Ethiopia: Drought - 2015-2019Ongoing
While Ethiopia battles residual needs from the 2015/2016 El Niño-induced drought, below average 2016 autumn rains in the southern and southeastern parts of the country have led to a new drought in lowland pastoralist areas, as well as in pocket areas across the country. As a result, some 5.6 million people in Ethiopia require emergency food assistance in 2017. In addition, 2.7 million children and pregnant and lactating mothers require supplementary feeding, 9.2 million people need support to access safe drinking water, 1.9 million households need livestock support, and 300,000 children between 6-59 months old are targeted for the treatment for severe acute malnutrition in 2017. Drought conditions are expected to peak during the dry December to March jilaal season, which is likely to lead to a sharper deterioration in livestock body conditions, and impacting milk production and nutrition status of the families that depend on livestock for their food and income. During the dry season, the response will be complemented by supplementary food based on regular screenings to ensure the most vulnerable are reached. (OCHA, 17 Feb 2017)
Southern and eastern Ethiopia continue to battle the impact of the Indian Ocean Dipole-induced drought, exacerbated by disease outbreaks, large scale loss of livelihood assets and displacement. The humanitarian situation countrywide has been further compounded by below average spring rains – the third consecutive poor/failed rains in the southern drought belt. [...] In the second half of 2017, some 8.5 million people will require emergency food assistance, some 3.6 million children and pregnant and lactating mothers will require supplementary feeding, some 10.5 million people will not have regular access to safe drinking water and some 2.25 million households will require livestock support. Partners also estimate that 376,000 children will become severely acutely malnourished until the end of 2017. (Gov't of Ethiopia, OCHA, 08 Aug 2017)
Since the revision of the Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) in August 2017, the humanitarian context in Ethiopia has continued to evolve which has led the Government and humanitarian partners to further adjust the HRD requirements. In the food sector the needs have been revised slightly upwards to accommodate an increase in the number of beneficiaries through the inclusion of 4 million former Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) clients in the HRD. In other sectors such as health and nutrition, needs have also continued to increase mainly due to the deteriorating nutrition situation in Somali region, increase in the number of displaced people, as well as the Fall Army Worm (FAW) outbreak that continues to ravage crops throughout the country. (Gov't of Ethiopia, OCHA, 19 Oct 2017)
Due to drought and large-scale displacement in the southern and south-eastern lowland areas of Ethiopia, humanitarian needs are expected to remain significant in 2018. As of September 2017, 1.3 million people, 64 per cent of whom are children, are displaced due to conflict and drought. The majority of these people will remain displaced in 2018. (UNICEF, 4 Jan 2018)
The meher assessment findings revealed that two previous years of consecutive drought, compounded with weak rains at the end of 2017 left hundreds of thousands destitute in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia. Poor pasture regeneration and limited water source replenishment for livestock have resulted in acute humanitarian needs and will reduce traditional recovery processes among pastoralist households. Consequently, the food security situation in the lowland agro-pastoral areas is not expected to improve significantly in 2018. Overall, the good harvest in highland areas, is expected to reduce large scale needs in the northern highlands, however reduced harvest and crop loss were experienced due to erratic rainfall in some potential areas. The multi-sector humanitarian response operation established over the course of 2017 will need to be sustained in 2018. The extent of needs and the corresponding humanitarian operation will be reviewed during the belg/gu/ganna assessment in June/July. (Gov't of Ethiopia, OCHA, 09 Mar 2018)
A recent FEWS NET survey in Dollo Zone of Somali Region suggests food security and nutrition outcomes have improved significantly in areas worst affected by drought in 2016 and 2017. These improvements are largely due to improvements in seasonal performance, continued humanitarian assistance delivery, and declines in disease outbreaks. Currently, worst affected areas such as Dollo Zone and much of southeastern Somali Region are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), with humanitarian assistance preventing a further deterioration among some populations, particularly IDPs. While the risk of a deterioration beyond Emergency (IPC Phase 4) has declined, continued humanitarian assistance is needed through at least September... The 2018 Belg (March to May) rains performed very poorly over most northern Belg-producing areas, leading harvests to be as much as 40 percent below average and delayed by one to two months. (FEWSNET, 12 Jul 2018)
Crisis (IPC Phase 3) outcomes are projected to persist through at least January 2019 across large areas of Somali Region, as drought recovery continues amidst recent conflicts. In addition, ethnic conflicts in Oromia along the Somali border and between West Guji of Oromia and Gedeo of SNNPR have caused significant displacement, restricting typical access to food and income sources. As a result, Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or Stressed (IPC Phase 2!) outcomes, only in the presence of humanitarian assistance, are projected to continue. (FEWSNET, 31 Aug 2018)
Appeals & Response Plans
Maps & Infographics
Most read reports
- FAO Early Warning Early Action report on food security and agriculture (January - March 2019)
- Multi-dimensional Child Deprivation in Ethiopia - First National Estimates
- Humanitarian Funding Update December 2018 - United Nations Coordinated Appeals [EN/AR]
The Early Warning Early Action (EWEA) report on food security and agriculture is produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). It provides a quarterly forward-looking analysis of major disaster risks to food security and agriculture, specifically highlighting:
A new Global Compact on Refugees has been agreed upon by UN members states. The compact will further guide the roll-out of Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in Ethiopia, and across the world.
Two multi-dollar investments were made by the global fund ‘Education Cannot Wait’ and the African Development Bank in December which have potential to further the Global Compact and CRRF agenda in Ethiopia.
At the end of December 2018, 21 Humanitarian Response Plans (HRP) and the Syria Regional Response Plan (3RP) required US$24.93 billion to assist 97.9 million people in urgent need of humanitarian support. The requirements remained unchanged as of the end of November 2018. The plans are funded at $14.58 billion which amounts to 58.5 per cent of financial requirements for 2018. Notably, the percentage of total funding contributed through humanitarian response plans carried out by the UN with partners in 2018 is estimated at 62.9%.
Rainfall brings relief to dry conditions across South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Angola
Africa Weather Hazards
An erratic rainfall distribution since the Short-Rains season has caused large seasonal dryness in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
Continued below average rainfall since October has resulted in significant moisture deficits throughout southern Africa.
Several consecutive weeks of poor rainfall has led to anomalous dryness across Madagascar.
• At the conclusion of the Deyr/short rains season, there remain large areas of drier-than-normal conditions across Somalia, in parts of eastern and southern Ethiopia, in eastern Kenya, and along the Kenya-Uganda border. However, December rainfall alleviated cumulative deficits in parts of the eastern Horn, bringing short-term but significant relief to pasture and water resources.
Drought develops in eastern Africa as dryness strengthens across southern Africa
A poor start to the Short-Rains season has resulted in large seasonal dryness in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
Insufficient rainfall since October has led to large moisture deficits in South Africa, Lesotho, and Botswana.
Several weeks of poor rainfall has caused dryness across Madagascar.
Many weeks of below-average rainfall has strengthened dryness in Angola, Namibia, Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa.
This brief summarizes FEWS NET’s most forward-looking analysis of projected emergency food assistance needs in FEWS NET coverage countries. The projected size of each country’s acutely food insecure population (IPC Phase 3 and higher) is compared to last year and the recent five-year average and categorized as Higher, Similar, or Lower. Countries where external emergency food assistance needs are anticipated are identified. Projected lean season months highlighted in red indicate either an early start or an extension to the typical lean season.
Drought continues to develop across Kenya, Somalia, and southern Africa
Africa Weather Hazards
Poor rainfall distribution since the beginning of the Short-Rains season has caused large moisture deficits in Somalia, Ethiopia, and Kenya.
Insufficient rainfall since October has resulted in early-season drought across South Africa, Lesotho, and Botswana.
Several weeks of poor rainfall have caused dryness in central and western Madagascar.
The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) monitors trends in staple food prices in countries vulnerable to food insecurity. For each FEWS NET country and region, the Price Bulletin provides a set of charts showing monthly prices in the current marketing year in selected urban centers and allowing users to compare current trends with both five-year average prices, indicative of seasonal trends, and prices in the previous year.
According to FEWSNET issue of November 2018, seasonal rainfall has remained uncharacteristically erratic and significantly below average across most of Central and Southern Somalia, the SouthEastern Somali region of Ethiopia, and the Northern and Eastern regions of Kenya. However, several areas along the East Africa coastal strip and in the Somali region of Ethiopia received well above average rainfall amounts during this period.
Will an El Nino take place?
Current forecasts of Eastern Pacific sea surface temperatures (SST) and expert judgement point to a significant likelihood of an El Nino materializing: currently this stands at over 90% chance of it happening by early 2019.
How long is it likely to last and how intense is it likely to get?
Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa, faces a massive internal displacement crisis due to inter-communal violence and conflicts. The displacement crisis started in autumn 2017 and has escalated and spread in the second half of 2018. Meanwhile, there is dramatic political change brought about by the arrival of a new prime minister in 2018, an ongoing refugee influx from South Sudan and Eritrea, and millions of Ethiopians who need emergency food assistance and support to rebuild their livelihoods.
The IRC’s Watchlist 2019 highlights the countries we believe are at greatest risk of experiencing the worst humanitarian crises over the coming year.
UNHCR Senior Officials, including the Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, visited a site for internally displaced people (IDPs) in South Ethiopia. 2.4 million Ethiopians are currently believed to be IDPs.
Betty G, UNHCR High Profile Supporter and Ethiopian Singer, advocates for refugees’ rights, with a focus on women refugees, after visit to the Aysaita Refugee Camp in Afar As UNHCR works to enhance registration data, the monthly population of concern figures have been frozen as of 31 August 2018, to facilitate the completion of the ongoing Level 3 Registration.
36,000 mt of food assistance distributed
US$ 125 million, six months (November 2018 – April 2019) net funding requirements, representing 48 percent of total requirements.
4.43 million people assisted In October 2018
• According to the 2018 Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP) Mid-Year Review, 8 million people require targeted relief food/cash assistance until the end of the year.
Launch of the Global Humanitarian Overview 2019 and the World Humanitarian Data and Trends 2018
Short-term pasture and water improvements likely over the Eastern Horn with late season rainfall
Significant October to December rainfall deficits to result in below-average crop and livestock production
Urgent legislative and policy measures crucial to ensure zero hunger