• 62,927 children were immunized against measles by the Ministry of Health (MoH), with support from UNICEF.
• UNICEF supported the Government of the State of Eritrea (GoSE) to reach 18,914 acutely malnourished children under 5, treating 4,518 for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and 14,396 for moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).
• Training on Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) and Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) counselling was provided to more than 235 health workers and 620 community volunteers.
• UNICEF is working to ensure sustained access to safe water for 4,500 beneficiaries by supporting the procurement of supplies and establishment of three community water systems led by the Water Resources Department of the Ministry of Land Water and Environment (MoLWE). UNICEF supported advocacy and behaviour change activities which enabled 67,000 people to adopt appropriate hygiene practices.
• UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to ensure the speedy dissemination of the new Education in Emergencies Plan, which was developed as part of the 5-year Education Sector Plan 2018-2022.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Due to its location in the dry and arid Horn of Africa region, Eritrea is vulnerable to climatic conditions with limited water sources, and bouts of drought every seven to eight years. Even in times of good rainfall, domestic food production is estimated to meet only between 60 to 70 percent of the population’s needs. Eritrea generally receives on average, low rainfall (mean annual rainfall in the highlands and lowlands ranges between 200 – 700mm, sub humid zones 700 – 1100mm and <200mm in the semi–desert areas); and mean annual temperatures vary between 15 to 32 degrees Celsius.
Climatic conditions experienced in the last two years have taxed the coping capacities of the population. In Eritrea, the majority of the population (80%) depend on subsistence agriculture for their livelihoods. The primary issues affecting children are malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, poor sanitation and water coverage, and the risk of explosive remnants of war (ERW) in certain areas of the country. Irregular migration with children falling prey to exploitation and trafficking has also been a concern. 542,000 children are targeted for humanitarian interventions in 2018.
It is expected that another Eritrea Population and Health Survey (EPHS) will be conducted in 2018 and will provide updated figures. Until that happens, UNICEF and GoSE base their calculations on EPHS 2010 data, which revealed that up to 23,430 children under-5 were projected to be at risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2018. The lack of new data is a major challenge for accurate assessments of the situation of children and women in Eritrea. Another challenge is that data on Integrated Management of Acute Malnutrition (IMAM) is not reported in a timely manner from therapeutic and supplementary feeding sites, and it was anticipated that the planned integration of nutrition data into the HMIS starting in 2018 would alleviate this situation. However, delayed data flow through the HMIS is still a problem.
According to data from the national Education Management Information System (EMIS) 2013/2014, there are 220,596 out-of-school children in Eritrea of whom 65,063 (31,002 girls) are of pre-primary school age, 64,123 (34,887 girls) of primary school age, and 91,410 (48,497 girls) of lower secondary school age. Many of these children are from nomadic communities in the drought prone regions of Anseba, Gash Barka, Northern Red Sea and the Southern Red Sea. UNICEF’s support to the national education response focuses on community involvement in setting up learning spaces, building capacity of teachers recruited from the local communities, and enrolling nomadic out-of-school children.
In 2018, for Mine Risk Education (MRE) activities, UNICEF is targeting 90,000 children in the affected communities. The EPHS 2010 indicated that there were over 150,000 persons with disabilities and 105,000 orphans in Eritrea.