Ethiopia has a high degree of risk to hydro-meteorological hazards and natural disasters. Vulnerability is exacerbated due to the country’s high level of poverty and its dependence on key sectors most likely effected by climate change: agriculture, water, tourism, and forestry. While the country is at high-risk to natural disasters such as flooding as well as drought, its topographic diversity and highly marginalized segments of the population, make it additionally vulnerable.  Additional, non-climate stressors such as inadequate infrastructure to handle the increasing population are also impacting the vulnerability to natural disaster sensitivity and climate change vulnerability.

This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. And it allows quick evaluation of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.

Natural Hazard Statistics

The charts provide overview of the most frequent natural disaster in a given country and understand the impacts of those disasters on human populations.


Climate change is now recognized to have a significant impact on disaster management efforts and pose a significant threat to the efforts to meet the growing needs of the most vulnerable populations. The demands of disaster risk management are such that concise, clear, and reliable information is crucial. The information presented here offers insight into the frequency, impact and occurrence of natural hazards.

Natural Hazard / Development Nexus

Understanding natural hazard occurrence as well as historical climate conditions, in relation to development contexts, is critical to understanding a country’s historical vulnerability. This tool allows the visualization of different natural hazards or historical climate conditions with socio-economic and development datasets. Select the Development Context and either a Natural Hazard or Climate Condition and overlay horizontally by sliding the toggle left or right to gain a broader sense of historically vulnerable areas.



Data presented under Historical Climate Conditions are reanalysis products derived from ERA5-Land data. ERA5-Land is a global land-surface dataset at 9 km resolution, consistent with atmospheric data from the ERA5 reanalysis from 1950 onward. Climate reanalyses combine past observations with models to generate consistent time series of multiple climate variables. They provide a comprehensive description of the observed climate as it has evolved during recent decades, on 3D grids at sub-daily intervals. 

This data has been collected, aggregated and processed by the Climate Resilience Cluster of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Earth Observation for Sustainable Development (EO4SD) initiative.

Key Vulnerabilities
  • Ethiopia is exposed to numerous hazards including droughts, floods, volcanoes, and earthquakes.
  • Increasing urbanization in Ethiopia is putting pressure on existing infrastructure as well as scarce available land and an already limited natural resource base.
  • Recurring droughts and floods have the most severe impact on Ethiopia’s population and the country has a long history of recurring droughts, which have increased in magnitude, frequency, and impact since the 1970s.
  • The 2011 Horn of Africa drought left more than 4.5 million people in need of food assistance. These food shortages were caused in part by the widespread death of livestock in the south and south-eastern parts of the country following pasture and water shortages.
  • For Ethiopia’s pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in drought prone areas, increasing aridity and recurring drought conditions present the most significant climate-hazard. Southern and Eastern parts of Ethiopia, including Afar, Somali, Oromia regions, often experience severe droughts and increased water scarcity.
  • The successive drought and frequent floods have had a strong effect on poverty, food security, livelihood status and the human capital of communities. 
  • While droughts have always plagued Ethiopia, their magnitude, frequency and intensity have significantly increased since the 1970s.
  • Flash floods occur regularly throughout the country, particularly after a long dry spell. Floods are occurring with more frequency and intensity across the country due to vulnerabilities imposed by high rates of deforestation, land degradation, increasing climate variability, and urban and rural settlement patterns.
  • Climate change is expected to increase the risk and intensity of flooding as well as increase likelihood for water scarcity for certain areas of the country. The increased likelihood of increased aridity and drought stress is expected to lead to water scarcity in some areas, resulting in increased demand for water, raising and the potential for conflict and biodiversity loss. 
  • Projected trends indicate that through the end of the century there is a likely 20% increase in extreme high rainfall events. 
  • Changing rainfall patterns are expected to play a significant role in agricultural production and harvest seasons, with later onsets expected to impact the production of cereal yields dependent upon the April-May rainfall onsets. 
  • In 2007, the government approved a National Policy and Strategy on Disaster Management, and designed a DRM Strategic Program and Investment Framework for government and donor interventions.
  • Improving capacity to carry out disaster risk analysis.
  • Enhancing understanding of disaster risks and related impacts. 
  • Developing and strengthening building codes, land-use and urban planning, contingency planning. 
  • Establishing disaster risk financing mechanisms.
  • Capacity building support for disaster preparedness and management and post-disaster recovery is also being provided by bi-lateral partners.
  • Integration of DRM criteria into building codes, regulations, and zoning laws is also underway to increase the resilience of education and health infrastructure.