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Ethiopia - Humanitarian Update Situation Report, 27 Jun 2022

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HIGHLIGHTS

  • The number of people in need of food assistance in northern Ethiopia has increased from 9 million in November 2021 to more than 13 million people due to increasing food insecurity.

  • The prolonged drought situation remains unabated with no improvement in site affecting at least 8 million people and likely more as it is expanding to additional areas.

  • Increased violence in western Ethiopia with a high number of civilians have been reportedly killed and at least 4,800 people displaced in Oromia Region on 18 June due to violence.

BACKGROUND

Disclaimer

With this edition, OCHA Ethiopia launches the first bi-weekly digital Situation Report covering the humanitarian situation, needs, response and gaps country-wide. The weekly Northern Ethiopia Situation Report has been discontinued and will be included in this report. This report is prepared with the support and collaboration of cluster coordinators and humanitarian partners. In some cases, access and communication constraints mean that updates for the period are delayed and cannot be reflected. Boundaries, names, and designations of districts/zones indicated in the report do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. Please contact ocha-eth-communication@un.org for any comment or question you may have on this publication.

Situation Overview

The overall humanitarian situation in Ethiopia has significantly deteriorated since the beginning of the year leading to increased humanitarian needs across the country. The cumulative impact of ongoing conflict and violence, climatic shocks such as the prolonged drought, and more recently floods, constitute the main triggers of such a rise. More than 29 million people were estimated in need of humanitarian assistance and protection at the beginning of 2022, compared to 23.5 million people at the beginning of 2021, and 8.4 million people in 2020. Nearly three quarters of the people in need this year are women and children.

The ongoing conflict and rising levels of food insecurity and other climate-related shocks continue to have a significant impact on children's access to education. As of May 2022, more than 2.9 million children across Ethiopia remain out of school due to conflict and drought. This represents 17 per cent of the school age population Almost 50 per cent of those out of school children are entering their third year without any access to learning, heightening the risk of a lost generation for children in northern Ethiopia Based on school damage assessments in May, more than 8,660 schools across Ethiopia are fully or partially damaged, 70 per cent of which were in Afar, Amhara and Tigray due to the North Ethiopia conflict. During May, education partners assisted more than 102,000 children across the country with different interventions including school feeding to more than 90,000 children, distribution of learning materials, and alternative learning programs. Majority of children assisted during this period were assisted in Somali Region with more than 50,000 children followed by Amhara Region with more than 41,000 children.

Malnutrition has also been on the rise in several locations across the country since the start of the year, with higher requirements for treatment services. In East Hararghe Zone, Oromia Region, an increase of 50 per cent of cases were recorded in May (3,966 cases) compared to April (2,629 cases) with close to one out five admissions reported with medical complications. Further scale-up of nutrition activities including early detection and treatment of acute malnutrition cases, as well are health care services are required at community level to avoid medical complications.

Affected people continue to face serious protection issues including violence, insecurity, lack of access to basic services and livelihoods, and neglect of vulnerable groups. IDPs who began returning to their areas of origin in Tigray, Afar and Amhara, for instance, are facing security risks and difficulties to access essential services, including food. While violence has subsided in these regions, in many cases the extensive damage and destruction of private property as well as civilian and public infrastructure does not provide a conducive environment for safe returns to the places of origin... Shortage of food and drinking water is a major concern in both conflict-affected and drought-affected areas, leading to displacement, loss of livelihoods and negative coping mechanisms. Based on Government administrative data and UNICEF analysis in May,the number of child marriage cases has increased by 264 per cent in Somali, by 69 per cent in Oromia and by 38 per cent in SNNP – all regions severely affected by drought – compared to the same period (January- April) last year. The risk of explosive ordnance in conflict affected areas has increased, including in critical infrastructure such as schools and main roads, is posing immediate risks to life and hampering access to basic services and livelihoods. On many occasions, specialized protection services are not available due to limited operational presence of protection actors in Oromia Benishangul-Gumuz, SNNP regions. This is due to limited funding, access constraints, the high needs, and the vast territory to cover. Despite limitations, protection partners assisted 1.8 million people or 22 per cent of the 7.9 million people targeted since the start of year, of which 35 per cent are women, 25 per cent are girls, 20 per cent are boys, and 20 per cent are men.

In northern Ethiopia, the humanitarian situation continues to be dire with high needs across the sectors including high levels of food insecurity and malnutrition. According to WFP’s Emergency Food Security Assessment conducted in January and February (1). more than 13 million people are now in need of food assistance compared 9 million in November 2021 (4.8 million in the Tigray Region, 1.2 million in the Afar Region and over 7 million in the Amhara Region). Agricultural inputs are urgently needed across the region to support the *Meher *planting season (May-July), to prevent production loss, improve food security, thereby decreasing dependency on food assistance.

In Tigray, about 4,000 metric tons (MT) of seeds are available in the local market, but partners need to transport sufficient cash to support operations including support to farmers. Fertilizers are also urgently needed. While the federal authorities have approved the importation of fertilizers for humanitarian agencies, additional funds are needed for payment and support for the import, transport, and clearance into Tigray for further distribution. To date, humanitarian partners have mobilized financial resources to cover only ten percent of the required 60,000MT fertilizer needs for the upcoming season. Other funding contributions could be mobilized soon.

After more than three months of interrupted road access to Tigray, humanitarian convoys have started to move much needed lifesaving supplies to Tigray since 1 April, however, partners are struggling to distribute the supplies and reach vulnerable people outside Mekelle as fast and wide as possible. In total, since the resumption of convoy movement on 1 April and as of 21 June, 2,987 trucks or 122,212 MT arrived in Mekelle through 23 humanitarian convoys. This included about 109,000 MT of food, 5,391 MT of emergency shelter and non-food items (ES/NFIs), 2,835 MT of water, sanitation, and hygiene items (WASH), 2,232 MT of nutrition supplies, 415 MT of health, 360 MT of protection items, 320 MT of education supplies, 80 MT of agriculture supplies and other1605 MT of mixed cargo. These also included 23 fuel trucks or 987,137 litres of fuel for all humanitarian operations – even though partners require 2 million litres each month – including the fuel required to deliver incoming supplies. In parallel, airlifting of life saving critical supplies to Mekelle continued, although at a slower rate as road convoys resumed. Between 14 and 20 June, 19.7 MT of health and ES/NFIs, bringing the total supplies airlifted by humanitarian partners since 15 December 2021, to about 785 MT or equivalent to 20 trucks. This included 53 per cent nutrition supplies, 30 per cent health supplies,14 per cent ES/NFIs, and three per cent WASH items and agriculture supplies.

Several of internally displaced persons (IDPs) reported in different parts of northern Ethiopia. Between 7 and 14 June,more than2,600 internally displaced households (13,000 people) from Adigrat in Tigray returned voluntarily to their respective locations of origin. All the returnees received limited cash assistance and emergency shelter and non-food items by partners to support the initial phase of the return and to start off the resumption of their livelihoods.

The humanitarian situation in Afar continues to be dire with food insecurity and malnutrition rates that remain particularly alarming due to the combined effects of drought and conflict, ensuing displacement, lack of market access, and high food prices. About 450,000 people affected by the drought in 15 woredas leading to the death of more than 2,600 March.

Admission of children under five with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) for treatment in March 2022, has increased by more than 30 per cent compared to the average of the same period in the last five years (2017-2021). Admission to therapeutic programs for malnutrition in April (2,483 admission) has also increased by 28 per cent compared to the same period last year (1,794 admission). In April there was an increase of 7.3 per cent in the number of cases accessing stabilization centers for the treatment of severe malnutrition. Dubti General Hospital, the main referral hospital in Afar, has reinforced their capacity, but the demand is still high and other cases need to be referred to Logia Hospital in the region, which will now provide stabilization services with more than 30 beds capacity. However, death rate is still too high in stabilization centers with 10.3 per cent of mortality rate of children admitted in April.

Meanwhile, find and treat screening campaign for malnutrition, Vitamin A supplementation and deworming has started in the entire region including at IDP sites. Twenty-five woredas, out of the 33 woredas with urgent needs, will be supported by therapeutic supplementary feeding programs during the screening. Thirty mobile health and nutrition teams (MHNTs) continue to be operated by partners in Afar, including 10 MHNTs in IDP sites.

According to the authorities in Afar, spontaneous, and organized returns of IDPs have been taking place from various locations including from Afdera and Harsuma to Abala and Erebti woredas in Zone 2. Woreda officials reportedly provided buses and trucks to transport the IDPs. IDPs have been returned despite concerns about insecurity including explosive remnants of war and lack of basic services in places of origin due todestruction. Partners will continue to work with relevant regional authorities to ensure a safe and dignified return, ensuring safety and security as well as restored public services in areas of return ahead of the returns. Meanwhile, at returns areas, WASH partners started maintaining water points in 12 areas; health facilities in Abala, Erebti, Berahle and Konnaba have started their basic services; and flour is provided by partners in Afdera, Erebti, Koneba, Abala and Berahle as there are no grinding mills.

In Amhara, the number of IDPs continues to increase following regular new arrivals. Currently, there are an estimated 1.2 million IDPs across the region. North Wello, Wag Hamra and North Shewa (Debre Birhan) zones are prioritized for response mainly due to increasing IDPs caseloads. Across the region, the number of people requiring humanitarian support is estimated to be at least six million people. An additional estimated 1.4 million returnees in conflict affected areas need early recovery support. Amhara Region has a limited presence of partners who lack funding and response capacity, despite the magnitude of needs. Although partners are providing food, shelter, protection health, nutrition, education, and WASH services and they continue to mobilize further assistance, the response remains inadequate to meet the scale of needs.

Meanwhile, Amhara regional government authorities continued with the relocation of internally displaced people (IDPs) to Jara site in North Wello Zone. To date, and since 14 March, they have relocated nearly 28,000 people out of an estimated 58,000 registered IDPs planned for relocation from Kobo. Additional 126 people were relocated from Mebrait-Haile to the newly constructed shelters in Weleh IDP site bringing total number of IDPs in the site to 4,226. In North Shewa Zone alone, more than 300,000 IDPs live in protracted displacement, being displaced mainly from Oromia Region due to conflict.

On 10 June, there were reports of heavy rains in Shamo Godgwadit kebele, Libo Kemkem *woreda *in South Gondar Zone which affected more than 590 household (about 2,740 people). Similarly on 11 June, more than 1,409 houses were reported to be severely damaged in five kebelesof North Mecha woreda in West Gojjam Zone due to heavy rains affecting more than 6,300 people. As a result, household food stocks and agricultural products were destroyed and more than 29,000 hectares of fruit trees and crop. The regional authorities distributed blankets, plastic sheets, and food in North Mecha *woreda.*So far, no assistance provided in Shambo Godgwadit kebele yet.

As North Shewa, North Wello, South Wello and Oromia zones, in Amhara, received normal and below normal rainfall for the Belg planting season (February - May), and therefore only 63 per cent of the land was planted, according to agriculture cluster. Weather conditions for Meherseason in Amhara is currently favorable but was delayed affecting Sorghum and Potato plantations, with needs for replantation. According to partners, out of 4.8 million hectar of land planned for Meher plantation, only nearly 0.5 million hectars were planted as of 23 June due to lack of funding.

Ethiopia is experiencing one of the most severe **droughts **in the last forty years following four consecutive failed rainy seasons since late 2020 pushing an increasing number of people into an alarming situation. Most recent forecasts project that the October to December season will also be below average, setting the stage for an unprecedented fifth failed rainy season. This climatic shock has compromised already fragile livelihoods heavily reliant on livestock - most of which has died- and deepening food insecurity and malnutrition. People living in these same areas have barely managed to recuperate from the severe drought in 2017 followed by an unprecedented desert locust infestation, which further deteriorated vegetation, to witness again such harsh conditions, the first signs of which started appearing towards the end of 2020. According to current data, at least 8 million people in Somali, Oromia, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ (SNNP) and South-West regions are currently affected, of which more than 7.2 million people need food assistance and 4.4 million people need water assistance. This figure is under review and is expected to increase once assessment of new areas affected by the drought is completed, including in Afar. According to current data, more than 2.1 million livestock have died, while at least 22 million are at risk and are very weak and emaciated with no or little milk production, the main source of nutrition for children.

In some areas, drought is also compounded with violence, including in southern Oromia Region due to conflict and in Somali Region due to intercommunal conflicts, exacerbating previous humanitarian needs and hindering access to hundreds of thousands of people in need of assistance. Population in Guji and West Guji zones in southern Oromia, for instance, have been affected by violence since 2020, as well as by the current drought. Public facilities such as health centres and schools have been destroyed and the movement of critical aid supplies such as food and nutrition items has been severely hindered. In West Guji Zone, situation has slightly improved in June allowing access to people in need by aid agencies. In Konso Zone, in SNNP Region, some 60,000 people who have been struggling to cope with the drought were affected by inter-communal violence in April. The situation remains tense, affecting access to assist some 23,000 displaced and drought affected people in the zone.

Over the last few months, the drought has increased to affect new areas and new assessment are ongoing. Between 26 May and 2 June, a multi-agency initial rapid assessment mission was conducted in the drought affected Fafan and Sitti zones, in Somali Region, with 2.3 million people living in the two zones, to assess the impact of the drought situation on the ground; assess the humanitarian response and gaps; and to advise partners on response actions required. Motorized boreholes are very limited in the woredas visited in Fafan Zone (Harshin, Awbare, Harorays, K.Bayah and Tuliguled), and the majority depends on surface water have not been filled due to lack of rain. In the areas visited that have sustainable water sources are more resilient than areas that dependmostly or solely from surface water. Screening for malnutrition was conducted in three selected kebeles of Harorays, Tuliguled and Shabeley during the mission. Out of the 79 pregnant and lactating women (PLW) screened, 55 of them or about 70 percent were identified as malnourished. Out of the 106 children under five screened, 9 of them or 7.6 percent were identified with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 47 children or 44 percent identified with moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).

In Oromia Region, more than 47,000 heads of livestock have been reportedly perished in East and West Hararghe zone since April 2022. Migration is reported from four *Woredas *(Gursum, Babile, Midhega Tola, and Fedis) in East Hararghe in search of labour. According to government authorities,an estimated 498,000 people remain displaced by drought and conflict in Southern Oromia, with priority needs being food, healthcare services, emergency shelter, non-food items and clean water. There is limited presence of partners due to security concerns and needs far surpass on-going response as the drought is increasing in scale. Access and conflict have negatively impacted the humanitarian presence especially in Guji and West Guji.

In western Ethiopia, the humanitarian situation is concerning with high levels of humanitarian needs and protection concerns.Hostilities in Benishangul Gumuz, Oromia, and SNNP regions have further caused high numbers of displacement; damage to infrastructure and basic services; exposed the population to major protection risks; and prevented meaningful humanitarian assessment and response. On 18 June, dozens of civilians have been reportedly killed in Tole kebele in Gimbi woreda, West Wellega Zone, Oromia Region, following fighting between armed groups and security forces. Partners have not yet been able to verify information regarding this incident or assess the situation and needs in the area due to restricted access. According to zonal authorities, at least 1,200 households (4,800 people) have been displaced to Diga woreda in East Wellega Zone. Displaced people urgently need emergency shelter, food, and non-food items. It is estimated that more than 500,000 are displaced in Western Oromia due to conflict, with very limited humanitarian assistance due lack of access and limited resources available to partners.

Between 5 and 11 June, a multisectoral and access assessment mission was conducted to Metekel Zone in Benishangul-Gumuz Region to support the scale-up of the humanitarian response in hard-to-reach areas and step-up coordination support to partners. Findings indicate an improved access in conflict affected woredas. Food, WASH and ES/NFI interventions remain limited compared to existing needs. The most critical risk facing IDPs in the zone is lack of food with a third consecutive agricultural season likely to be lost without optimum production mainly due to lack of access to agricultural inputs and in some cases fear of return to and/or inaccessibility of farmlands. According to zonal official records in Benishangul Gumuz Region, at least 73,000 displaced people have returned to their places of origin in Metekel Zone due to improved security. Reportedly, the returnees are in dire need of agricultural inputs and livestock to avoid losing a third agricultural season.

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Footnotes

  1. Northern Ethiopia Emergency Response Situation Report #07 - Ethiopia | ReliefWeb
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs: To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.