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Ethiopia Humanitarian Bulletin Issue #1 25 Dec – 10 Jan. 2021

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  • Ethiopia registers 128,316 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 113,374 recoveries, and 1,994 deaths as of 10 January

  • The two joint Governmenthumanitarian partners’ needs assessment missions that deployed in Tigray on 20 have witnessed a dire humanitarian situation with poor access to services and limited livelihoods

  • The newly established Tigray Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) highlighted that more than 4.5 million people in the region need emergency food assistance, including 2.2 million IDPs.

  • An intercommunal violence in Metekel Zone of Benishangul Gumuz Region has left more than 101,000 people to displaced from Bullen, Dangur, Dibate, Guba, Mandura and Wombera Woredas between July 2020 and 04 January 2021.

  • There are currently over 259,000 IIDPs in Amhara, displaced from Benishangul Gumuz and Oromia regions due to intercommunal violence and also due to the current Tigray conflict. Over 40 per cent increase was seen from the previously estimated figure in October 2020.

  • Some 1,873 cases and 53 deaths of cholera were reported in 8 Woredas in Dawro Zone, and 2 Woredas of Bench Sheko Zone by the last week of December 2020.

  • Joint Multi-Agency Emergency Needs Assessment report in conflict stricken Konso Zone and surrounding Woredas of SNNP Region reveal pressing needs in food, NFIs, health and WaSH as well as shelter and protection.

  • “The damage was very huge where around 350 thatched and 150 and corrugated iron sheet roofed houses were burnt. There were also lootings of livestock and domestic animal and also damage on field crops and food stocks,” siad Zerfu.

  • Zerfu said, “IDPs children and mothers are at-risk of facing malnutrition if the present inadequate food and no-food assistance continues. Shortage of drinking water is resulting in diseases such as scabies and diarrhea. IDPs are also getting more and more frustrated as they stay long in displacement settings and some of them require psychosocial support.”

  • The Ethiopia 2020 humanitarian appeal is 63.5 per cent funded, including $187 million Government allocation

  • The $116.5 million plan targeting nearly 2 million people in Tigray, Amhara and Afar with life-saving assistance between November 2020 and January 2021 is only 46 per cent funded, leaving an outstanding gap of almost $63.4 million, as of 22 December.

COVID-19 - Ethiopia updates

1.85 million samples tested, 128,316 cases and 1,994 deaths registered

As of 10 January, Ethiopia counts 128,316 COVID-19 cases nationwide, with 113,374 recoveries, 12,946 active cases, and 1,985 deaths. There are some 200 patients currently in the intensive care unit. Ethiopia is the third country with the highest absolute number of COVID-19 cases in Africa, next to South Africa and Morocco. An average 10 per cent positivity rate reported in recent weeks indicates a continued expansion of community transmission. Testing capacity has significantly decreased since October 2020 and is now only targeting high-risk groups (with less than 5,000 tests per day being performed). Thus it is likely that trends in stabilization of cases does not reflect the true picture of the situation because of low testing rate as well as challenges with reagents availability and calibration of machines. In addition, no information is available from Tigray Region where no testing has been taking place due to the ongoing conflict since 04 November 2020. Shortage of reagents mainly in Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella, Dire Dawa, Harari, and Somali Regions also contributed to low testing rate. Addis Ababa continues to account for the highest percentage of the cases followed by Oromia, Tigray and Amhara Regions. While most of the cases have so far been concentrated in Addis Ababa and other major towns, in recent weeks and contrary to trends so far, several districts across the country are reporting increasing numbers of confirmed cases. Overall, the country conducted more than 1,850,100 tests, representing nearly 2 per cent of the population.

Key strategies health partners are adopting include: revitalization of the national Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) plan to address low adherence, reinforcement of preventive measures as school are re-opening, revitalization of COVID-19 activities in Tigray Region and IDP settings to sustain laboratory testing in all regions. It remains key to intensify preventive and control measures in 2021 and monitor a possible upsurge of cases, including monitoring of the new COVID-19 variants. Enhancing epidemiological surveillance to inform response actions and decision making is also crucial.

Low level of adherence and resistance by the public to COVID-19 prevention measures, disruption of COVID-19 response in Tigray due to conflict and five other regions due to shortage of reagents and calibration of machines (particularly in Somali Region), delay of enrollment of confirmed cases to treatment centers, fatigue of public, burnout of health workers, low motivation of response teams, insecurity and limited access to some parts of the country, concern of possible outbreak of new COVID-19 variant strain, and inadequate funding remain to be challenges and areas of concern in COVID-19 response in the country.

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