CHANGES IN CONTEXT
The Government and humanitarian partners are dealing with the triple challenge of drought impact in the eastern and south eastern parts of the country, localized flooding and the still significant humanitarian and recovery needs of IDPs, returnees and host communities. The drought has already caused many poor households to deplete their food stocks earlier than normal and have stalled the recovery of livestock assets; floods have displaced communities and destroyed livelihoods; while the still dire conditions of IDPs and returnees require urgent scaled up humanitarian and recovery support. Meanwhile, ongoing insecurity and active hostilities in some parts of the country, notably Western and Southern Oromia region, continue to worsen the humanitarian situation in the area amidst impeded humanitarian access.
The humanitarian landscape of Ethiopia continues to be dominated by challenges posed by intercommunal violence and the resultant mass internal displacements (IDPs). New needs have emerged immediately after the launch of the 2019 HRP as a result of new displacements, and the food beneficiary figure had already been revised upwards from 8 million to 8.5 million for the first two relief food rounds.
Assessments have identified 3.2 million IDPs (2.6 million conflict-induced, 500,000 climate-induced, and 72,000 from other causes) as of April 2019.
Although spontaneous as well as organized returns have been registered since August 2018; the largest Government-organized return operation in May 2019 was unprecedented. According to Government, 2.1 million IDPs were returned, and IDP camps were decommissioned. However, returnees in some areas are still not fully back in their homes, have not resumed their livelihood and have no adequate access to basic services. Their dire living conditions as a result of the insufficient support provided, beyond the limited shelter and food assistance, and the vulnerability especially of women and children to gender-based violence, exploitation and abuse remains a concern.
Urgent and scaled-up humanitarian assistance is required pending livelihood recovery. Ongoing support need also be provided to IDPs that opted not to return. The condition of the host communities has equally deteriorated after having shared their meager resources for more than a year.
Meanwhile, ongoing insecurity and active hostilities in some parts of the country, notably Western and Southern Oromia region, continue to worsen the humanitarian situation in the area and to impede humanitarian access. Ongoing localized inter-communal tensions present risk for further displacements.
While Ethiopia was spared significant climate-related calamities in 2018, the country is dealing with the impact of extreme weather variability in 2019 with some areas experiencing drought, while others are impacted by flooding. Floods up to July have affected 271,000 and displaced over 81,000 people. Heavy rainfalls during the 2019 summer/kiremt (JuneSeptember) rainy season are likely to cause flash and/ or river floods in low laying areas.
Meanwhile, the current Horn of Africa drought is affecting the eastern and south eastern lowlands of the country as a result of delayed and sub-optimal 2019 spring (mid-February-May) rains. Consequently, crop planting was delayed or missed, while pasture and water sources were not replenished. The effects of the drought are being felt in most of Somali and pastoralist areas of Oromia and Afar regions. Reports of deteriorating food and nutritional security, water shortages and worsening livestock body conditions and livestock deaths have increased, while concerns are rising over pipeline breaks in emergency supplies and interruption of life-saving operations due to funding shortfalls. Some of the drought-affected areas are also hosting IDPs and returnees.
The humanitarian landscape of the country is further exacerbated by disease outbreaks such as measles and cholera, stretching the meager Government and partners’ resources and adding another layer of complexity. At least 1,180 suspected and 44 confirmed cholera cases and 8,201 suspected measles cases were reported across the country as of 5 September 2019. Food insecurity and malnutrition coupled with disease outbreaks and weakened immunity and vulnerability after over a year in displacement in over-crowded and sub-standard living conditions have increased the risk of morbidity and mortality of affected communities.