Oxfam Ireland Homepage
Hoden Abdi Iwal and her children walking

Caught in the Grip of Drought

Hoden Abdi Iwal's Battle for Food and Water in Gilo, Ethiopia

The Struggle for Livelihood

Hoden's family heavily relies on livestock as a means of sustenance. However, due to the harsh environmental conditions, their once-thriving herd has significantly dwindled. From six cattle and 70 sheep and goats, they are now left with only two cows and 20 sheep and goats. The vulnerability of their livestock further compounds their difficulties.

Failing Crops and Food Shortages

The absence of rainfall has led to the failure of Hoden's crops, which include maize, sorghum, tomatoes, and onions. This agricultural setback severely affects the food security of her family and the entire community. With no crops to sustain them, the situation has escalated into a severe food shortage, resulting in malnutrition among the elderly and children.

Hoden collecting drinking water
Pablo Tosco / Oxfam Intermón

Limited Access to Clean Water

Access to clean water is crucial for survival, yet Hoden and her community face immense challenges in securing this basic necessity. With only a meager supply of water in the local berkad, they depend on unreliable water trucking services. The nearby water tank, constructed by the government, remains inoperative, leaving them in dire need of clean water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes.

Economic Desperation and Migration

Struggling to find wage labour in their drought-stricken region, Hoden's family and many others are forced to travel to other areas in search of any available work. They resort to various means of income generation, such as working as labourers, operating teashops, and making charcoal—often engaging in illegal practices due to limited alternatives. Many individuals have been compelled to migrate to be with more prosperous family members, exacerbating the isolation and desperation of those who remain.

Hoden Abdi Iwal meeting with her neighbours

Hoden Abdi Iwal's heartbreaking story summarises the harsh realities faced by countless families enduring the devastating impacts of drought, failed crops, and economic despair in Gilo, Ethiopia.

The urgency of their situation demands immediate attention and support from the global community.

It is crucial that the challenges of Hoden and others like her, reach the world, compelling humanitarian organisations, governments, and individuals to take action.

We can bring hope to those who feel abandoned and ensure a brighter future for Hoden, her children, and the entire community.

Together, we can make a difference and prevent further suffering in the face of this humanitarian crisis.