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August 2014 Vol. 3 Issue 4

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Global Advanced Research Journal of Social Science (GARJSS)

August 2014 Vol. 3(4), pp. 044-051

Copyright © 2014 Global Advanced Research Journals





The Historical Development of Early Warning Practice in Ethiopia Since 1970s


Birtukan Atinkut


Lecturer at Bahir Dar University, Faculty of Social Science, Department of History




Accepted 03 September, 2014




Ethiopia has experienced a serious of disasters in its history. Despite the prevalence of numerous disasters, there were no disaster management policies and structures prior to the 1970s Ethiopian famine. But responding to disasters has been the characterizing features of Ethiopian governance. After the outbreak of the 1973/74 famine the imperial regime established the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), for reaching out the affected people. In the same year, the Ethiopian National Early Warning System (NEWS) under the RRC was established, to predict the food situation in drought affected areas. Towards the end of the Derg regime, the RRC’s mandate and responsibility was modified and included activities such as stockpiling of adequate foods, so that the impacts of the threatening and impending impacts of famines could be reduced. Moreover, it was also assigned to collect data about deficits and disseminate relevant and accurate information, in advance. However, despite the attempts made so far by the two regimes, the RRC was mainly engaged in post disaster activities. However, the coming of a new government in 1991 made a slight shift from reactive to pro-active approach. Therefore, this paper aims to reflect on the experiences the country has passed through to transform its drought early warning system since the outbreak of the 1973/74 Ethiopian famine. The paper is a review of published and unpublished secondary sources.


Keywords: Early warning, Disaster, Famine, Challenges