Analysis of drought in Ethiopia based on Nile River flow records

Misganaw Demissie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The drought in Ethiopia has been in the news off and on since the early 1970s. Even though localized drought and famine in Ethiopia have been reported many times over the years, the 1972-73 famine was the first major crisis related to drought in Ethiopia in recent times. After the 1972-73 famine and the subsequent international relief efforts, it was expected that conditions would return to normal after the rains came. However, the conditions did not improve significantly enough for an appreciable period of time for the people to recover completely before they were hit with another major drought. That was the widely publicized 1982-83 drought and famine, which were followed by unprecedented international relief efforts to help the famine victims. A similar situation is being repeated in 1987-88. The Nile River flow records show that the previous droughts (1972-73 and 1982-83) and the present drought (1987-88) in parts of Ethiopia are all part of a long-term drying period that started in the mid-1960's. With the exception of four years, the flow of the Nile River has been below normal since 1965. It is very difficult to predict whether the reduction of flows in the Nile River is due to a permanent change in climatic conditions for the region or part of an extended dry period of a type not experienced since reliable flow records have been kept for the Nile River. Even if the region recovers from this extended dry period in the near future, it is unlikely that the recovery will take place in a short period of time as before, but rather over a much longer period. -from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)158-168
Number of pages11
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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