As Ethiopia continues to undergo political transformation and democratization, conflict related displacement is reaching unprecedented numbers. As of March 2019, 3 million people, including 1.6 million children, were displaced; and Ethiopia has the second highest number of refugees and asylum seekers in Africa at 920,000. The peace agreement signed with Eritrea led to more than 14,000 new arrivals between September and October 2018, and a continued influx is expected for 2019. Refugees and internally displaced persons, particularly women and girls, require additional protection from gender-based violence, exploitation and intimidation. Protection monitoring remains limited in Ethiopia. Seasonal climate-related floods and droughts continue to affect specific regions, compounding acute food insecurity, malnutrition and water shortages, mostly in pastoral and highland areas.
Throughout Ethiopia, nearly 8.86 million people, including 4.89 million children, require food assistance and 503,696 children require treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Disease outbreaks, including measles and acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), pose an ongoing threat. The limited number of operational partners, insecurity and inaccessibility due to poor infrastructure continue to hamper humanitarian assistance.
UNICEF is focusing 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 has prioritized drought affected areas, providing assistance to people in need and hard-to-reach populations. This is being done through UNICEF's eight field offices,
UNICEF-supported mobile teams, and by leveraging its cluster leadership role to prioritize partners resources and interventions. UNICEF's nutrition and health response focuses both on life-saving services and prevention, system/capacity strengthening including detection and treatment of SAM, prevention and treatment of disease through provision of essential medicines, strengthening response systems and capacity of healthcare providers. The water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) response focuses on both emergency services and resilient water and sanitation systems.
UNICEF is investing in mitigating and preventing gender-based violence to address the protection risks, particularly for girls.
Through the Ministry of Education and regional education bureaus, UNICEF is advocating for flexible and accelerated access to education for displaced children. In line with the New Ways of Working and the Grand Bargain commitments, UNICEF is establishing and strengthening new and existing partnerships to invest in durable solutions, resilience and capacity development.
Results from 2019
As of 31 March 2019, UNICEF had US$20.1 million available against the US$143.5 million appeal (14 per cent funded) . UNICEF reached nearly 900,000 people with lifesaving interventions. Direct humanitarian assistance was provided to people affected by conflict-related displacement along four regional borders, as well as floods and disease outbreaks, including AWD, measles and yellow fever. UNICEF continued to assist Eritrean, Somali and South Sudanese refugees. Nearly 890,000 people accessed safe water, 69,000 women and children under 5 years accessed essential maternal and child health services and 25,000 children were admitted for malnutrition treatment. Support was provided in early detection, efficient surveillance systems, rapid and coordinated response mechanisms and messaging for controlling AWD cases. UNICEF co-led the nutrition, WASH and education clusters and child protection sub-cluster, 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 undertake seasonal assessments. Critical funding gaps, especially for education response, led to low achievement against planned targets. In addition, due to incomplete partner reporting for some of the results progress is under reported and will be reflected in the second quarter of the year.