Gov’t Reaffirms Commitment to Continue Supporting Drought-affected PeopleEarly Warning System that Empowers Pastoralists Launched

Addis Ababa: The Government of Ethiopia will continue supporting drought affected areas and saving the lives of citizens at any cost, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said. Responding to questions by members of the House of People's Representative today, the PM stated that drought has occurred in some parts of Tigray, Amhara, and Oromia, which is not a new trend for Ethiopia. Using the drought as a political tool is not, however, appropriate since it is not the government that brought drought, he noted. Calling for more cooperation to save lives in drought affected areas, the premier recalled that last year's collaboration to support drought affected people living in Borena was exemplary. For the premier, cooperation is crucial to avoid any death due to drought, but using the drought as a political tool is damaging. During the past four months, for example, about 500,000 quintals of grain has been delivered to Tigray region, primarily by the government and some partners, the PM said. The Interim Administration of Tigray has to deliver the limited resources to the ones who needier, the PM added. The government will continue to support the people with all its capability, the premier said, stressing that "we will do our best to help our people to pass such a difficult time." Dismissing the baseless accusation against his government for giving less attention to the matter, he revealed that the government allotted 15 billion Birr for drought victims. Of this, partners contributed only about 4 billion Birr. According to him, the government is primarily prioritizing saving lives and will continue to support people that have been affected by the drought. The premier further noted that there has been no death due to drought so far. PM Abiy also reaffirmed the commitment of his government to continue supporting drought affected areas and save the lives of citizens by giving special priority at any cost. He emphasized the significance of increasing production and productivity to cope with the recurrent drought. Accord ingly, the nation has cultivated 300,000 million hectares of land during the past Ethiopian harvest season and 120,000 million quintals of wheat is expected. Source: Ethiopian News Agency Addis Ababa: The User-Centered Integrated Rangeland and Water Monitoring and Early Warning System in Pastoral Areas of Ethiopia project has launched a system that empowers pastoralists to make informed decisions, better manage risks, and strengthen their resilience against the impacts of climate change. In his opening remark at the launching workshop of the project today, Agriculture State Minister Fikru Regassa said the project comes at a time when pastoralists are struggling to survive under recurrent droughts. Ethiopia's rangelands used by pastoralist and agro-pastoral communities cover approximately 63 percent of the country's land mass. The area has faced a total of eight major droughts in the past 15 years and experiencing the effect of climate change through increased water and forage scarcity and mass livestock death, thereby, causing food insecurity, a severe disruption to pastoralists livelihoods, and displacement of people searching for food. Therefore, the state minister said there is an urgen t need for proactive risk management solutions to ensure their survival; and in response, the ministry alongside both international and local partners, has developed a system that stands as both a technological breakthrough and a point of hope for the pastoralists. According to him, the system is critical for fostering pastoralists livelihood resilience by providing near-real-time information on water and pasture resources. Therefore, the products produced and provided by the system can play a pivotal role in preventing loss of livelihood by providing useful information that allows communities to make informed decision in remote areas. 'The development of an integrated platform that offers timely and personalized information to pastoralists, thereby enhancing livestock risk management practices through a near real-time water and pasture monitoring and early warning system, addresses these needs directly. The products of the project exemplify our dedication to prioritizing the needs of the most vulnerable w ithin our innovation processes.' The system launched today symbolizes more than just technological advancement. It represents the commitment to protecting the environment, economy, and communities. Alliance of Bioversity and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) Research team leader, Sintayehu Alemayehu said the main objective of the project is to provide near real time water, pasture and climate information to livestock producers for risk management, decision making and drought planning. He added that the absence of real time information on water availability has hindered the government to make a timely decision in response to recurrent drought. 'The project that we are currently implementing is called early warning system that has a capability to predict pasture and water availability in the pastoral region of Ethiopia. We are now piloting this project in Borena, Oromia Regional State, one of the highly dominated livestock population, particularly cattle,' the research team leader sai d. The pilot project which runs for the coming two years will be expanded to Somali and Afar regional states, it was learned. Source: Ethiopian News Agency