April 22, 2010

ETHIOPIA: When the rains don't come on time

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NAIROBI, Kenya / Integrated Regional Information Networks - IRIN News / April 22, 2010

JOHANNESBURG, 22 April 2010 (IRIN) - Rain rules the lives and wellbeing of rural people in most developing countries: it determines whether they will have enough to eat, be able to provide basic necessities and earn a living, but climate change has made rainfall more erratic in many parts of the world.

"What is scary is how fast things have been changing in the last 20 years," said Abba Ayalew Tegene, 83, a farmer in northern Ethiopia quoted in a report released on Earth Day, 22 April, by development agency Oxfam, which found that rainfall patterns were often changing faster than people could adapt.

"We used to be able to grow all kinds of crops, but when the rain started becoming short and unpredictable, we switched to potato that grows fast with less rain ... This year, the rain was even shorter and the land refused to give us even potato – what are we to do?"

Drought in Ethiopia's Ogaden region. Photo: Gijs van ‘t Klooster/FAO

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The Oxfam report, The Rain Doesn't Come on Time Anymore: Poverty, Vulnerability, and Climate Variability in Ethiopia, explored how people viewed changes in rainfall and their impact.  [rc]

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