Eritrea Humanitarian Situation Report: Mid-Year January-June 2020



  • The Government of Eritrea with support of UNICEF treated around 27,700 children under five with acute malnutrition: over 6,600 children were treated for Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) and around 21,100 for Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM). Over 109,500 children aged six to 59 months were provided with Vitamin A supplementation.

  • Integrated mobile clinic services enabled over 5,700 children to receive vaccination for different doses of routine EPI vaccines. UNICEF procured essential medicines for the treatment of childhood-related illnesses and more than 50,000 children were treated for diarrhoea.

  • The Ministry of Health with UNICEF support declared 246 rural communities across Eritrea open defecation-free (ODF), benefiting 196,800 people.

  • 3,000 units of materials and manuals / posters on integrated Mine Risk Education (MRE) for use in schools were procured with UNICEF support.

  • The funding gap as of 30 Jun stands at 61 per cent of requirements, or at 11.4 million USD.

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

With the ongoing Global Pandemic, resources and efforts are being directed towards containing and managing the COVID-19 outbreak. In Eritrea, this is exacerbated by the harsh climatic conditions, leaving communities in high risk areas, more particularly pregnant women and children under five, more impacted socioeconomically and exposed to risk of food and nutrition insecurity. The Southern and Northern Red Sea regions are the most vulnerable, followed by Anseba and Gash Barka regions. The lockdown and restrictions on movement to contain the spread of COVID-19 (along with the Business Continuity Plan by UNICEF and UN) affected some regular programmes, but essential critical services including nutrition, immunization and health services were accorded high priority and implemented accordingly.

Modifications to programme implementation have become necessary to ensure continuation of critical essential services and adjustment to the new situation caused by the pandemic, including reduced footprint in the Country Office. UNICEF continues to support risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) at national level to support prevention of COVID-19 and regular programmes including Infection Prevention and Control – IPC/WASH, Nutrition and Health interventions, and toward ensuring continuity of lifesaving activities. This includes supporting the government in the management of acute malnutrition, and supplementary feeding for pregnant and lactating women, Vitamin A supplementation (VAS) and stepping up immunization for measles and other common childhood vaccine preventable conditions. UNICEF is also supporting the government with social protection initiatives such as cash for vulnerable households.

Vaccines procured and shipped by UNICEF in May, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, enabled the country to have enough vaccine stock for routine immunization. The Routine EPI business continuity action plan is being implemented to sustain immunization coverage during the COVID-19 Epidemic. Routine immunization services were re-established across the country after one-month of slow down due to containment measures. The number of vaccinated children under 2 years against Penta-3 and Measles-Rubella (1+2) is 41,722 and 75,833 respectively. Guidelines for monitoring the continuity of essential Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health (SRMNCAH) services in the context of COVID-19 have been developed and implemented.