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Ethiopia: COVID-19 Humanitarian impact - Situation Update No. 14, as of 18 October 2020

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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 September 19- October 18, 2020.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ethiopia's cumulative COVID-19 cases reached 89,137, with over 1300 deaths and 42,649 recoveries. Ethiopia is still the fourth country in Africa with the highest number of cases, next to South Africa,
    Morocco, and Egypt.

  • The Ethiopian Ministry of Education (MoE) plans to reopen schools on October 19. The Ministry conducted the first training on safe school re-opening for leaders, professionals, and parents on October 14.

  • More than 200,000 refugee children are out of school in Ethiopia due to COVID-19 pandemic- UNHCR

  • Ethiopia Public Health Institute issues new COVID-19 guidelines.

  • GoE and Germany sign an agreement of 100 million Euros to support COVID-19 response.

  • $3.24 billion is mobilized against the $12.89 billion global appeal for COVID-19 response.

  • GoE and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) launches a USD$305.7 million program for vulnerable farmers.

  • World Bank (WB) approves a $400 million grant for urban poor and disadvantaged urban youth.

  • Over 1.1 million people are affected by floods in Ethiopia- NDRMC.

  • Desert Locust destroys more than 200,000 hectares of cropland in Ethiopia- FAO.

  • European Union (EU) donates nine million Euros towards Desert Locust (DL) response

SITUATION OVERVIEW

As of October 18, Ethiopia reported 89,137 confirmed COVID-19 cases compared to 67,515 on September 18, still making it the fourth country in Africa with the highest number of cases, next to South Africa, Morocco Egypt. Meanwhile, the cumulative number of recoveries has reached 42,649, while the number of deaths has increased to 1,352. Cases have risen exponentially in the last three weeks, with Addis Ababa counting a total of 45,724 cases, followed by Oromia with 14,521 cases. The country has so far conducted 1.4 million sample tests. (Source: MoH/ Ethiopia Public Health Institute, EPHI).

The National Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) supported the establishement of a zonal ECC in Afar to coordinate the response to flood affected people in the region.

MOE announced that schools will re-open on October 19 in rural parts of Ethiopia, first with a capacity of 20 to 30 students per class to enable physical distancing. The MoE is in the process of finalizing the distribution of 50 million facemasks to school children, and regions are expected to provide sanitizers and other preventive materials.

The Minister of Finance (MoF0, H.E Ahmed Shide, and Germany Ambassador to Ethiopia H.E Stephan Auer signed an agreement of 100 million Euros to support the National COVID-19 Multi-Sectoral Preparedness and Response Plan (MSPRP). According to the Minister, the government will implement economic resilient building measures to ensure the continuity of critical financial functions and the National Health Sector Response Plan to enhance the health sector's capacity to maintain the response to COVID-19.

The third progress report of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19, was released on September 30. The funding requirements for COVID-19 response have risen to $12.89 billion, out of which $506 million is allotted to Ethiopia. As of October 18, $3.24 billion (31.7 per cent) has been mobilized. The first progress report of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19 was released on July 1 with a $ 6.71 billion requirement, while the second GHRP was released on August 31 with a revised requirement of $10.37 billion. For further updates: https://fts.unocha.org/appeals/952/summary and for GHRP third progress report https://bit.ly/3j9jizI.

Ethiopia's Public Health Institute issued new directives on October 5, laying out prohibited activities and directions in support of the ongoing COVID-19 prevention and control efforts. Accordingly, preventive measures such as physical distancing, mask-wearing, and handshaking remain forbidden. Institutions were ordered not to give services to people, not abiding by these rules. Education institutions, including daycares, were also prohibited from delivering on-campus teaching without strictly putting in place the COVID-19 preventive measures instituted by the Government. Similarly, "all cross country or inter-city transport service providers, were ordered to carry passengers following the law setting the maximum carrying capacity, and to deny service to individuals who are not wearing masks." For international travellers above the age of 10 years (except transit passengers), the directive requires them to bring "a certificate of negative RT PCR test from the country of origin done up to 120 hours or five days before arriving in Ethiopia and to self-quarantine at home for seven days.

As of October 8, close to 1,102,484 people were affected by floods in Afar, Oromia, SNNP, Amhara, Gambella, Sidama, and Somali regions, of whom 342,847 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) and partners are supporting 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 flood-affected people. Critical gaps identified include ES/NFIs, boats, and finances to cover the full operation. Response to floods needs is further stretching 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 $40.1 million funding gap to address all identified needs.

On October 12 in a public statement with Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC), Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the Government of Ethiopia had raised the health budget by 46 per cent this year after the coronavirus crisis exposed the needs for more equipment, facilities, and personnel. The Government allocated ETB18.7 billion ($505 million) for the health sector for the financial year 2020-21, increasing from ETB12.64 billion in 2019-20.

According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 200,000 refugee children are out of school in Ethiopia due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to the agency, essential primary healthcare activities are maintained in all refugee camps, which is part of the ongoing national campaign to enhance awareness and testing for COVID-19. Moreover, an additional 200,000 face masks have been delivered to the refugee camps to improve the protection of frontline responders, while infrared thermometers, disposable gloves, and surgical masks have been procured for distribution. However, UNHCR stressed that refugees continue to receive only about 84 per cent of the minimum standard food ration of 2,100 kilocalories per person per day. This has kept the global acute malnutrition rate in most camps higher than the acceptable standards. It also received $1.8 million from Education Cannot Wait (ECW) to strengthen its COVID-19 response in education. It is worth mentioning that the MoE is working with partners to develop guidelines on mitigating COVID-19 and ensuring a safe learning environment. The MoE conducted the first training on safe school re-opening for leaders, professionals and parents on October 14.

The Government of Ethiopia and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) launched a $305.7 million program to help the most vulnerable farmers and increase their resilience against the backdrop of COVID-19 and climate change. The country's agriculture sector, which employs about 80 percent of the population, has repeatedly been suffering from climate change shocks.

The return of Ethiopian migrants from abroad continues. According to IOM, Ethiopia received more than 34,337 returnees between April 1 and 6 October. The majority came from Djibouti (9,380), followed by Somalia (7,460), Sudan (6,542), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (3,842), Kenya (1,488), and 5,625 from other countries. At least 748 returnees are currently in quarantine centers. With support from IOM and other partners, the Government provides direct assistance to the returnees in quarantine facilities, including registration, food, water, NFIs, and onward transportation assistance.

According to FAO, since January 2020, desert locust swarms have damaged more than 200,000 hectares of cropland in Ethiopia, affecting an estimated one million people who require emergency food assistance. Hoppers, adults, and immature swarms are mostly spotted along the border area of Afar and Tigray, Afar and Amhara, and Somali, Dire Dawa and Oromia. In the North Wollo zone (Amhara region), bordering with Afar and Tigray regions, desert locust swarm invasions have destroyed 18,000 hectares of land covered with teff, sorghum, and millet crops, affecting more than 34,000 people. Harari Regional State became the latest scene for locust swarm invasion. Despite communities' efforts and chemical air spraying, the damage worsens due to many locusts that have hatched and the frequent invasion of additional swarms, mainly from Yemen and northwest Somalia. The recent surge of locust swarms and breeding activities are a huge threat and could potentially deteriorate the food security situation.

The European Union (EU) donated nine million Euros to support Ethiopia's efforts to combat the significant crop losses resulting from desert locust upsurge in the country's north-eastern parts. Ethiopia is currently the epicenter of the upsurge of desert locust in the eastern Africa region due to favorable weather conditions, frequent invasion/re-infestation from Yemen, and cross-border locust movements between northwestern Somalia and eastern Ethiopia.

The World Bank (WB) approved a $400 million grant to support efforts to improve the incomes of the urban poor and promote the inclusion of disadvantaged urban youth in the labor market in Ethiopia. The World Bank-financed Urban Productive Safety Net Project will provide social protection and jobs related services to 816,000 beneficiaries in 83 cities across the country. Some of the activities include graduation strategies, refugees and host communities, cash transfers for vulnerable populations, social services, and apprenticeship programs. The program will also provide assistance and capacity building to the national bodies and institutions in the sector.

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