Ethiopia: Government and partners launch the mid-year review of Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) for 2016

US$612.4 million urgently needed to address food and non-food needs for 9.7million people  

Addis Ababa, 12 August 2016: On 12 August, the Government of Ethiopia officially launched the revision of the joint-Government and partners’ Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) for the second half of 2016. The revised HRD seeks US$612.4 million to help 9.7 million people with emergency food and non-food assistance.

“The findings of the comprehensive belg assessment show changes in the humanitarian context that require immediate action. While the overall response strategy remains the same, we need to respond to address increased needs in some areas,” noted Commissioner Ato Mitiku Kassa, Head of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC). “Thanks to the collaboration between the Government and humanitarian partners, we have done a lot this year. We need to sustain the generous support from the international community in the second half of 2016.”

Ethiopia continues to be affected by drought, exacerbated by the strongest El-Niño on record, which significantly eroded coping capacities. Some regions experienced flooding with unusually heavy belg spring rains in April and May 2016, causing temporary displacement and a surge in disease outbreaks. At the same time, some areas did not receive sufficient rainfall and people still do not have adequate access to water, resulting in continued food and nutrition needs that requires additional health and water response. The Government-led inter-agency belg seasonal assessment, undertaken at the end of June, allowed for a timely revision of the 2016 HRD to ensure well-prioritized response until the end of the year.

“The Government of Ethiopia maintains its very strong and decisive leadership in responding to this crisis and has helped avoid what could have been a humanitarian catastrophe’’ stated Ms. Gillian Mellsop, the acting Humanitarian Coordinator. “As was highlighted at the side-event at the World Humanitarian Summit in May, Ethiopia’s response model is an excellent example of how preparation, disaster risk management and response prioritization can mitigate the impact of natural disasters,” added Ms. Mellsop.

“Nevertheless, despite marked achievements earlier this year, the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia remains critical. With a combination of drought, which significantly weakened coping capacities, and extensive flooding that has caused displacement, disease outbreaks and the disruption of basic public services, we must maintain our scaled-up response,” Ms. Mellsop stressed.

“We should not underestimate our achievements this year, especially considering that we have received more than $1 billion in funding so far” Mr. Paul Handley, Head of Office for OCHA Ethiopia, emphasized. “However, we need to scale up and prioritize our response for the rest of the year to provide assistance to the most vulnerable. It is vital that the international community continues to support the Government to ensure that we do not lose the positive momentum we have gained towards ending the humanitarian crisis.”

UNICEF’s response in pictures (Click on the picture for more)

Emergency: Drought Response 2015/16

El Niño is over but its impact on children is set to worsen as disease, malnutrition continue to spread

In Eastern and Southern Africa alone, 26.5 million children are in need of aid

NAIROBI/NEW YORK, July 8, 2016 – The 2015-2016 El Niño has ended but its devastating impact on children is worsening, as hunger, malnutrition and disease continue to increase following the severe droughts and floods spawned by the event, one of the strongest on record, UNICEF said today.

And there is a strong chance La Niña – El Niño’s flip side – could strike at some stage this year, further exacerbating a severe humanitarian crisis that is affecting millions of children in some of the most vulnerable communities, UNICEF said in a report called It’s not over – El Niño’s impact on children.

Children in the worst affected areas are going hungry. In Eastern and Southern Africa – the worst hit regions – some 26.5 million children need support, including more than one million who need treatment for severe acute malnutrition.

In many countries, already strained resources, have reached their limits, and affected families have exhausted their coping mechanisms – such as selling off assets and skipping meals. Unless more aid is forthcoming, including urgent nutritional support for young children, decades of development progress could be eroded.

HALABA WOREDA, SNNPR – 24 JANUARY 2016In many countries, El Niño affected access to safe water, and has been linked to increases in diseases such as dengue fever, diarrhoea and cholera, which are major killers of children. In South America, and particularly Brazil, El Niño has created favourable breeding conditions for the mosquito that can transmit Zika, dengue, yellow fever and chikungunya.  If La Niña does develop, it could contribute to the spread of the Zika virus to areas that have not been affected to date.

UNICEF also said there are serious concerns that Southern Africa, the global epicentre of the AIDS pandemic, could see an increased transmission of HIV as a result of El Niño’s impact. Lack of food affects access to anti-retroviral therapy (ART), as patients tend not to take treatment on an empty stomach, and many people will use their limited resources for food rather than transport to a health facility. Drought can also force adolescent girls and women to engage in transactional sex to survive. And, mortality for children living with HIV is two to six times higher for those who are severely malnourished than for those who are not.

“Millions of children and their communities need support in order to survive. They need help to prepare for the eventuality La Niña will exacerbate the humanitarian crisis. And they need help to step up disaster risk reduction and adaptation to climate change, which is causing more intense and more frequent extreme weather events,” said UNICEF’s Director of Emergency Programs, Afshan Khan. “The same children who are affected by El Niño and threatened by La Niña, find themselves on the frontlines of climate change.”

Sweden responds to El Niño-driven drought in Ethiopia

The Government avails US$ 5.7 million to UNICEF’s drought response activities

Inauguration of new UNICEF warehouse
New cartons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) arrives at a UNICEF warehouse

ADDIS ABABA, 22 June 2016 -The Government of Sweden contributes US$ 5.7 million to UNICEF to save children’s lives and protect children affected by El Niño-driven drought in Ethiopia. This is the single largest crisis contribution of Sweden to UNICEF globally this year. In addition to the grant provided through UNICEF Ethiopia, Sweden has provided US$25 million to the drought response in Ethiopia since September 2015.

The Swedish support comes at a critical time when Ethiopia is currently facing the worst drought in decades leaving 10.2 million people, including 6 million children, in need of emergency assistance. It also created critical water shortages in Somali, Afar, parts of SNNP, eastern Oromia, Amhara and Tigray regions.  Poor sanitation and hygiene conditions, resulting from water shortage, are also contributing to an increase in disease outbreaks. 

In addition, the number of severely malnourished children who need therapeutic feeding treatment continues to increase. UNICEF, together with the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners, is stepping up efforts to address the needs of 458,000 children under five with Severe Acute Malnutrition and 2.5 million children, pregnant and lactating women with Moderate Acute Malnutrition.[1]

“Sweden has been a strong humanitarian and development partner to Ethiopia over the years. We are very committed to support the country in the struggle to combat and prevent the effects of the worst drought Ethiopia has seen in over 50 years,” said H.E. Jan Sadek, Ambassador of Sweden to Ethiopia. “Sweden is determined to continue to work for a deeper integration between humanitarian relief and long term development objectives. The partners in Ethiopia have come quite far in this integration but more needs to be done. We believe that in this regard, UNICEF, which has a mandate in both ‘spheres’, is playing a key role.”

Together with other donors, Sweden’s support enabled UNICEF to make the largest global purchase of Therapeutic Food for children in drought-stricken Ethiopia. With this new funding, UNICEF will work towards improving the capacity of health extension workers on Severe Acute Malnutrition management.

In addition, new stabilization centres will be established in existing health centres to cater to the increasing number of children with severe acute malnutrition.  The contribution will also strengthen Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams which provide lifesaving primary health care, nutrition, hygiene and sanitation promotion services in hard hit drought areas of the Afar and Somali regions. Furthermore, water will be provided to primary schools for drinking as well as for routine handwashing in the Oromia Region.

“UNICEF appreciates the Government of Sweden’s generous contribution of life saving interventions for children and their families whose lives have been affected by the El-Niño driven drought emergency,” said Ms Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia. “UNICEF, together with the Government of Ethiopia and partners, continues to play an important role in scaling up its interventions in terms of nutrition, health, water sanitation and hygiene, child protection and education to mitigate the worst impact of this crisis.”

 

Humanitarian partners launch campaign to address funding gaps in Ethiopia drought response

(Addis Ababa, 23 March 2016):  Humanitarian partners today launched a 90-day campaign to raise awareness on the urgent need for an additional funding for the drought crisis in Ethiopia to address the humanitarian resource gap.

“Ethiopia is currently contending with one of the most serious climatic shocks in recorded history with ten million people facing lost harvests and livestock as well as severe water shortages and health risks,” said Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onuchie, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia.  “We are launching this campaign to advocate for increased funding commensurate with the scale and severity of this crisis.’

While Ethiopia’s 2016 US$1.4 billion appeal has received over US$758 million from the Ethiopian government and the international community, significant life-saving gaps remain across all sectors. The four months lead time to get relief commodities to people in need means that action is required now.

Commending the Ethiopian government, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator noted that the government is one of the largest financial contributors to the crisis so far and also leads in the coordination of a complex inter-sector response, which uses government systems and relies on national capacity.

`We are indeed thankful and encouraged by the donors who have stepped up to support Ethiopia in this drought crisis,’ said the Commissioner Mitiku Kassa, National Disaster Risk Management Commission. `Some of these donors joined the Government to respond at the onset of the crisis in October last year. They did so knowing that it costs three times more to treat severe malnutrition than to provide the food and other associated support that might have prevented that child’s descent into severe acute malnutrition.”

Noting that the international community stands to gain much from supporting Ethiopia in the drought response, the Humanitarian Coordinator observed that drought response is not just about saving lives  it is about protecting development gains – gains which the Government and its development partners have worked tirelessly to build up over decades.

“The Government’s vision for development, enshrined in the second Growth and Transformation Plan, promises to steer Ethiopia further down its already remarkable path of progress,” said Ms. Eziakonwa-Onuchie. “We need to rally urgently to protect the development gains of Ethiopia over the past decade and ensure the country remains on its remarkable development trajectory. Urgent and substantial investment in the humanitarian crisis response this year is the only way to ensure this and we must act now.”

Malnutrition mounts as El Niño takes hold  

Drought in Ethiopia
Bora Robu Etu, a father in Haro Huba kabele, says that people are not only angry at not being able to feed their children – but their cattle too. © UNICEF Ethiopia/2016/Ayene

Almost one million children are in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition in Eastern and Southern Africa, UNICEF said today. Two years of erratic rain and drought have combined with one of the most powerful El Niño events in 50 years to wreak havoc on the lives of the most vulnerable children.

Across the region, millions of children are at risk from hunger, water shortages and disease. It is a situation aggravated by rising food prices, forcing families to implement drastic coping mechanisms such as skipping meals and selling off assets.

“The El Niño weather phenomenon will wane, but the cost to children – many who were already living hand-to-mouth – will be felt for years to come,” said Leila Gharagozloo-Pakkala, UNICEF Regional Director for Eastern and Southern Africa. “Governments are responding with available resources, but this is an unprecedented situation. Children’s survival is dependent on action taken today.”

Lesotho, Zimbabwe and most provinces in South Africa have declared a state of disaster in the face of growing resource shortages. In Ethiopia, the number of people in need of food assistance is expected to increase from over 10 million to 18 million by the end of 2016.

Releasing its latest briefing on the impact of El Niño on children in the region, UNICEF notes that:

  • In Ethiopia, two seasons of failed rains mean that near on six million children currently require food assistance, with school absenteeism increasing as children are forced to walk greater distances in search of water;
  • In Somalia, more than two thirds of those in urgent need of assistance are displaced populations;
  • In Kenya, El Niño related heavy rains and floods are aggravating cholera outbreaks;
  • In Lesotho, one quarter of the population are affected. This aggravates grave circumstances for a country in which 34% of children are orphans, 57% of people live below the poverty line, and almost one in four adults live with HIV/Aids;
  • In Zimbabwe, an estimated 2.8 million people are facing food and nutrition insecurity. The drought situation has resulted in reduced water yields from the few functioning boreholes exacerbating the risk to water-borne diseases, especially diarrhea and cholera;
  • Malawi is facing the worst food crisis in nine years, with 2.8 million people (more than 15 per cent of the population) at risk of hunger; cases of severe acute malnutrition have just jumped by 100% in just two months, from December 2015 to January 2016;
  • In Angola, an estimated 1.4 million people are affected by extreme weather conditions and 800,000 people are facing food insecurity, mainly in the semi-arid southern provinces.

The UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimated that it will take affected communities approximately two years to recover from El-Nino exacerbated drought, if agricultural conditions improve in the latter half of this year.

UNICEF humanitarian appeals are less than 15 per cent funded across El Niño-impacted countries in southern Africa.

UNICEF humanitarian appeals in El Nino-affected countries:

  • $US 26 million in Angola
  • $US 87 million in Ethiopia
  • $US 3 million in Lesotho
  • $US 11 million in Malawi
  • $US 15 million in Somalia
  • $US 1 million in Swaziland
  • $US 12 million in Zimbabwe

Ethiopia: US$1.4 billion urgently required to meet food and non-food needs for 10.2 million people

Ethiopia: Government and humanitarian partners launch the Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) for 2016

ETHA_2014_00103.jpg
Fartun Hassan, 25, mother of 4, makes her way home in Yahas-Jamal Keble in Somali region of Ethiopia 11 February 2014 ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Ose

Addis Ababa, 11 December 2015: The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners today launched the joint Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) for 2016. The appeal seeks $1.4 billion to provide 10.2 million people with emergency food assistance; 5.8 million people with water, health and sanitation; and more than 2.1 million people with nutrition including 400,000 severely malnourished children. The HRD also identifies funding requirements for education, agriculture and livelihoods, emergency shelter and relief items, displacement, and targeted assistance for women and children.

The impact of this global El Niño climactic event followed failed spring rains and led to erratic summer rains in Ethiopia, and contributed to one of the worst droughts in decades. Resultant spikes in food insecurity, malnutrition, water shortages, and health concerns surged well beyond global emergency thresholds and compelled a massive increase in emergency assistance by the Government and humanitarian partners. The needs presented in the HRD for 2016 were established through a robust, Government-led interagency assessment that resulted in a strategic overview and objectives, sector implementation plans, and detailed funding requirements.

The impact of the El Niño-driven disaster will be most acutely felt in the months ahead. “The Government has, and continues to provide exemplary leadership for humanitarian responses to the emergency,” said Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia.

“The Government has responded immediately, put forth its own resources, and led calls on the international community to scale-up response and funding. The humanitarian system and donor partners are moving quickly to step up, which is very encouraging,” Ms Eziakonwa-Onochie further noted.

“The highest priority remains food – some $1.1 billion is urgently required for emergency food assistance,” said Ms Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF’s Representative to Ethiopia. “We are confident donors will quickly provide this support, as this can prevent needless suffering and far more costly specialized nutrition interventions if we act now. In addition to emergency food aid, we must ensure nutrition, water and health are effectively resourced to meet urgent gaps as well.”

Mr Amadou Allahoury Diallo, FAO’s Representative to Ethiopia, stated, “We must capitalize upon the opportunity to utilize available water to support small-holder farmers for short cycle crops to restore livelihoods and reduce food importation.”

“In many areas its simply didn’t rain” said Mr Paul Handley, OCHA’s Head of Office. “This, in addition to affecting livelihoods, dried up potable water sources and affects nutrition and health concerns. Addressing this is a critical priority of the HRD for 2016.”

The Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team further calls on development partners and the Development Assistance Group to continue to work closely together to safeguard development gains and to identify durable solutions to cyclical humanitarian needs.

Children’s lives at stake as El Niño strengthens

Dehabo Seyre grandmother of two, walks in to temporary emergency rub hall tent built by UNICEF
Dehabo Seyre grandmother of two, walks in to temporary emergency rub hall tent built by UNICEF to receive recovery assistance after the failure of spring belg and poor summer kiremt rains caused by the climatic phenomenon known as El Niño, the number of people in need of relief assistance in Ethiopia reached 8.1m in October 2015. Government and humanitarian partners are exerting efforts to meet the food and non-food items needs for the affected population. Afar Regional State, Adaytu Wereda © UNICEF Ethiopia 2015/Tesfaye

NEW YORK/GENEVA, 10 November 2015 – An estimated 11 million children are at risk from hunger, disease and lack of water in eastern and southern Africa as a result of a strengthening El Niño, which is also causing droughts and floods in parts of Asia, the Pacific and Latin America, UNICEF warned on Tuesday.

The consequences could ripple through generations unless affected communities receive support amid crop failures and lack of access to drinking water that are leaving children malnourished and at risk of killer diseases, UNICEF said in a briefing note (hyperlink.)

Besides the immediate risks of death and injury, El Niño can lead to significant increases in diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, diarrhoea and cholera – which are major killers of children. When extreme weather deprives communities of their livelihoods, young children often suffer from undernutrition, which puts them at greater risk for illness, delayed mental development and premature death.

“Children and their communities need our help to recover from the impact of El Niño and to prepare for the further damage it could unleash,” said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “At the same time, its intensity and potential destructiveness should be a wake-up call as world leaders gather in Paris. As they debate an agreement on limiting global warming, they should recall that the future of today’s children and of planet they will inherit is at stake.”

World leaders will gather in Paris for the 21st United Nations Climate Conference, also known as COP21, from 30 November to 11 December. The goal is to reach a universal, binding agreement aimed at limiting global warming by cutting greenhouse emissions.

El Niños are not caused by climate change, but scientists believe they are becoming more intense as a result of climate change. Many of the countries now experiencing El Niño are those that face the gravest threat from climate change. Many of the areas affected also have high poverty levels.

The weather phenomenon, among the strongest on record, is likely to cause more floods and droughts, fuel Pacific typhoons and cyclones and affect more areas if it continues strengthening as forecast over the coming months.

Some of the countries most affected by El Niño include:

Somalia:  More than 3 million people are in need of support amid crop failures and food shortages, with severe flooding anticipated to exacerbate the situation.

Ethiopia: Currently, 8.2 million people require immediate food assistance and 350,000 children expected to require treatment for severe acute malnutrition by the end of 2015.

Indonesia: El Niño has also exacerbated the impact of peat and forest fires. In August and September alone, haze caused 272,000 people to suffer from acute respiratory infections – which particularly affect children.

Pacific nations: El Niño threatens to leave more than 4 million people without food or drinking water.

Central America: The drought caused by El Niño is one of the most severe on record, with some 3.5 million people affected in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Peru: An estimated 1.1 million people, including 400,000 children and adolescents could be affected, according to the Government.

Ecuador: Authorities believe 1.5 million people are at risk, about half of them children.

El Niño is a climate pattern linked to the warming of surface waters in the Pacific Ocean, which can have a profound effect on weather patterns around the world.  El Niño events tend to happen every two to seven years.