The Economic Case for Early Humanitarian Response to the Ethiopia 2015/2016 Drought
The Ethiopia Drought
In June of 2015, the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) declared that the spring Belg rains had failed. The declared number of people in need of humanitarian assistance rose from 2.9 million in January, to 4.5 million in August 2015. Only a few months later, in October of 2015, this figure was nearly doubled to 8.2 million as a result of the mid-Meher harvest assessments. In December 2015, the 2016 Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) was released, calling for US$1.4 billion in humanitarian aid to reach 10.2 million people in need. This was in addition to the 7.9 million chronically food insecure people who are provided with transfers under the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP).
Overview of the Analysis
The objective of this analysis is to conduct a Value for Money (VfM) assessment of DFID contingency funding that was provided early in this crisis. The hypothesis is that timely humanitarian funding – funding that is provided early, at the first signs of a crisis - should bring efficiency and effectiveness gains to the overall response. This analysis defines contingency funding as additional early funding triggered in response to the crisis through existing pipelines.
This analysis looks firstly at the overall response to the 2015/2016 drought in Ethiopia to assess the additional cost of the funding shortfall as of March 31, 2016. It estimates the cost required to meet the unfunded part of the HRD, by comparing three scenarios:
The cost to procure on time, assumed to be equivalent to the cost of filling the funding gap as outlined in the HRD;
The cost of late procurement, measured by evaluating the additional procurement cost required to fill the funding gap late; and
The cost of no response, measured by the potential economic losses to households as a result of a lack of response.
The analysis assumes as its starting point that aid provided meets people’s needs, either in part or in whole. That is to say that food, nutrition and WASH support at a critical period can help people survive the drought-induced emergency better than without such support. This study forms part of a wider evaluation of DFID multi-year funding and resilience in protracted crises. Qualitative panel interviews in Shinile, Siti Zone that are part of this wider study show clearly how timely food aid helped people cope with livestock and earnings losses.
Importantly, the figures presented here are likely to be a significant underestimate of the true cost of late response, as funding in the first three months of 2016 could very reasonably be considered as a late response. However, because the HRD was only officially released in January of 2016, the April Periodic Monitoring Report which reports in detail on funding per sector is used as a cut-off point.
Food, Health and Nutrition, and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) are the three biggest components of the HRD. They are also the three areas that received early funding from DFID, and are therefore the focus of this analysis.