▪ In 2018, UNICEF Ethiopia’s Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC), costed at US$123 million, was 47.8 per cent funded, and reached 5.5 million people with life-saving interventions by December (70 per cent of those in need).
▪ Severe ethnic conflicts during the year resulted in large scale internal displacement, bringing the number of displaced to 2.95 million from 1.6 million at the start of 2018.
▪ Lack of access to affected communities, due to insecurity or poor infrastructure, has posed significant challenges to the provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need in 2018.
▪ With UNICEF Ethiopia support, 312,586 children under five were treated for severe acute malnutrition while 4,189 children were reunified with their families or placed in alternative care arrangements.
▪ Despite the complexities and needs in 2018, UNICEF managed to meet most of its targets set in the HAC appeal.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
While 2018 was marked by unprecedented political and economic reforms, the ongoing transformation resulted in increased unrest and conflict across the country creating a complex humanitarian situation. Severe ethnic conflict during the year led to large scale internal displacements, which increased the number of people displaced to 2.95 million1 by December from 1.7 million in February, as illustrated in Figure 1 below. From October to December, newly displaced people in Gedeo Zone of Southern Nations Nationalities Peoples Region (SNNPR) added significant numbers to the total. Given the ongoing context in the country, additional displacements throughout 2019 are expected as the country draws closer to national elections in 2020.
In addition to internal displacement, cross border displacement also occurred. Ethiopians displaced by the conflict in the Oromia region crossed into Kenya, with peak crossings recorded in March and November.
The total number of registered refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia in 2018 reached 919,938. The refugees are largely from South Sudan (422,240), Eritrea (173,879) and Somalia (257,283). There was a large influx of new Eritrean refugees into Ethiopia following the reopening of two border crossing points in September, with a total of 14,107 reported by UNHCR as of 20 October. Additional new arrivals were registered during the year, with 17, 554 people coming from South Sudan and an additional 759 arriving from Somalia.
Apart from conflict, Ethiopia remained vulnerable to the effects of climate change and continued to experience droughts and floods. Repeated disease outbreaks, such as acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), measles and scabies experienced in 2018, compounded by conflict-and climate-induced displacement, highlighted structural weaknesses in the health and sanitation systems. Despite improvements in rains and harvests in the first half of 2018, 7.95 million people required food assistance and 312,586 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) by November 2018.
The national humanitarian appeal (after its mid-year review) stood at more than US$ 1.4 billion, equivalent to about 10 per cent of the Government’s annual budget. UNICEF Ethiopia’s HAC appeal of US$123 million was 47.8 per cent funded, and reached 5.5 million people with life-saving interventions (70 per cent of total people in need).