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Ethiopia is a landlocked country in the Eastern Horn of Africa surrounded by Eritrea to the North, Djibouti and Somalia to the East, Kenya to the South and Sudan to its West.


Although at the turn of the century Ethiopia was fighting a bitter war with Eriteria, as a whole it is arguably the safest country in the Eastern Horn. Indeed the UN has based its Headquarters for the Economic Commission for Africa in the country's capital, Addis Ababa, since 1958 in what is widely regarded as Africa's diplomatic city.


One of the major problems that Ethiopia faces is that 78% of the population is without a clean water supply, instead being forced to drink from rivers, streams, lakes and even puddles to survive. These sources are often contaminated and animals can frequently be seen urinating in the same water up stream that people then collect from lower down. The health risks from drinking from an unprotected water source are severe, with water-related deaths occurring incredibly often, as well as Ethiopians suffering from illnesses such as bronchitis, tonsillitis, diarrhoea, vomiting, eye and respiratory infections as well as the deadly malaria on a far too regular occurrence.

A further problem is that even the collection of contaminated water often involves Ethiopians trekking for hours each day. The role of collecting water in Ethiopia is traditionally carried out by women and children, meaning that children often can’t attend school and women risk being raped in rural areas while they carry the water back home.


What makes the situation even more frustrating is that Ethiopia is often referred to as the “green drought” because the landscape is not the parched brown colour that is so familiar in drought situations. Indeed a clean water supply can sometimes be found just metres below the ground but frustratingly, even if the locals dig to collect the water, contamination can still occur. The solution is often simple and involves non-governmental organisations working with the locals to either dig or use machinery to construct a well. The source is then isolated, protected and has small amounts of chlorine added so that fresh clean water can be pumped to the ground usually using a hand-pump. In other situations a spring is found andthis is capped and protected so that fresh clean water can be provided.

58% of people are without access to safe drinking water

Under 5 Mortality Rate:

64 per 1000 births

76% of people are without access to basic sanitation

31% of population's income is less than one dollar per day


Addis Ababa

1.3% of 15-49 year olds living with HIV/AIDS

Population Size:


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