Eritrea: Annual Humanitarian Situation Report: January-December 2019



• In 2019, the Government of the State of Eritrea (GoSE) with UNICEF support provided therapeutic and supplementary feeding services to 58,568 acutely malnourished children under-five: 16,356 children were treated for severe acute malnutrition, and 42,212 for moderate acute malnutrition.

• The GoSE reached 69,390 individuals with blanket supplementary feeding with UNICEF support; and more than 224,250 children aged six59 months were provided with Vitamin A supplements.

• In 2019, over 50,050 children under-five were immunized against measles, and more than 81,600 children affected by diarrhoea received access to life-saving curative interventions.

• In the Northern Red Sea region, 33 communities in Nakfa sub-zone were declared Open Defecation-Free (ODF), which helped Nakfa to become an ODF sub-Zoba (district).

• In total, 2,160 out-of-school children from remote areas were enrolled in schools through the UNICEF-supported Complementary Elementary Education (CEE) programme.

• UNICEF and Ministry of Education (MoE) jointly developed integrated IEC materials on Injury, Violence and Disability Prevention and Control in Schools and Communities, to support the effective delivery of integrated Mine Risk Education (MRE) and key message on different forms of violence against children.


As of 31 December 2019

528,750 Total people to be reached in 2019 (HAC 2019)

494,800 Total children to be reached in 2019 (HAC 2019)

UNICEF Appeal 2019 US$ 14.2 million

Situation overview and humanitarian needs

The GoSE plans to conduct a new Eritrea Population and Health Survey (EPHS) in 2020 and this will provide much needed recent data. However, the available EPHS 2010 data indicates high level of stunting and the proportion of wasting among under-five children in Eritrea to be about 15 per cent. While there has been no recent survey, programme generated data indicates progress over the years in addressing malnutrition. Situated in the Horn of Africa, Eritrea is characterized by harsh climatic conditions, including cyclical drought affecting groundwater resources and flooding during rainy seasons. These conditions erode the resilience of communities, making children susceptible to malnutrition and sporadic outbreaks of diseases such as diarrhoea and measles. Domestic food production is affected and is estimated to meet only 60 to 70 per cent of the population’s needs.

Eritrea has made moderate progress towards achieving global development goals and relevant indicators for access to safe drinking water, with only 58 per cent of the total population having access to improved drinking water sources, according to the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) 2015. There are disparities in access to improved drinking water between urban (73 per cent) and rural population (53 per cent); 19 per cent of rural communities still use surface water (JMP 2015). As per the 2015 UNICEF-WHO JMP, 11 per cent of the total population of Eritrea had access to basic sanitation services, and 76 per cent of the population practice open defection.

According to the joint assessment conducted by MoE and the Ministry of National Development (MoND) in 2018, there are approximately 340,000 out-of-school children (OOSC), the majority from nomadic and semi-nomadic communities who are vulnerable to natural disasters. As per the most recently published Education Management Information System (EMIS), the net enrolment ratio is 17 per cent for pre-primary (boys: 17.3 per cent, girls 16.8 per cent), 83 per cent for elementary (boys 85.9 per cent, girls 80.4 per cent), and 44 per cent for lower secondary school (boys 42.2 per cent, girls 45.3 per cent)
UNICEF’s support for national education focuses on community involvement in setting up learning spaces, building capacity of teachers recruited from the local communities, and enrolling OOSC from nomadic communities.
The risk of landmines and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) is a continuing threat to many communities, particularly in the border areas, and children face heightened risk from landmines and ERW. Continuous mine risk education in schools is needed.

The high-level meeting in January 2019 between UNICEF Deputy Executive Director and the Head of GoSE sought to focus efforts on community-based health/nutrition programmes, education, WASH, agriculture and systemic capacity development interventions.

Humanitarian leadership and coordination

Disaster response and management in Eritrea is coordinated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW). It is represented at the sub-national and community levels through its sub-regional offices. Support for emergency coordination and response is managed at sectoral levels through the Ministries of Health (MoH) and the Ministry of Land, Water and Environment (MoLWE). The Office of the UN Resident Coordinator and UNOCHA support wider inter-agency humanitarian coordination within the UN Country Team (UNCT), and UNICEF is a key member of the UNCT Humanitarian Needs Group.
There is no formal cluster coordination system in Eritrea, however, at the sector level UNICEF is the lead agency for Education, Child Protection, Nutrition and WASH, and actively engages with partners in Health. There are no registered NGOs in Eritrea, and all programmes are implemented directly by GoSE ministries and their agencies at Zoba and subZoba levels.