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Ethiopia: Humanitarian Response Situation Report No. 20 (January 2019)

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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 December 2018 to 31 January 2019.

Highlights

• Preliminary meher assessment reports indicate that the level of humanitarian needs in 2019 will remain similar to 2018 mainly due to mass internal displacements in various parts of the country, and related humanitarian and protection needs.

• Women and the youth account for 51 per cent of the displaced population in Ethiopia, humanitarian partners are prioritizing gender and youth-sensitive programing in addressing the displacement crisis; also in a bid to prevent secondary movements, including irregular migration.

• Urgent need to scale up response to the inter-communal violence-induced displacement in Benishangul Gumuz-East/West Wollega. Humanitarian partners’ presence in the area remain low and the response slow.

• NDRMC has been distributing relief food supplies to IDPs in Benishangul Gumuz-East/West Wollega zones. As of 24 January, three rounds of food dispatches were made in 15 woredas of East and West Wollega zones; and one round of food dispatch in 6 woredas in Assosa and Kamashi zones.

• Overall, some 11 million people in drought, flood and conflict-affected areas of the country were assisted with at least 558,211Mt of relief food commodities and, with support from DFID, with 1.2 billion birr in cash transfer during the year.

• Humanitarian partners are closely working with Government counterparts at all levels to continue to provide assistance based on needs, including in areas of displacement, as well as in areas where returns have successfully and voluntarily happened.

• Communities affected by recurrent drought impact are unlikely to achieve food self-sufficiency in the immediate future without sustained recovery and resilience building investment.

Situation Overview

The Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan for 2019 is being consolidated; humanitarian needs are expected to remain similar to 2018 The Government-led multi-sector and multi-agency meher needs assessment was conducted from 17 November to 15 December 2018 in all regions, and the results are helping to determine the humanitarian requirements for Ethiopia in 2019. The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), in collaboration with the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), is introducing the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) for the first time in Ethiopia this year. Using data from the meher needs assessment and other sources, the HNO provides severity of humanitarian needs across sectors and geographic locations, and will enable Government and humanitarian partners to collaboratively analyze existing humanitarian information and reach consensus on priority acute humanitarian needs for targeting purpose. The consensus will be reflected in the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), which is also introduced for the first time in Ethiopia this year. The HRP is expected the be officially released in mid-February 2019.

Preliminary meher assessment reports indicate that the level of humanitarian needs in 2019 will remain similar to 2018 mainly due to mass internal displacements in various parts of the country, and related humanitarian and protection needs. The country registered one of the fastest growing internally displaced population (IDPs) in the world in 2018. More than 80 per cent of the at least 3 million IDPs in the country (1/3 of whom displaced in 2018) cited inter-communal violence as the primary driver of displacement. Other displacements are due to protracted drought and seasonal flooding. Women and the youth account for 51 per cent1 of the displaced population in the country, calling for gender and youth-sensitive programing in addressing the displacement crisis such as prevention of gender-based violence, availing education, vocational training and other livelihood opportunities. This is also in a bid to prevent secondary movements, including irregular migration.

Of additional concern are the IDP-hosting communities who will need sustained assistance in 2019. The majority of the displaced population in the country are residing with host communities (37 per cent), which are often themselves vulnerable; or are settled in make-shift camp sites (33 per cent)2 . The unrests have disrupted basic public services and upset livelihoods, contributing to the deterioration of the food, health and nutrition situation in some areas. Even prior to the displacement crisis, there was widespread food insecurity and acute malnutrition in most of the IDP-hosting communities.

Meanwhile, humanitarian needs resulting from direct/immediate drought impact have decreased. The kiremt (July – September) rains in meher harvest dependent areas performed well in 2018. Despite the overall good seasonal rainfall performance, food insecurity and malnutrition remained high in 2018, and will remain so in 2019 due to slow or limited recovery. This is a result of the severe impact of two years of back-to-back (2016/2017) drought, as well as failed rains in pocket areas of the country in 2018, including in central SNNP and eastern Oromia regions and in large parts of south and south eastern Ethiopia where the deyr/hagaya (September-November) rains were drier than normal. Between January and October 2018, at least 280,892 children under-5 were treated for severe acute malnutrition, representing 90.3 per cent of the projected admissions for this period based on the annual target of 370,000. Admissions for acute malnutrition treatment remain high in Somali and Oromia regions. Also during the same period, at least 1 million moderately malnurished children under-5 were treated, representing 64 per cent of the annual target. Even in a ‘normal’, non-drought year, there are approximately 2.2 million moderately malnourished children under-5 and pregnant and lactating women; as well as 300,000 children under-5 who are severely acutely malnurished. According to the meher seasonal assessment and the Household Economic Approach, there are 4.48 million people under the survival threshold. This refers to people whose income does not cover the food and non-food items necessary for survival in the short term. More than half of the food insecure population (under survival threshold) are in Oromia region, followed by Somali (21 per cent), Amhara (7 per cent), SNNP (5 per cent), Afar (4 per cent) and Tigray (3 per cent) regions.

Communities affected by recurrent drought impact are unlikely to achieve food self-sufficiency in the immediate future without sustained recovery and resilience building investment. In pastoralist communities – which are most affected by drought - studies indicate that it will take at least two years for small stock-owning households who have lost at least half of their livestock to fully recover; and in excess of four years if they are cattle-owning households (it takes 9 months for cows to start producing milk, some 18 months for camels and some 5 months for small ruminants). According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET), food security in areas worst affected by the 2016/2017 drought in Somali region will be at Crisis level (IPC Phase 3) during December 2018 and May 2019, similar to areas in northern Afar and lowlands of East and West Hararge zones of Oromia region. Meanwhile, food security is expected to deteriorate from Minimal (IPC Phase 1) to Stressed (IPC Phase 2) in eastern Amhara and Tigray regions. Most of the rest of the country will remain in Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security level until March 2019.

Disease outbreaks such as acute watery diearrhea (AWD), mainly due to poor water and sanitation facilities in IDP sites and in drought and flood-impacted communities were also identified as areas requiring continued prevention and response measures in 2019. According to the latest displacement tracking matrix (DTM 14) covering November-December 2018, 92 per cent of the internally displaced people in the country do not have access to safe drinking water at 5 litres per person per day; while 61 per cent of the IDPs do not have access to sanitation facilities, posing health outbreak risks.

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