This report is prepared under the auspices of the National Emergency Coordination Center for COVID-19 response, led by the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), supported by OCHA Ethiopia with the participation of Cluster Coordinators. This issue covers the period from 3-18 September 2020.
• As of 18 September, Ethiopia reported 67,515 confirmed COVID-19 cases compared to 54,409 on 2 September. The cumulative number of recoveries has reached 27,638, while the number of deaths has increased to 1072. Cases have risen exponentially in the last two weeks, with Addis Ababa counting a total of 37,265 cases followed by Oromia with 9,617 cases. (Source: MoH/ Ethiopia Public Health Institute, EPHI).
• The Government of Ethiopia, in partnership with a Chinese company (BGI Health Ethiopia), opened a laboratory for manufacturing COVID-19 testing kits to enhance the national testing capacity. Ethiopia has so far conducted more than 1.1 million tests, making it the third African country that has carried out the highest number of tests. The country is struggling with a shortage of testing kits, ventilators, and intensive care beds. Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said during the factory’s opening that the laboratory will produce 10 million testing kits per year, which will be used in the country and exported, with priority given to other African countries. The Prime Minister also announced that Ethiopian researchers have been working to develop a vaccine, which is now entering a laboratory trial stage.
• On 13 September, the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed inaugurated a new field hospital for treatment of COVID-19 patients, which can accommodate 200 patients in severe condition. The Prime Minister announced the commencement of admission of COVID 19 patients who need critical care treatment into the field hospital.
• The Ministry of Education is assessing enrollment capacities, as well as hygienic and sanitation facilities in preparation to re-open schools. At least 2.6 million children, particularly the most marginalized and most vulnerable children, including girls, children in pastoralist areas, and IDPs in camps and camp-like settings require support for safe school re-opening activities. Based on lessons learned from surveys conducted during this pandemic, without educational opportunities, girls particularly in such communities fall victim to child marriage and other forms of violence, while teenage pregnancies and child labor are on the rise.
• Increasing flow of migrant returnees in eastern Ethiopia is stretching the capacity of quarantine sites. According to reports, most sites are full or nearing full capacity. This comes at a time when the Somali Regional Health Bureau reported that it is looking for alternative COVID-19 quarantine and isolation sites following the decision to soon reopen education institutions, as most of the current sites are schools and universities. Similarly in Borena zone (Oromia), quarantine centes are overwhelmed by new arrivals from Kenya and provision of adequate food is becoming an even bigger challenge.
• The first batch of European Union (EU) funded medical supplies worth €60 million arrived in Ethiopia to support the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) member states to tackle the health and socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The medical supplies include 3.5 million surgical masks, 35,000 face shields and 7,000 protective gowns. The total number of items delivered amounts to approximately 60 per cent of the total items provided under the project, which further include 70,000 test kits (including 105,000 swabs), eight (8) mobile labaratories and 24 ambulances. The remaining items will arrive in subsequent weeks. UNOPS, UNICEF, GIZ, IOM and Trade Mark East Africa will implement the program. It will benefit Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia,
Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.
• The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) awarded Pathfinder International US$500,000 for COVID-19 in hotspot areas of Ethiopia aimed to support and address essential health service delivery gaps in Amhara, Tigray, Oromia, and SNNP region. The funds will benefit about 1.5 million people in the regions. (Source: https://bit.ly/3c5ggdI)
• WFP announced a $30.24 million contribution of the Government of Japan to support food needs of communities affected by COVID-19, desert locusts, drought and floods in Ethiopia. The contribution through the National Disaster Risk Management Commission will target the acute food needs of over 1.6 million people in Afar, Amhara, Oromia,
SNNP, Sidama and Tigray regions in the framework of the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan.
• The European Union (EU) provided ETB 86.8 million (2 million Euros) to UNICEF to support vulnerable communities affected by desert locusts in Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali and Tigray regions. The funding is being made available through the EU’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Directorate-General (ECHO) to support the children that have been affected by the combined effects of desert locusts, climate change and the secondary impacts of COVID-19. According to UNICEF the number of children for treatment has increased from the 460,000 children initially planned (including 16,000 refugees) to 570,000 children (of whom 18,400 are refugees).
• The first progress report of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19 was released on July 1 with a requirement of US$ 6.71 billion. The second progress report for the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19 was released on August 31. The funding requirements for COVID-19 response have risen to $10.37 billion out of which $506 million is allotted to Ethiopia. As of September 18, $2.65 billion (25.6 per cent) has been funded. For further updates: https://fts.unocha.org/appeals/952/summary
Humanitarian needs in Ethiopia have increased significantly in 2020 due to COVID-19 and other health outbreaks, the desert locust invasion, conflict and floods. The number of food insecure people requiring assistance has increased from 5.9 million people at the beginning of the year to 11.8 million at mid-year. Similarly, projected malnourished children and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers increased from 3.6 million to 4.4 million. All clusters saw an increase in the number of people targeted for assistance by mid-year. Despite rapidly rising needs, the Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is at its lowest funding level, with a gap of US$876.5 million. The plan requires $1.44 billion to target 15.1 million people with emergency assistance and protection (61 per cent children, 21 per cent women, and 9 per cent people with disabilities). Four critical clusters have received less than 10 per cent of the funding required: Emergency Shelter/NFI (5 per cent); Protection (7 per cent); Education (7 per cent); Agriculture (8 per cent). Despite having to respond to floods, COVID-19 and multiple other vector-borne and water-borne diseases, Health and WaSH are both just 11 percent and 18 percent funded respectively. The Logistics Cluster, which provides vital common services for the entire operation, is just 16 per cent funded. Nutrition is 26 per cent funded, while 49 per cent of emergency Food needs are met. The longer that people are without food, the higher the likelihood of them drifting into malnutrition, particularly children under-5 and pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. Without urgent additional funding, needs will deepen, and women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities, and displaced people will be forced to resort to negative coping mechanisms, which will exacerbate their situation.
In a public statement with the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA), the Health Minister Dr. Lia Tadesse said that in the monthlong nationwide ComBAT campaign, 575,000 tests were conducted in 1,095 woredas and identified more than 37,000 COVID-19 confirmed cases. The number of patients in intensive care units also increased from one per cent to 4.5 per cent, while the death toll jumped from 368 to 550 and the number of recoveries reached 21,000 at end of the campaign.
The Minister blamed the increase in infections on negligence on the part of the public in keeping with COVID-19 pevention measures.
As of September 16, close to 1,017,854 people were affected by floods in Afar, Amhara, Gambella, Oromia, SNNP, and Somali regions, of whom 292,863 were displaced. Houses were destroyed, livelihoods were lost, WaSH and other public infrastructures including schools and crops were damaged. The National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), has supported the regional governments to address the current displacement by providing food, NFI, boats, and helicopter in support of ongoing flood-response operations. The NDRMC and local authorities have called on partners to scale up the humanitarian response for floods affected people. Critical gaps identified include ES/NFIs, boats, and finances to cover the full operation. Response to floods needs is stretching further the limited resources available with Government and partners. According to the newly released joint Government and partners’ National Flood Response Plan (September to November 2020), there is a funding gap of $40.1 million to address all identified needs.
The return of Ethiopians from abroad continues. According to IOM, Ethiopia received more than 31,500 returnees between April 1 and September 18. The majority came from Djibouti (8,292), followed by Somalia (7,198), Sudan (5,994), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (3,569), Kenya (1,434), Kuwait (1,024), Lebanon (750), and other countries. At least 1,885 returnees are currently in quarantine centers. The Government, with support from IOM and other partners, is providing direct assistance to the returnees in quarantine facilities, including registration, food, water, NFIs, and onward transportation assistance.
According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), over 8.5 million people are currently food insecure, including 1.4 million in IPC Phase 4 (Emergency) across seven regions of Ethiopia, despite ongoing humanitarian food assistance. Afar and Somali regions are the most affected with over 20 per cent of their population highly food insecure.
Moreover, it is projected that the period of January- June 2021 will be worse and 11.1 people are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher. These figures exclude the significant number of displaced people and refugees in camps (close to 3 million). In addition to the multiple key drivers of rising food insecurity (displacement caused by conflict, drought, floods, increased food prices linked with the COVID-19 pandemic), Ethiopia is affected by the worst desert locust infestation in the last 25 years and will remain an epicenter of the regional desert locust upsurge through October. (Source: https://bit.ly/2Gh3Y60)