In 2016, the Federal Democratic Republic Government of Ethiopian declared emergency appeal to provide support for more than 400 rural districts (Woredas) with 10.2 million people including nearly 6 million children who are affected by El Niño-induced drought. It was also reported that the drought caused the death of over 400 thousand livestock and displacement of 0.8 million people. One billion four hundred USD was requested to respond to this emergency. Ankober, Berehet and Kewot Woredas of North Shewa Zone, Sekota and Dahna Woeredas of Wag Hemra Zone and Worebabu, Mekdela and Legambo Woredas of South Wollo Zone of Amhara Regional State and Dulecha Woreda, Semurobi Woreda and Argoba Special Woreda of Afar Regional state of Ethiopia were among the 400 districts affected by the drought.
Cognizant of this, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church Development And Inter-Church Aid Commission (EOC-DICAC) prepared & submitted project proposals focusing on emergency assistance to funding partners. Accordingly, EOC-DICAC obtained funds from NCA, DKH, IOCC and DCA (Back donor UN-OCHA) and completed the implementation of Emergency Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in Ankober, Berehet and Kewot Woredas, North Shewa Zone; and Emergency Seed Supply in Kewot, Sekota, Dahna, Worebabu, Mekdela and Legambo Woredas.
Moreover, EOC-DICAC is on the verge of finalizing the implementation of Emergency Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) project activities in Dulecha, Semurobi and Argoba Woredas of Afar Regional state through the funds obtained from ACT Alliance and IOCC.
So far, 2 shallow-wells (in Bereht Woreda), 10 springs (9 in Ankober and 1 Berehet Woredas) and 4 hand-dug wells (1 in Ankober and 3 Berehet Woredas) are providing clean water to target communities in the respective Woredas. These potable water schemes consisted of 10 spring capping, 10 reservoir, 23 water distribution points for humans, 19 cattle troughs for livestock water supply, 16 washing basin and 62.5 km long pipe installation. Moreover, in order to augment the coverage of water supply in the target Kebeles, EOC-DICAC delivered water tanker rottos and in order to make shallow wells and hand dug wells functional EOC-DICAC installed 6 Afridev water pumps.
In addition, EOC-DICAC rehabilitated Menso Water Supply Scheme which was constructed in 2010 by the government. The source of water of this scheme is Menso River. Although this scheme was properly functioning for some years, due to damaged canals, un-sanitized filtration chambers and continued power interruption, the scheme was not providing service to 7,600 people who live in the woreda capital, Metehbila for the last one year. Taking this into account, EOC-DICAC rehabilitated the scheme by maintaining the filtration chamber with selected materials (41 M3 gravel and 52 M3sand) and supplied 500 kg Chlorine, and installed high capacity diesel engine generator to overcome power interruption.
Furthermore, 4,400 m3 water trucking was executed along with the supply of rottos in Kewot Woreda rural Kebeles through the financial support obtained from IOCC. As a result of the emergency WASH response through the above mentioned construction of 17 water schemes and water tracking EOC-DICAC was able to reach 22,800 drought affected people and more than 40,000 livestock in 2016 through creating access to safe drinking water. As part and parcel of the Emergency WASH and to complement water supply efforts and improve hygiene and sanitation of drought affected communities, EOC-DICAC distributed 82,000 Bishangarine Sachets tablets to 1,459 households and 590 Kg chlorine in Ankober and Berehet Woredas in 2016.
EOC-DICAC has also provided appropriate WASH & scheme maintenance trainings to the members of water users committees of the respective potable water schemes in order to ensure the sustainability of water schemes and promote hygiene & sanitation of target beneficiaries. Moreover, DRRM (Disaster risk reduction management) trainings were also provided to various segments of the communities in the target Kebeles of Ankober Woreda.
It is worth mentioning that the contribution of the communities and target Woreda governments was immense in the implementation of the Emergency WASH projects. For instance, in Ankober Woreda for Aygebir Water Supply Scheme alone, communities contributed Birr 160,000 in cash and Birr 800,000 worth free labor. While, Ankober Woreda Government contributed Birr 2.4 million worth pipes for the construction of the scheme. This kind of contributions is believed to create sense of ownership among the beneficiaries and the Woreda Governments and would help ensure the sustainability of the schemes.
In addition to the emergency WASH activities, EOC-DICAC distributed 3,996 quintals of various types of improved and local variety crop seeds worth of Birr 11,225,623 to 13,991 drought affected vulnerable farmers (1,910 female headed households & 12,081 male headed households) in Kewot, Sekota, Dahna, Worebabu, Mekdela and Legambo Woredas of Amhara Regional State. The emergency seed support by EOC-DICAC enabled drought affected farmers, who lost or did not have crop seed due to the 2015/2016 drought, to continue their normal farming by growing crops in the 2016 main rainy season. On one hand, the emergency seed supply helped farmers extricate themselves from the effects of 2015/2016 drought in 2017 through growing crops in 2016 and on the other hand helped them to remain in their areas by engaging themselves in normal farming rather than migrating to other areas. On top of this, it was learnt and beneficiary farmers witnessed that access to emergency seeds created a very good opportunity to effectively utilize the 2016 main rainy season and improved variety seed helped them to harvest more yield per unit area.