Acute droughts regularly wreak havoc on Ethiopia’s economy. The country has made significant economic progress during the past decade, with government aid programs alleviating poverty levels in rural areas; however, another major drought in this decade—considered the worst in the region in 60 years—caused a severe crisis with long-lasting ramifications for many families and for the country as a whole. Two-thirds of the population lives in severe poverty.
Islamic Relief launched operations in Ethiopia in response to severe droughts in 2000, 2001 and 2002. After years of emergency relief efforts in Ethiopia, Islamic Relief Ethiopia opened in January 2004. Relief teams have implemented long-term development projects that improved access to education, health care, water and sanitation. Islamic Relief also launched several projects aimed at developing livelihood and food security, and strengthening the capacity of local organizations. Ethiopia was also one of several African countries supported by Islamic Relief’s Africa Food Crisis campaign.