Ethiopia Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 8 May 2017

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 08 May 2017

Highlights

  • At least 2.2 million people require food assistance, in addition to the 5.6 million relief food beneficiaries identified in the 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document. The number is expected to further increase given the poor performance of the spring1 rains, in line with the National Metereological Agency forecast.
  • Measles and AWD pose a high risk of morbidity and mortality amongst vulnerable and malnourished children in the drought-hit areas, particularly children and pregnant and breastfeeding women.
  • A ‘command and control’ model of coordination was established within the Command Post to step-up the response and curb the spread of the AWD outbreak.
  • The Methodology Sub-Working Group convened its first meeting on 27 April, and proposed an early assessment in mid-May to enable early resource mobilization and a timely humanitarian assistance to affected communities.
  • NDRMC presented its Early Recovery Framework Concept Note to partners.

At least 2.2 million additional people require food assistance

The National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) officially confirmed the surge in humanitarian needs since January 2017. At the Disaster Risk Management Technical Working Group (DRMTWG) meeting on 25 April, NDRMC stated that at least 2.2 million people require food assistance, in addition to the 5.6 million relief food beneficiaries identified in the 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD). The number is expected to further increase given the poor performance of the spring rains, in line with the National Metereological Agency forecast.

Humanitarian needs have also surged in other critical life saving sectors. Rising levels of malnutrition are registered across the country where the overall admissions of severely malnurished children to Therapeutic Feeding Programs (TFP) increased by 18 per cent between January and February (given the two months lag- time in nutrition data reporting, February data is the latest available). In Somali region, the worst affected region to date, TFP admissions rose from 5,942 to an all time high of 6,619, based on suboptimal reporting rate of only 63 per cent. Response remains a challenge particulary with the lack of sufficient water and health infrastructure in remote, pastoralist communities that are hardest hit by rising malnutrition and disease outbreaks. Also of concern is the rising malnutrition rate in spring rain-dependent woredas in SNNP and parts of Amhara and Oromia regions. A 40 per cent increase in TFP admission was registered in SNNP region between January and February. The Emergency Nutrition Coordinaton Unit is considering an additional list of high-risk woredas that are not included in the 192 nutrition hotspot priority 1 woredas. These woredas are in spring rain-dependent areas where the rains are performing poorly. Land prepration and planting are significantly reduced. The rains are also late and patchy in the pastoralist south-eastern regions, especially southern Somali region, thus unlikely to bring relief to those in dire need of water and grazing replenishment.

AWD and measles coupled with malnutrition are posing a high risk of morbidity and mortality

Water shortage is exacerbating the on-going Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) outbreak, particularly in Somali region. At least 40 woredas across seven zones (of a total of 99 woredas) are currently affected in the region. The outbreak is reportedly spreading, including a resurface in Qoloji IDP sites in Babile where the Regional Health Bureau is re-establishing the CTC.

The Federal Ministry of Health is deploying over 1,200 health professionals, including 500 nurses and 68 doctors in AWD response. Humanitarian partners have also surged additional staff to Somali region to support the response. A ‘command and control’ model of coordination was established within the Post to step-up the response and curb the spread of the outbreak. At the Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team meeting on 26 April, WHO highlighted the need to give the same emergency focus to AWD-affected areas in Afar, Amhara, Oromia and SNNP regions, in order to address the outbreak before it gets out of control. At present, 90 per cent of the AWD cases are reported in Somali region.

Also of concern is the new measles outbreak in Somali region. Measles and AWD pose a high risk of morbidity and mortality amongst vulnerable and malnourished children in the drought-hit areas, particularly children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. Health partners are integrating measles prevention and response into the overall health planning.

Methodology Sub-Working Group activated to plan the spring assessment

Meanwhile, the Methodology Sub-Working Group was activated and it convened its first meeting on 27 April to discuss timeline for the spring assessment. Given the poor seasonal rains received so far - in line with the projections by the National Meteorological Agency - the group proposed an early assessment in mid-May. This will allow an early identification of the impact of the poor spring rains, which will enable early resource mobilization and a timely assistance to affected communities. Meanwhile, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission and humanitarian partners are finalizing a ‘most likely scenario’ document to inform the scope and magnitude of the deepening drought conditions prior to the spring assessment, and guide operational readiness.

NDRMC presented its Early Recovery Framework Concept Note

At the DRMTWG meeting on 25 April, NDRMC presented its Early Recovery Framework Concept Note to partners. The NDRMC, through its Disaster Response and Rehabilitation Directorate, plans to a) undertake sector-wide Disaster Recovery Assessment (DRA) in drought-affected regions of the country b) establish an Early Recovery Cluster/Task Force at federal and regional levels c) build capacity of regional bureaus and agencies, and d) establish a monitoring and evaluation mechanisms to monitor progress and impact. The concept note is being further strengthened and finalized and will be shared with various working groups in due course. Given the loss of asset of communities during the 2016 El Niño drought and the impact of the current lowland drought on pastoralist livelihood, Recovery is increasingly a priority for Government response. NDRMC will liaise with clusters for recovery initiatives in the current drought response. All clusters - with the exception of ETC and Logistics – are requested by the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC2) Principals to integrate early recovery in all phases of the Humanitarian Programme Cycle. This is meant to be the foundation for resilience building in a crisis or post-crisis context.

PSNP-HRD linkage

A team comprised of development partners and Government representatives was tasked with undertaking a rapid woreda and regional assessment of transfer processes. The overall purpose of this assessment was to better understand how PSNP transfers and relief food aid are managed at woreda and community level in order to inform recommendations regarding how the two systems can be better harmonized and consolidated in the future. The findings of the assessment were discussed at a stakeholder workshop held on 20 April 2017. The team found significant similarities in the processes involved in operationalizing a relief food response and implementing the transfer component of the PSNP. Participants that included Government and donor representatives from both PSNP and HRD discussed and agreed on the recommendations for a single needs assessment for PSNP and HRD; a single targeting structure and streamlined payment process; and a single appeals/grievance mechanism for both PSNP HRD. The Food Cluster is now monitoring and reporting on PSNP food and cash transfers, along with the HRD food dispatch and distribution.

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