Tue, 20 Aug 2019

More than 8.5 million Ethiopians need food assistance

reliefweb
21 Jul 2019, 16:39 GMT+10

This report has been prepared under the auspices of the Federal Disaster Risk Management Technical Working Group, co-chaired by the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) and OCHA with participation of cluster cochairs (Government Line Ministries and Cluster Coordinators). It covers the period from 15 June to 15 July 2019.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The Government and humanitarian partners are currently dealing with the triple challenge of drought impact in the eastern and south eastern parts of the country, localized flooding and the still significant humanitarian needs of returnees and IDPs.

• Regions are requesting food assistance to additional needs emerging since the launch of the HRP, including new IDPs and returnees. As a result, the food beneficiary figure increased from 8 million in the HRP to 8.5 million. An additional 3.6 million PSNP public works clients are projected to be food insecure during the peak hunger season (June to October) and will require emergency food assistance in the second half of the year.

• According to the Government, at least 1.8 million IDPs have returned to their areas of origin by end June following the Government-led return operation since early May. Returnees require urgent recovery support and other interim assistance until they are fully back in their homes and until they resume their livelihood.

8.86M affected people

8.3M targeted for assistance

3.2M internally displaced as of end April 2019

2.1 M 900,000 Returned Refugees

SITUATION OVERVIEW

Ethiopia is experiencing extreme weather variability with some areas experiencing drought, while others are impacted by flooding. Based on the National Meteorological Agency's weather forecast for the kiremt/summer (June-September) rainy season, the Government-led Flood Task Force released a revised Flood Alert listing areas at risk of flooding during the current rainy season. According to the forecast, western Ethiopia is expected to receive normal to above normal rainfall; eastern and parts of central Ethiopia will receive predominantly normal rainfall; while Afar, most of Amhara, northern parts of Somali and Tigray are expected to experience normal to below normal rainfall during the season. Heavy rainfalls are likely to cause flash and/or river floods in low laying areas, which are expected to affect 1.3 million people, out of which some 331,000 people are likely to be displaced. Heavy rains in May and early June 2019 have already caused flooding in 38 districts across seven regions, displacing 42,306 families and causing significant number of livestock death and property damage. Afar and SNNP were the most affected regions. A National Contingency Plan was under development as of the end of June.

Meanwhile, the eastern and south-eastern parts of Ethiopia, particularly the lowland pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in Somali region, lowlands of Oromia, SNNP and parts of Afar regions, are impacted by the current Horn of Africa drought following the late and sub-optimal 2019 spring (mid-February-May) rains. As a result, crop planting were delayed and pasture regeneration and replenishment of water sources did not materialize, further impacting the already dire food security and nutritional conditions of communities in these areas. The current summer rainfall is also not performing well in these areas. For example, only nine of 20 districts in East Hararge and seven of 15 districts in West Hararge received rainfall, albeit in poor quantity. Severe water shortages are being reported in affected woredas, including in IDP-hosting areas, with increasing requests for water trucking support. The Nutrition Cluster also reported a deteriorating nutrition situation in affected areas, which is also exacerbated by interruptions or scaling-down of nutrition projects due to funding shortfalls.

According to FEWSNET's food security outlook for June-September 2019, some 3.8 million people are expected to require immediate life-saving and livelihood support during this period. To mitigate the worst of the drought impact, the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated US$10 million in early June to kick start mitigation efforts, with particular focus on WaSH and agriculture/livestock early interventions. An additional EUR20 million will be availed by ECHO to support drought response. The Government also agreed to look into pivoting development funding under the One WaSH national program to conduct emergency water supply rehabilitation, so that humanitarian partners could focus on other life-saving priorities.

Both flood and drought are risk factors for water-related disease outbreaks. At present, the Government's health system, with partners support, is responding to a cholera outbreak. At least 889 cases were reported in Oromia (365 cases),

Amhara (202), Afar (142), Addis Ababa (127), Somali (33), Tigray (19) and Dire Dawa (1). Surveillance and case management are being strengthened, while Oral Cholera Vaccination campaign was held in Addis Ababa and West Hararge zone of Oromia region targeting highly vulnerable groups, including street children, people in prison and in sites where Internally Displaced People are sheltered. More than 700,000 vaccines were imported by the Government for this cause, and are provided free of charge. A National Cholera Response Plan is seeking US$6.6million mostly for surveillance and case management.

In addition to flood and drought response, the Government and partners are dealing with the still significant humanitarian needs of returnees and IDPs pending full recovery. According to the Government, at least 2.1 million IDPs have returned to their areas of origin by end June following the Government-led return operation since early May. Returnees require urgent recovery support and other interim assistance as most are still not fully back in their homes and have not resumed their livelihood. Partners' scale up of assistance in areas of return is critical to avoid further suffering and a deterioration of the returnees' condition. According to the Government's IDP Plan, the returnees will be provided with humanitarian assistance up to six months from return, while recovery and rehabilitation activities are implemented side-by-side.

Ongoing support need also be provided to IDPs that opted not to return. A CERF grant proposal for Rapid Response was submitted by OCHA requesting $11.4 million to address secondary displacement. The National Disaster Risk Management Commission and NDRMC also launched a four-year project to support the recovery of 50,000 households through the restoration of basic services, provision of sustainable livelihoods and the rehabilitation of damaged infrastructure and households at a cost of $20 million with funding contribution from the Government of Denmark, Japan and UNDP. The project targets areas most impacted by the Gedeo/West Guji inter-communal violence, including Kercha and Hamela Wamena woredas (West Guji) and Gedeb and Yirgachefe woredas (Gedeo). It seeks to complement humanitarian assistance by building resilience in post-crisis situation through introducing sustainable livelihoods.

Meanwhile, ongoing insecurity and active hostilities in some parts of the country, notably Western and Southern Oromia region, continue to impede humanitarian access. While 70 per cent of the return areas are in areas where conditions are relatively viable for return, the remaining 30 per cent are in areas experiencing security and other constraint, threatening the sustainability of the returns. For example, almost 90 per cent of IDPs returned to areas of origin in Kamashi zone of Benishangul Gumuz region have reportedly returned back to West Wollega zone (Oromia region) due to insecurity and lack of assistance. The Protection Cluster, IOM and OCHA have recently developed a Risk Analysis of IDP return areas to guide interventions in conflict areas.

The Government-led multi-agency and multi-sector national needs assessment started on 22 June. The assessment will gauge the performance of the spring rains and its impact on food security and identify other non-food needs. The findings will capture new needs since the release of the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), and will inform the Mid-Year Review of the HRP.

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