Mar 31, 2016

Community responds to the ongoing record drought due to El Nino

slop terracing in atebes_1
slop terracing in atebes_1

Dear Supports,

The focus of the quarter has been on responding to the current drought due to el nino. The summer rainfall in the village has been very disappointing. If it was not for the safety net program of the country there could have been famine. In the villag of Atebes there were only 6 adequate rainfall days in the summer leading to the collapse of agriculture.

As reported earlier, the water harvesting systems the project developed have been very useful as storage of water relief coming from the government. The two 20,000-liter capacity roof water harvesting system in the church are cleaned and serving as collection of drinking water being delivered by trucks. The 65 cubic meter concrete surface water harvesting tank is being used to store water form the trucks for animals.

Another important activity by the community and the local development agents is the construction of soil and water conservation systems on the slops. This is to help any rain in the futue to be recharged and capture the soil that is often eroded. This will contirbute to future soil fertility and imrpoved stream system for the people.

Again, we will keep you updated about our activities in the future.

Thank you for your support and for becoming change agents.

slop terracing in Atebes_2
slop terracing in Atebes_2
terracing in atebes, tigray, ethiopia
terracing in atebes, tigray, ethiopia
the 2015 drought affected surface water harvesting
the 2015 drought affected surface water harvesting
people fetching water from the water harvesting
people fetching water from the water harvesting
waiting for water brought by tankers
waiting for water brought by tankers
more terracing in atebes
more terracing in atebes
Dec 23, 2015

Project benefits in the face Super El Nino

The apple have given fruit
The apple have given fruit

Dear partners,

Sorry for the delayed report. I wanted to share an original and personal information directly from the field.

I arrived at the project site on Sunday December 20 and stayed for two days. I visited the pilot project and was dismayed to see an empty surface reservoir. When I asked why it is not full 4 months after the end of the rainy season, the adults told me that in July and August there were only 6 days of rainfall. Those rains were not even strong. They added that any water that is in the reservoir was a left over from water collected before the rainy season. Fortunately, the apples in the pilot project are in hibernation and none of them have dried.

The 2015/16 super El Nino that is making havoc around the world drives the drought in Ethiopia. Ethiopia not is in a disaster management mood. Food is being imported and tankers are distributing water. The infrastructure developed by the Ethiopian government has made it ready to manage the crisis. For example the new railroad from the port city of Djibouti to Addis Ababa has enabled the imported food to be distributed to the people very efficiently.

The infrastructure of the pilot project was found to be handy to be filled with water being freely distributed and stored. While other villages have to wait for the tanker to get their water into the containers and water until the next arrival, the people in the village of Atebes have cleaned up the two plastic tankers to be filled with water. They are now ready to clean the surface water harvesting concrete tanker to be filled with three tankers. The people are now more excited that the first time the project constructed the tankers to water the apples in the demonstration site.  All the streams in the village have dried except the one with in situ water harvesting system the project constructed.

Another good story I want to share is that several farmers have witnessed the increased production in apples. Some have harvested 80 apple fruits while other has harvested forty or fifty fruits. I ate one apple from one tree after being offered and found it very tasty.

Again thank you and congratulations for your contribution. Usually, unintended consequences are negative. In the case of our project the untended consequences the development of an infrastructure that contributed to the reduction of vulnerability and support for drought risk management. Please keep on doing the great job and thank you for your support. Any support you give to this project going to strengthen the capacity of the people to cope with any disaster impacts including the 2015/16 Super El Nino.

Merry X-mass and Happy New Year

tankers being used for water distribution
tankers being used for water distribution
empty reservoir will be filled by water tankers
empty reservoir will be filled by water tankers
I tasted the apple and it was delicous
I tasted the apple and it was delicous
Sep 14, 2015

The 2015 El Nino might challenge our success

Aridity during th rainy season
Aridity during th rainy season
  • Several institutes from NOAA to the Australian Weather Bureau are releasing information that the 2015 El Nino will be much stronger than that of the 1997/98 El Nino. The Effect of El Nino is felt locally either in the form of abnormal rainfall or extreme drought. I have received reports from the project area that extreme drought has been felt in the village. According to our volunteer, Amanuel Gebru who visited the village ten days ago he stated that “Speaking about the rainfall situation- the project area is severely affected by the current drought impact. There were only three days of rain each month since the beginning of the rainy season in June, July and August.” He added that “cereals are in the field are getting wilted” and farmers waiting for at least two rains in order to have at least minimum harvest and avert total crop failure”.
  • The check dams for in situ water harvesting have done great but they need to be raised so that they can trap more sediment and moisture, Amanuel added. However, the treated stream is much better than the other springs that have already dried due to the poor rainy season in the village. Spring flow is very low due to the aridity due to the failure of the rainy season. There is fear that the spring might not serve them more than three months unless they receive rain in the mean time. The water flow in the small gully down the spring is lower than last year at the same time as the photos by Amanuel Gebru (below) show.
  • Based on the observation obtained about the apple trees especially in farmers’ field are started harvests ranging from 5-50 fruits per trees on average. Though they didn’t sell the fruits due to lack of access to the market they are adding new food variety to their diet. Our volunteer states that the use of clay pots to grow temperate fruits is a success and has impacted the community.
  • Dear supports: Immediate action is needed to harvest any rainfall that might come out side the main season such as in October as happened in the 1997/98 El Nino even. Thank you for your continued success.
There should have been more water than this
There should have been more water than this
Optimism  due to the maturity of the apple fruits
Optimism due to the maturity of the apple fruits
Ato Hailemariam around the houshold apple
Ato Hailemariam around the houshold apple
Amanuel Gebru with Ato Hailu and Ato Hailemariam
Amanuel Gebru with Ato Hailu and Ato Hailemariam
 
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