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News Analysis: Borana Zone of Oromia region reports over 4000 cattle deaths due to shortage of rain

Over 4,000 head of cattle have died so far and more than 9,000 are at risk of dying. 

By Getahun Tsegaye @GetahunTsegay12

Addis Abeba, October 12/2021 – More than 4,000 cattle have died in the Borana Zone of Oromia region due to shortage of bi annual rain. Residents of the Borana Zone of Oromia region told VOA Amharic that cattle have died because of shortage of rain  in the fall and winter seasons.

Residents complained that deaths have been occurring since the occurrence of the drought claiming thousands of cattle in various parts of the zone. The Borana zone livestock bureau, on the other hand, said over 4,000 head of cattle have died so far and more than 9,000 are at risk of dying. 

Fukaro Goru is a resident of Arero Woreda in Borana Zone who said, “Because it didn’t rain the past few months, many cattle have been dying in many areas of the zone.” He added, “Twice a year, in March and August, we used to get rain. Currently, we’re not getting enough rain which has caused the death of many cattle. In all woredas of the Borana zone, there is no rain, grass and the land is very dry. People are very terrified.”

So far we haven’t seen any support from the government.

Fukaro Goru, a resident of Arero Woreda in Borena Zone

Fukaro said that he witnessed the death of more than a hundred cattle that belonged to his neighbor because of this drought. “So far we haven’t seen any support from the government,” he said.

Kassim Guyo (PhD), head of livestock development bureau of Borana zone explained that the absence of rain for the past two seasons was the major cause of the damages. “More than 4,000 cattle have died so far,” he said. Kassim recalled that the zone notified  the Oromia regional state livestock and fisheries agency of the situation over a month ago. 

According to Kassim, the highest cattle death score is registered in Baltale Woreda where more than 1,486 cattle died. He added that 992 cattle died in Delo Woreda, 496 in Muro woreda, 219 in Arero, 216 in Guchi woreda, and 118 in Yabello woreda. He explained that a total of 4,164 cattle have died from 1,916 households. 

“Unless it rains or necessary aid is provided, more than 9,000 cattle are at risk of dying,” Kassim said while disclosing that his office is still waiting for the response. “Because the situation was not handled timely, the catastrophe is increasing from day to day,” he underscored. 

Liban Kebede, the head of Borena zone disaster prevention and preparedness bureau, stated that his office is working to engage NGOs based in the zone to address the situation. “Our zone has more than Six million cattle, most of which we cannot provide with food” he added, “The Oromia regional government is working to save 10% of the total cattle which are highly productive. By engaging the NGOs, we distributed fodder to  Five woredas.

Contrary to an earlier report by Addis Standard that revealed that Four deaths occured in the region related to shortage of food, Liban insisted that there was no harm to human lives resulting from this drought. He also added “Our bureau is carrying out a diligent follow-up on the matter.”  

On her part,  Amina Abdurahman (PhD),  the head of Oromia regional state livestock and fisheries agency confirmed that the regional government was aware of the drought in the Borana Zone. “The regional council has approved the budget allocated for fodder but the purchase is awaiting paperwork.”  She added, “ A committee composed of professionals is set up to research the type of fodder as well as suitable solutions.” promising, “The process will be completed soon and fodder will be made available in less than a week.”

Residents of the Borena zone who spoke to Addis Standard said that food aid by humanitarian agencies was not consistently delivered for the past two years in the arid areas of the zone where the largely pastoralist community is suffering from food insecurity related to drought and shortage of fodder. An administrator of one of the woredas in the zone admitted to Addis Standard  the obstruction of aid by local officials, “We investigated the issue and took measures against the perpetrators. We addressed the issue by holding responsible those who took part in obstruction.”AS

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