Displacement due to conflict is at crisis levels in Ethiopia, and the number of affected people is expected to increase as the country continues to undergo political transformation and democratization. As of October 2018, 2.8 million people,1 including 1.5 million children, were displaced, and Ethiopia has the second highest number of refugees and asylum seekers in Africa at 920,000.2 The peace agreement signed with Eritrea led to more than 14,000 new arrivals between 12 September and 20 October and a continued influx is expected for 2019.3 Refugees and internally displaced persons, particularly women and girls, require protection assistance due to reports of the inequitable distribution of humanitarian resources based on ethnicity, as well as violence, rape and intimidation. Protection monitoring remains limited in Ethiopia. Seasonal climate-related floods and droughts affect specific regions, compounding acute food insecurity, malnutrition and water shortages, mostly in pastoral and highland areas. Throughout Ethiopia, nearly 8 million people,4 including 4.2 million children,5 require food assistance and 370,000 children require treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM).6 Disease outbreaks, including of measles and acute watery diarrhoea, pose an ongoing threat. The limited number of operational partners, insecurity and inaccessibility due to poor infrastructure continue to hamper humanitarian assistance.
In 2019, UNICEF will focus on providing an integrated response to displacement triggered by conflict and seasonal climatic shocks. This includes preventing disease outbreaks, addressing malnutrition and ensuring the centrality of protection in all programme interventions. UNICEF will provide assistance to people in need and hard-to-reach populations through its eight field offices7 and UNICEFsupported mobile teams, and leverage its cluster leadership role to influence how partners prioritize resources and interventions.8 The response will prioritize providing life-saving services, including the detection and treatment of SAM cases and the prevention and treatment of disease by providing essential medicines, strengthening response systems and developing the skills of health professionals. The water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) response will focus on life-saving activities and building resilient water and sanitation infrastructure. UNICEF will invest in mitigating and preventing gender-based violence to address the protection risks faced by refugees and internally displaced persons, particularly girls. Through the Ministry of Education and regional education bureaus, UNICEF will advocate for flexible, accelerated access to education for displaced children. In line with the New Ways of Working and the Grand Bargain commitments, UNICEF will establish and strengthen new and existing partnerships to invest in durable solutions, resilience and capacity development.
Results from 2018
As of 31 October 2018, UNICEF had US$49.1 million available against the US$123.8 million appeal (40 per cent funded).9 UNICEF reached 5.5 million people with life-saving interventions. Direct humanitarian assistance was provided to people affected by conflictrelated displacement along four regional borders, as well as floods and disease outbreaks, including of acute watery diarrhoea, measles and yellow fever. UNICEF also continued to assist Eritrean, Somali and South Sudanese refugees. Planned results were met across all sectors, except in education, due to the 63 per cent funding gap. All sectors revised their targets upward at mid-year to accommodate the number of internally displaced persons, which increased from 1.6 million in January to 2.8 million10 in October. A decrease in the number of acute watery diarrhoea cases is strongly correlated with investments made in early detection, efficient surveillance systems, rapid and coordinated response mechanisms and communication for development initiatives. UNICEF coled the nutrition, WASH and education clusters and the child protection subcluster, providing dedicated full-time support to coordination and information management. Direct technical support was provided to the National Disaster Risk Management Commission to prepare contingency plans and conduct seasonal assessments.