Drought in Ethiopia

Case study on the 1984 Drought event in Ethiopia, should cover all areas need for the GCSE :)

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  • Created on: 25-03-11 19:31
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Climatic hazard event in a LEDC
Drought, Sahel and Ethiopia, Africa
The Sahel is south of the Sahara Desert
It is an area of semi-arid land
Drought was officially declared in March 1984
Four Ethiopian provinces had record low rainfalls
Causes
Drought occurred because the moist, rainy air at the Equator was prevented from
moving north and reaching the countries of the Sahel.
There had not been the usual spring rains
This happened for several reasons but mainly because of Global warming. The earth is
hotter which means water evaporates quicker
Populations grew which put farmers under more pressure to supply enough food, this
meant fields were over cultivated leaving very little space for animals and very few
nutrients in the soil.
Unsustainable farming
o A low rainfall dramatically reduced crop growth and therefore cattle feed
which meant land was over grazed.
Desertification
o The land is stripped bare by animals and humans; rainfall hits the very dry
ground and takes the fertile top soil with it rather than the water being
absorbed. The land is then useless.
Migration
o People left the infertile soils in search for more fertile land
so they could eat and survive
Mass starvation and dehydration caused over one million deaths
The hot climate, poor immunity and high percentages of
malnutrition meant that diseases such as malaria and skin diseases
spread quickly.
Also many people died from diarrhoea as they did not have the
water to rehydrate themselves.
The Ethiopian government was accused of neglecting its people
and were criticised for their spending on civil war
The western countries, including the UK were reluctant to help at first
By October Ethiopia were desperate and the media got involved shocking the world
with photographs
Oxfam then started the ball rolling by donating £500,000, their largest single
donation. Follow by Live Aid, Band Aid, Sport Aid and Comic Relief

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The UK then sent £5million in just three days
In the end over $250 million was donated
Charities tried to teach farmers new and less harmful ways of farming
o Terracing
Where artificial "steps" are dug into the land, and the land is made
flatter
They reduce water runoff and have reduced water loss by 40%
Soil loss has been minimised to only 3%
o Sand Dams
These are built on the river bed
during the dry season
They then retain any water during the…read more

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