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In 1984, a massive humanitarian operation was launched in response to famine in Ethiopia. Thousands of lives were saved. Twenty-five years on, as droughts become dangerously common, we have to look beyond the traditional ‘band-aid’ responses. For Ethiopians it is more sustainable and dignified to identify and tackle the risk of disaster rather than simply waiting for disaster to strike. This approach is also a more cost-effective way for Northern countries to meet their responsibilities. However, Disaster Risk Management remains small-scale. This has to change. Ethiopians on the frontline of climate change cannot wait another 25 years for common sense to become common practice.

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