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Ethiopia Humanitarian Needs Overview 2020 (January 2020)

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Summary of Humanitarian Needs

Context and Impact of the Crisis

The past three years have seen major changes in Ethiopia’s governance landscape. The transformations, stemming from calls for greater economic and political reforms, upended the political status quo. At the peak of the displacement crisis between January and April 2019, conflict and climate shocks left some 3.2 million people displaced. Internally displaced persons (IDPs), particularly those living in collective sites, experienced deplorable conditions and limited access to basic services, lack of opportunities to rebuild their livelihoods, protection risks, and wider security concerns. While disease outbreaks were reported throughout the country, the risk of communicable disease outbreaks was heightened in IDP collective sites due to crowded conditions, and the lack of water and hygiene facilities. This placed an additional burden on families whose coping capacities were already stretched as well as on existing healthcare facilities in areas hosting IDPs.

Following the release of the Government's Plan to address internal displacement in Ethiopia and the Government’s return operation, over 2.1 million conflict-induced IDPs were returned, integrated and relocated by end May 2019, according to Government sources. However, as of November 2019, partners estimate that close to 2 million persons are facing some form of displacement due to conflict or climate drivers.

The disproportionate impact on women and girls highlights the challenges in addressing the gender gap in Ethiopia, and the unequal distribution of socio-economic burdens which contribute to the country’s fragility. Generally, women have less opportunities than men to engage in income-generating activities. This is also reflected in the disparate effect of protracted food insecurity on women and girls, who are most negatively affected by macro- and micronutrient deficiencies, especially during their reproductive years. Women are primarily responsible for fetching food and water for the family, and with drought, their workload increases. Girls are more likely to drop out of school to help with chores or to be married.

In 2019, erratic and below-normal spring belg/gu/ganna rainfall resulted in water and pasture shortages, poor livestock conditions and contributed to the deteriorating food and nutrition security in lowland areas. In the cropping mid-and highlands, some farmers were unable to plant sorghum due to delayed and erratic rainfall. In some areas, more than half of the sorghum land was switched to summer kiremt season crops. The recent food security analysis conducted for the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) in six regions of Ethiopia indicated that some 8 million people were severely food insecure between July and September 2019. Food insecurity was exacerbated by conflict, that disrupted cyclical livelihood activities. In some parts of the country, conflict impeded timely access to land during key moments of the agricultural cycle while violence and displacement resulted in lost seeds and tools. The subsequent reduction of food supply and increased market demand, distorted food market systems and prices. High prices limited access to food among the poor market-dependent households, compromising their food consumption.

Scope of Analysis

Humanitarian needs are assessed and analyzed throughout the country; there is no geographic limitation or focus.

The analysis of humanitarian needs in this document excludes clients from the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) and the refugees hosted in Ethiopia. Their needs are assessed and addressed respectively through the PSNP and Ethiopia Country Refugee Response Plan.

Humanitarian Consequences

Food insecurity remains a key challenge in Ethiopia, which predominantly affects pastoralist and agro-pastoralist households, with the highest proportion of food insecure people living in Oromia (44 per cent). In 2019, on average more than 30,000 children with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) were admitted for treatment every month. Food insecurity along with disease outbreaks, water shortages, poor sanitation facilities and lack of access to quality health care have resulted in a deterioration of the nutrition situation. These factors also heightened the risk of disease outbreaks and psychosocial distress, with IDPs being particularly vulnerable to both.

Conflict and climatic shocks negatively impacted people’s daily lives, livelihoods and their ability to meet their basic needs. Lack of access to basic services such as education, shelter, healthcare, quality water and sanitation facilities along with food insecurity affected people’s health, wellbeing and personal development, which often resulted in lower productivity and income. Consequently, vulnerable groups, including IDPs, returnees, women and children turned to negative coping mechanisms.

Over the past four years, 3.2 million people have been consistently targeted for relief food assistance. Many of these people reside in areas affected by previous droughts and their needs became chronic. This indicates that the recovery time from previous shocks is longer than the time between shocks. The majority of livelihoods in Ethiopia are linked to climate trends. As a result, climate shocks often result in the loss of productive assets and livelihood opportunities, which in turn impacts people’s income, coping strategies, as well as their physical and mental wellbeing.

Vulnerable population groups such as IDPs, women, children, elderly and people living with disabilities face serious protection concerns, including gender-based violence, rape and sexual violence, and child marriage. In displacement areas, inadequate shelter and lack of gender- segregated WASH facilities expose these groups to many of these risks. There have also been reports of women and girls being attacked while collecting firewood, fetching water, and while returning from food distribution points. Many IDPs do not have their legal identify documents, which are a prerequisite for accessing basic services such as health, education and the justice system. The lack of security and limited access to basic services have stretched the coping mechanisms of affected populations and increased their vulnerability.

Severity of Needs

Over one third of the people in need face several types of challenges and have multiple needs. Some 33 per cent of the people need live in woredas classified with high severity of need, while 4 per cent live in woredas classified with very high severity of need. The higher the severity score of the woreda, the more severe, time-critical and compounded are the needs. At the time of publication of this document, available data indicated that persons with the most severe and compounded needs are found in Hudet, Moyale and Qada Duma woredas in Daawa zone (Somali region) and in Meda Welabu woreda in Bale zone (Oromia region).

People in Need

Some 8.4 million people nationwide are projected to have humanitarian needs in 2020, the majority of whom are in Oromia (3.3 million; 9 per cent of the region population), followed by Somali (2.4 million; 39 per cent of population) and Amhara (1.0 million; 4 per cent of population) regions. Of the 8.4 million people in need (PIN), 74 per cent have acute needs that need to be immediately addressed. The number of people in survival deficit, decreased from 4.48 million in 2019 to 2.8 million persons projected in 2020. The most notable drop in acute needs was found in Oromia region (from 2.66 million to 1.1 million persons).

Overall, most meher-producing areas received normal summer kiremt rainfall, and a normal harvest is expected with the exception of pocket areas of Amhara and Tigray regions where below average rainfall is expected to impact the harvest. Parts of Somali region experienced flooding during October and November. Crop and pasture loss due to desert locust infestations in parts of Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions was considered when calculating the people in need of food assistance in these regions.

Although the conflict IDP crisis has taken most of the attention and resources of Government and humanitarian partners due to its acuteness and severity, the majority of people in need of relief assistance in 2020 remain the ones impacted by climate shocks. The PIN includes 403,000 destitute pastoralists (or climate IDPs) and 2.8 million people with severe food needs because of climate shocks and lack of recovery. Of the conflict-related PIN, 1.2 million persons remain in displacement because of conflict related drivers, while 200,000 conflict IDPs who returned back to their areas of origin are still not able to live in their homes for lack of recovery support.

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