PM Visits Drought-Stricken Borena Zone of Oromia

ADDIS ABABA – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has today visited drought-hit Borena Zone of Oromia region in his second tour to the most affected areas of Southeastern Ethiopia.

Abiy was accompanied by high-level government officials including house speaker Tagesse Chaffor and Oromia Regional State President Shimeles Abdisa.

Three consecutive failed rainy seasons in lowland areas of Ethiopia’s four regions have caused drought, drying up water wells, killing livestock and crops.

Reports say the impact is currently more severe in the southern and eastern Oromia and Somali regions, where some 4.4 million people are facing critical water shortages.

Thursday’s visit to Yabellow district of Borena Zone was intended to “further assess challenges of drought affected communities, said the office of the PM who met residents of a drought-hit Kabribeyah Zone of Somali region nine days ago.

According to his office, rainfall deficits in the area have led to numerous challenges including feed and fodder shortages as well as limited water access.

“As the Horn Region grapples with severe drought, communities like those in Borena, Oromia Region are also gravely affected,” Abiy said after he met with some of the residents there.

“While confronting the climate shock by supporting communities in need in the short term, medium term water development initiatives will enable proactive responses,” he added.

Among the initiatives expected to sustainably address the recurrent drought in the area are small-scale dam projects that are currently under construction, according to government officials.

“Utmost priority is being given to finalize the dams,” in addition to the ongoing provision of aid assistance, Chief Administrator of Oromia region Shimelis told state-run news agency.