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UNICEF Ethiopia Humanitarian Situation Report No. 5: May 2022

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  • In May, UNICEF was able to dispatch 13 trucks containing 520 metric tons of supplies to Tigray through road access via Semera-Abala-Mekele route. However, a persistent shortage of fuel and cash continue to hinder distribution of humanitarian supplies and assistance at the required scale in the region.

  • UNICEF has distributed 11 Emergency drug kits (EDKs) for drought and conflict affected woredas of Dasenech, Hamer, Male and Bena Tsemay in SNNP, the EDKs are estimated to support over 27,500 people for three months.

  • In May, UNICEF supported close to 50,000 children, women and men affected by the Northern conflict, and in drought-affected regions through child protection interventions.

Situation in Numbers

29.7 million people in need (2022 draft HNO and HRP)

12.4 million children in need of humanitarian assistance (2022 draft HNO and HRP)

4.51 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs) (DTM 2022)

864,958 pending and registered refugees (UNHCR, 30 May 2022)

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET), the ongoing insecurity and drought conditions have led to an increase in the number of people in need of humanitarian support. The extremely poor performance of the March to May ‘gu’/’genna’ rainfall marks the fourth consecutive season of below-average rainfall, which has led to large-scale livestock deaths, water shortages, ‘dryr’ (October to December) pasture and displacement of people. The increased likelihood that the October to December ‘deyr’/’hageya’ season will be below average is setting the stage for an unprecedented five-season drought in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia. In belg-cropping areas of Ethiopia, predominantly in southern and central areas, February-to-May rainfall has also been extremely poor, with some areas registering the driest March-to-May on record. As a result, planting belg and long-maturing ‘meher’ crops is significantly below average, driving delayed and poor production prospects for both seasons. According to the Nutrition cluster, during the first quarter of 2022, there has been an increase in the number of new severely acute malnutrition cases with more than 38,000 children being treated in health facilities, an increase of 26 percent compared to the same period last year across 124 woredas in the drought affected regions. The increased proportion is 37 percent in Somali, 27 percent in SNNP and 22.5 percent in Afar. Over the coming months, a spike in the number of acute malnutrition cases in drought-affected areas is expected, up from the first quarter of the year.

Results from a recent UN-led rapid access and damage assessment in Afar Zone 2 indicate heavy destruction and looting of health centers, hospitals, schools, and water facilities in the woredas due the Northern Ethiopia conflict. In addition, recently observed IDP returnees in Erebti woreda lacked access to basic services and livelihood prospects. A multi-sectoral assessment will be conducted with clusters and respective government bureaus to assess losses and damages, and to devise sectoral return response plans. In Afar, in addition to the humanitarian crisis caused by conflict and drought, the national metrology agency has predicted an alert for a flood hazard due to the upcoming rainy season in the highland areas surrounding Afar region. Afar is known to be affected by flash floods originating from Awash River and highlands of the Amhara region. The region is working towards the activation of a flood taskforce. Additionally, in Afar and in the Somali region, the increased intra-communal violence in Siti zone between Issa and Hawiye clans in Afdem woreda have exposed women and children to protection risks and abuse. Humanitarian access remains a challenge in parts of Afdem due to unresolved tensions between the two communities.

Through the road access via Semera-Abala-Mekele, UNICEF was able to dispatch 13 trucks containing 520 metric tons of supplies to Tigray in May. However, a persistent shortage of fuel and cash continue to hinder distribution of humanitarian supplies and assistance at the required scale in the region. However, essential medical supplies are available and an improvement in the health situation is being reported with decreasing trends in common causes of morbidity and mortality. Still, four hospitals in Mekelle have reported 11 neonatal deaths, due to service interruption due to a lack of electricity in the region that has affected the 24-hour service delivery.

In Amhara, heavy military deployment and law enforcement measures are causing heightened tensions across the region. Access to basic social services is highly compromised in war affected zones especially in Wag Himra, North Gondar, and North Wollo zones due to public facilities being damaged/looted during the conflict. In the three zones, it is estimated that over 52,000 children with acute malnutrition do not have access to any nutrition service (more than 8,000 SAM cases). Moreover, 11 districts with close to a million people, of which over 500,000 are children and 33,000 are pregnant and pregnant and lactating women, remain inaccessible. According to regional authorities, about 16,000 people were newly displaced in the reporting period from North Wollo, North Gondar, Wag Himra, and North Shewa zones and are reportedly settling in Sekota town, Debre Birhan Town, Habru, and Addi’Arekay woredas. The new influx of IDPs continues to exacerbate the already dire humanitarian situation in the region.

In Benishangul Gumuz, the security situation remains tense and unpredictable especially in Metekel and Kamashi zones. In Kamashi zone, according to regional authorities, unidentified armed groups (UAGs) who had reportedly made a peace deal with the regional government in recent months have reportedly returned to fighting after disagreements with the regional government. Furthermore, several people have been displaced from Dibate Woreda of Metekel Zone, due to ongoing operations by government forces against the UAGs. As a result, these new IDPs are in need of basic humanitarian assistant.

In SNNP, the security situation in Konso zone, Derashe, and Alle special woredas remains tense and volatile. Over 10,000 people have been displaced in Gedeo zone due to the ongoing military operation in Western Guji zone of Oromia.