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Ethiopia: Humanitarian Response Situation Report No.19 (November 2018)

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Ethiopia
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Govt. Ethiopia
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This report has been prepared under the auspices of the Federal Disaster Risk Management Technical Working Group, co-chaired by the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) and OCHA with participation of cluster co-chairs (Government Line Ministries and Cluster Coordinators). It covers the period from 1 October to 15 November 2018.

Highlights

  • Despite the general good performance of the spring rains and the projected food production, the number of people targeted for relief food and cash support in the second half of 2018 remains largely unchanged mainly due to the significant spike in internal displacement resulting from inter-communal violence in various pockets of the country.

  • Communal clashes continued to be reported since the release of the HDRP mid-year review, resulting in large scale displacements, civilian injuries and deaths, as well as damage of properties and of public infrastructure.

  • Unless additional funds are sourced, pipeline of critical supplies risk breaking and humanitarian partners risk pulling out from hotspot areas, discontinuing lifesaving activities.

  • While responding to the immediate life-saving needs of existing and emerging crisis, the Government has also been seeking durable solutions to address protracted displacements, or to prevent one from developing, where and when possible.

Situation Overview

Government and partners responding to conflict displacements amidst funding shortfall

The belg/spring (mid-February-May) rains generally performed well in most parts of the country this year, and the harvest is projected to be near average according to FEWS NET food security outlook1 (October 2018-May 2019). In a normal year, this would have led to a reduction in the number of relief food beneficiaries during the second half of the year. However, despite the general good performance of the rains and the projected food production, the number of people targeted for relief food and cash support in the second half of 2018 remains largely unchanged mainly due to the significant spike in internal displacement resulting from inter-communal violence in various pockets of the country. The 2018 Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP) mid-year review released in early October reflects these changes in the humanitarian context. Some 7.95 million people are targeted for relief food/cash assistance, while 9.45 million people require non-food support nationwide until the end of the year. The HDRP is currently facing a gap of $478 million. Localized clashes continued to be reported since the release of the mid-year review, causing large scale displacements, civilian injuries and deaths, as well as damage of properties and of public infrastructure.

At least 1.4 million people were displaced by conflict in 2018, of which nearly 1 million are in Gedeo-West Guji alone. One of the newest waves of displacement, and not included in the HDRP mid-year review, occurred following a 26 September 2018 incident where four high-ranking Benishangul Gumuz state officials were ambushed and killed in Oromia, near the regional boundary. The following day, inter-communal violence erupted in Kamashi zone (Benishangul Gumuz region) between the Gumuz community and the “highlanders residing in the area. This resulted in displacement, deaths and injuries. Security forces were deployed to prevent the escalation of violence, but Kamashi zone – the epicenter of the violence – remains inaccessible for humanitarian actors due to insecurity, except with armed escort. Given the highly volatile situation and access constraints, the exact number of people displaced has yet to be verified. But it is estimated that at least 240,000 people were so far displaced inside Benishangul Gumuz region (15,000 in Oda and 42,000 in Kamashi zones), and across the border in Oromia region (101,000 in East Wollega and 81,000 in West Wollega). Prior to the escalation of inter-communal violence and displacements in 2018, there were at least 1,073,764 people displaced mainly due to violence between the Oromos and Somalis over territory and access to resources since 6 September 2017.

Humanitarian partners responding to new needs by diverting resources from other emergency responses

At present, the Government and humanitarian partners are conducting regular situation and needs assessment and are providing basic life-saving assistance, where access and resources allow. Humanitarian response coordination structures were also established or strengthened to address the conflict displacement crisis. The response to new needs are highly limited due to resource constraints; and where responses are happening, the resources were largely diverted from emergency responses elsewhere in the country.

Immediate, time-bound priorities: Urgent additional funding is needed to avoid further diversion of resources from other critical humanitarian interventions; Pipeline of critical supplies risk breaking and humanitarian partners risk pulling out from hotspot areas, discontinuing lifesaving activities.

According to the funding gaps reported by sectors, all three food operators (the National Disaster Risk Management Commission - NDRMC, the World Food Program - WFP and the Joint Emergency Operation Program – JEOP) have secured in-kind food commodities, which will enable distribution of a standard food basket until the end of the year. However, NDRMC is facing a $49.1 million resource shortfall for cash transfers to beneficiaries in woredas targeted for cash support.

Meanwhile, WFP requires $2.2 million to procure additional Targeted Supplementary Feeding (TSF) supplies to address moderate malnutrition (MAM) targeting 240,000 IDPs in Benishangul Gumuz region and in East and West Wollega zones of Oromia. UNICEF requires $5million for high energy biscuits (BP5), which are used as break through emergency ration for children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers in the event of sudden onset crisis, and where acute malnutrition treatment needs are temporarily beyond the scope of the routine Community MAM (CMAM) services. WHO requires $2.3 million to improve the service quality and management of serious complications associated with SAM in 59 targeted stabilization centres in priority woredas of Somali, SNNP and Oromia regions. Meanwhile, without additional funds, NGO nutrition operation will phase out in 81 Priority 1 woredas by the end of December and an additional 50 (total of 131) by the end of January, discontinuing lifesaving activities. The estimated cost of NGO continued/new support from December 2018 through May/June 2019 is $13 million.

The Agriculture Sector is advocating for strengthening Pillar 1 of the HDRP (prevention and mitigation) and prioritized resilience interventions across the regions at a cost of $8 million, given that improved agricultural resilience can avert the loss of lives due to food insecurity, malnutrition and loss of livelihoods. The sector also requires $67 million for preparedness and response (Pillar 2), including for crop, forage and vegetables seed distribution targeting 0.4 million households in areas where the 2018 planting season is still viable; livestock feed provision for 0.7 million households to strengthen their livestock body mass, reproduction and milk production; and for additional animal health support (vaccination, treatment and veterinary equipment) for 1.8 million households. Animal heath support is vital prior to the dry season to keep the livestock healthy until the next rainy season.

Other sectors are facing several challenges to meet the escalating needs and to adapt to the rapidly changing priorities. (see detailed sector highlights below).

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.