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Ethiopia, Africa | Hunger crisis - Operation Update n° 1, Appeal n° MDRET027

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10 February 2022: The Somali Regional Government submits a request to ERCS appealing for support to respond to the drought.

January 2022: Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) conduct an in-depth assessment following the worsening of drought conditions in Somali region and in Borana and Moyale zones of Oromia region.

1 March 2022: IFRC released 507,108 Swiss francs from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) to support the ERCS response in Somali region, and Borana and Moyale zones of Oromia region.

29 March 2022: IFRC issues a Federation-wide Hunger Crisis Emergency Appeal for 12.5 million Swiss francs to support 500,000 people in the worst affected zones of Oromia, Somali and in Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) regions, for a period of 24 months.

Situation overview

The Horn of Africa

The eastern Horn of Africa region has experienced drought conditions following consecutive ailed rain seasons since late 2020 leading to significant impacts on production, vegetation, water resources, food insecurity, and livelihoods.

Food insecurity is rapidly worsening in Eastern Africa- an estimated 81.6 million people including IDPs, refugees, and host communities in rural and urban areas are facing high acute food insecurity. This represents approximately a 39 percent increase from the 58.6 million recorded in November 2021. The overall food insecurity situation is expected to worsen across most countries in the region through the lean season while faced with multiple and overlapping shocks (drought, flooding, macroeconomic challenges, and conflict).

The nutrition situation in the region is critical, with approximately 7 million children under 5 years expected to be acutely malnourished in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia including more than 1.7 million with severe acute malnutrition. There is a high likelihood of the nutrition situation deteriorating in the next three months, exacerbated by the high unaffordability of nutritious diets and drought impacts.

From the funding requirement of this Emergency Appeal (EA), the current funding situation status stands at IFRC Secretariat coverage, CHF 1,452,769 (18%), and Federation Wide coverage of CHF 3,022,135 ( 24%). Thus, there is an urgent need for more funding to cover the remaining gap of CHF 9,477,865 (86%).

In Ethiopia

An estimated 8 million people in Oromia, Somali, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' (SNNP), and Southwest regions are affected by drought and require food assistance following three consecutive belowaverage rainy seasons and high temperatures. Floods and conflicts have also contributed to making people less resilient to the impact of drought. Oromia and Somali regions are the most affected. Around 3.4 million people in Oromia and 3.5 million people in Somali need humanitarian assistance. In southern Ethiopia, around 175,000 people have been displaced because of drought. Households, along with their livestock, move to areas where they can look for better livelihood opportunities and water sources.

According to UN OCHA 2, May 2022 report revealed that more than 8 million people are affected by the drought across the affected regions (Somali 3.5 million, Oromia 3.4 million, SNNP 1 million, and South-West 15,000 people), including 7.2 million severely food insecure and 4.4 million people need water assistance. Additionally, 2.1 million livestock have been reported dead, while at least 22 million livestock is at risk and are very weak and emaciated with no or little milk production.

The drought in Ethiopia has exacerbated existing fragilities by deepening food insecurity and malnutrition as well as straining communities’ resources heavily reliant on the outputs from livestock. Livelihoods of pastoralist and agro-pastoralist populations have been decimated by the death of over 1.46 million livestock, with the burden most heavily felt by those in the Somali Region, accounting for 67 percent of this figure according to available data. Populations in Oromia, SNNP, and Southwest regions have not been immune to the burden of such shocks, with their livelihoods particularly vulnerable to the decreased market value of deteriorated animals and consequently, the reduced nutritional sources they offer.

Besides this, rainfall forecasts (local, regional, and global) for the March-May 2022 rainfall season pointed towards a below-average performance, especially in most drought-affected areas. While the seasonal rains normally start in March and peak in April, the forecasts pointed to the likelihood of a delayed start. By mid March, most benefiting areas had not received any rains, and the distribution over space raise the concern of a likely fourth consecutive poor season that could lead to an unprecedented climate emergency in the region.