Ethiopian Pastoralists May Not Return to Former Life After Drought
Sitting on parched ground pummelled by the sun, a camel looks on majestically as pastoralists mill around it in a whirl of activity. Loaded onto its back are sacks of grains and pulses, yellow jerry cans, bottles of cooking oil, bits of fabric and plastic to make rough bivouac structures, and more.
After a final check of ropes, a woman makes a loud purring noise while gesturing upwards. The camel jerkily stands up, emitting a loud groan. Leading it by a rope, the family rejoins other pastoralists trekking through the Awdal Region abutting Somaliland’s northwestern border with Ethiopia: home for those on the move.
Faced with desiccated pastures in Ethiopia’s Somali Region last November, these pastoralists and many others responded to rumours of rains and good pasture hundreds of kilometres away on the coast of Somaliland, an internationally unrecognised but de facto sovereign nation separate from Somalia.