Ethiopia: Government and Humanitarian partners scale up to meet additional immediate relief needs of El Niño-driven crisis

An additional US$164million urgently needed to address increased food
and non-food needs for the remainder of the year

Temporary emergency rub hall tent built by UNICEF for drought affected people in Afar National Regional State, Adaytu woreda (district), Ethiopia.
Temporary emergency rub hall tent set up by UNICEF for drought affected people in Afar National Regional State, Adaytu woreda (district), Ethiopia. ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Tesfaye

Addis Ababa, 13 October 2015: The Government of Ethiopia announced yesterday, during a meeting with UN agencies, NGOs, and Donor representatives, that the number of people in need of relief assistance in Ethiopia due to El Niño phenomenon had increased to 8.2 million. An inter-agency assessment conducted last month and led by the government identified an additional 3.6 million people in need of food assistance (from 4.55 million in August) as well as 300,000 children in need of specialized nutritious food and a projected 48,000 more children under five suffering from severe malnutrition.

An addendum to the joint-Government and humanitarian partners- Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) mid-year review was signed to officialise the increase in humanitarian needs. The National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee (NDPPC), the high level national advisory body overseeing the Government response, further requested the government lead a multi-sector, multi-agency annual meher assessment in October (rather than November). This will enable the Government and partners to expedite planning and assistance provision for 2016.

His Excellency Mr Mitiku Kassa, NDPPC Secretary, explained during the meeting yesterday that the Government committed some 4 billion Ethiopian Birr (US$192 million), to address emergency food and non-food needs as a result of failed spring belg and poor summer kiremt rains caused by the climatic phenomenon known as El Niño.

“The El Niño conditions have brought Ethiopia a great challenge, but the Government and Regional States are ready to meet the needs of the people alongside partners in the international community,” said Mr Kassa. He further stated that the Government would continue to allocate resources as necessary to meet the needs of the Ethiopian people.

“The challenge we have before us is incredibly serious, and it will take the collective effort of the entire international community to support the Government in preventing the worst effects of El Niño now and well into next year,” said Mr John Aylieff, Acting Humanitarian Coordinator and Country Director for the UN’s World Food Programme.

Abahina Humed’s arm measurement shows that the child is acutely malnourished. He is taking treatment at Gewane Health Center, Afar region, Ethiopia.
Abahina Humed’s arm measurement shows that he is acutely malnourished. He is taking treatment at Gewane Health Center, Afar region, Ethiopia. © UNICEF Ethiopia/ 2015/Tesfaye

Affected areas include southern Tigray, eastern Amhara, Afar, and Siti zone of Somali region, eastern SNNP, East and West Hararge, Arsi and West Arsi, and lower Bale zones of Oromia. Water and pasture shortages decreased livestock production and caused livestock deaths in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities.

The number of woredas (districts) prioritized for nutrition interventions doubled from 97 in July to 142 in September, and the number of severely malnourished children requiring therapeutic feeding in August reached 43,000 children. This is higher than any month of the 2011 Horn of Africa crisis.

“Donors have been generous,” said Mr Paul Handley, OCHA’s Head of Office, “but if we are to meet the significant needs before us today, and more in the months ahead, we need far more support. We count on that generosity to continue,” he said.

The Mid-Year Review of Ethiopia’s Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD), issued on 18 August 2015, listed $432 million in funding requirements with contributions totalling $258 million (or, 55 per cent funding). The September rapid assessment conducted at the end of September highlighted increases in humanitarian need across several life-saving sectors, most notably food assistance, targeted supplementary food (TSF), therapeutic nutrition, emergency water interventions, and agriculture and livelihoods. Factoring in the previous shortfalls with adjusted needs, the 2015 humanitarian requirements were adjusted to $596.4 million, leaving the HRD funded at 43 per cent.

The on-going effects of the El Niño may further affect the weather patterns this autumn, with Ethiopia’s National Meteorological Agency (NMA) predicting strong rains along the Omo, Shabelle, and Awash rivers. This may impact harvests in some areas and cause flooding during the last quarter of the year.

In addition to food and nutrition needs, Ethiopia’s Humanitarian Requirements Document outlines emergency requirements in the health, WASH, agriculture and education sectors. Most sectors saw the figures of those in need increase.

The Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team again calls on all partners to work closely together to address emergency needs whilst safeguarding development gains.

Three weeks ago the Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team also released a forward-looking document (prepared in consultation with Government) called ‘Ethiopia Slow onset natural disaster: El Niño Driven Emergency’, available to download here.

Ethiopia: Government and humanitarian partners launched the Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD)

US$230 million urgently needed to address food and non-food needs for the remainder of the year

ETHA_2014_00151.jpg
A man tends his livestock in Sankabar Kebele in Somali region of Ethiopia ©UNICEF Ethiopia/2014/Ose

Addis Ababa, 24 August 2015: On 18 August, the Government of Ethiopia officially launched the joint-Government and humanitarian partners- Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) mid-year review. The document is a revision of the 2015 HRD – released on 6 March 2015 – based on the multi-agency belg/gu/ganna/sugum national needs assessment, which was concluded in early July 2015.

The mid-year review includes the addition of 1.6 million people that require relief food, increasing the number of relief food beneficiaries in 2015 to 4.5 million. This represents a 55 per cent increase from the 2.9 million people projected to require food assistance during the year.

The Government recently earmarked 700 million Ethiopian birr or US$33 million for urgent response in areas where the humanitarian situation is deteriorating most rapidly and to supplement the on-going responses.

“The belg rains were much worse than the National Meteorology Agency predicted at the beginning of the year. Food insecurity increased and malnutrition rose as a result.” said Mr. David Del Conte, UNOCHA’s acting Head of Office. The normally surplus producing areas in the Oromia region, including Arsi and West Arsi zones, are requesting relief food assistance. Water and pasture shortages decreased livestock production and caused livestock deaths in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities. The number of woredas prioritized for nutrition interventions doubled from 49 in February to 97 in May, and the number of severely malnourished children requiring therapeutic feeding support increased by 14.4 per cent to 302,605.

“Donors have been generous,” said Ms. Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative and acting Humanitarian Coordinator. “But the situation facing us today marks a significant change in our plans, requiring the scaling up of assistance, now. We are counting on the unfailing generosity of our donor partners to meet the rising humanitarian needs,” Ms. Mellsop noted. She stressed that money spent now to respond to the food, nutrition, WASH, livelihoods and health needs, will prevent unnecessary human suffering, safeguard development and resilience gains, and mitigate costlier interventions in the future.

In the first half of 2015, half of the HRD requirements of US$386 million were funded. However, with the additional needs identified during the mid-year review, the financial requirements increased by 10.6 per cent, and US$230 million is now urgently needed to address food and non-food needs for the remainder of the year.

An on-going El Niño phenomenon may further affect the June to September kiremt rains. This may impact harvests in some areas, and cause unseasonal downpours during the last quarter of the year. “A failed belg followed by a poor kiremt season means that challenges could continue into next year,” said Mr. John Aylieff, Country Director of WFP Ethiopia. The meher harvest is the major harvest for much of the country. “With the Government in the lead, we will engage in early planning and pre-positioning of supplies to avoid any delays in response. I am hopeful that resource shortfalls will not continue to limit our operational capacity,” Mr. Aylieff noted.

In addition to food and nutrition needs, the HRD mid-year review outlines emergency requirements in the health, WASH, agriculture and education sectors. Most sectors saw their beneficiary figure increase, along with their financial requirements.

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