and December of 2022, South-Eastern part of Ethiopia, including Somali, Oromia, and the Southern Nations and Nationalities People’s region (SNNPR), experienced one of the worst droughts recorded in the Horn of Africa, impacting 12 million people. AS

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