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Cattle Dying as Seasonal Rains Fail in Parts of Ethiopia

Seasonal rains have failed to materialize in some parts of Ethiopia, causing deaths of many cattle and other animals, officials and residents said on Monday.

While the government is not calling the situation in parts of northern, northeastern and eastern Ethiopia a drought, the impact is taking a toll.

Adamu Kebede, a truck driver, told The Associated Press he has seen hundreds of cattle lying dead along the main road that stretches from the Addis Ababa to the Afar Region’s capital, Semera. He said he has also seen dozens of trucks unloading emergency food aid.

The government said it is stockpiling food to prevent a shortage.

“The government has enough food stock and it is assisting farmers to continue their farming practices with improved seed items and drought-resistant crops,” Wondimu Filate, a spokesman for the Agriculture Ministry, told AP.

Impacts of climate change often weigh heavily on Ethiopia’s smallholder farmers.

Rain-fed agriculture is the primary driver of the Ethiopian economy, contributing to nearly 45 percent of the country’s GDP and employing 85 percent of its population.

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