Eritrea Mid-Year Humanitarian Situation Report: January – June 2017
• From January to June 2017, UNICEF Eritrea worked closely with the Government and partners to provide children and women with access to nutrition, health, education, water, sanitation and hygiene and child protection services and support, as per UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal.
• Since January, 16,037 children aged 6 to 59 months, 1,577 pregnant and 1,741 lactating mothers have been reached with blanket feeding in order to prevent further nutritional deterioration among people living in the drought affected sub-zobas in the Northern Red Sea Region.
• UNICEF has reached about 365,000 children aged 6 to 59 months with Vitamin A supplements, while 13,023 children with Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) and 4,159 children with Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) have been treated over the past six months.
• 50 communities across three regions of Northern Red Sea, Debub and Anseba have been reached with activities under UNICEF’s Community Led Total Sanitation programme with 50,000 people in these communities reached with hygiene education and messages through outreach activities.
• Landmines and explosive remnants of war are still present in four out of six regions in Eritrea, putting at least 460,000 children at risk. Since January, UNICEF has provided integrated mine risk education for 139 school teachers (32% female) and 19,000 school children in zoba Debub.
• UNICEF Eritrea has only received 29% of the humanitarian funding requirements for 2017, which poses a severe challenge for UNICEF to meet the needs of all affected children and women across the country.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Eritrea remains under UN sanctions in accordance with the UN Security Council Resolutions 1907 and 2023 which has resulted in declining donor funding. The ongoing drought and food insecurity which has affected 700,000 people has exacerbated the plight of affected children and women who are at risk malnutrition, water shortages and disease, compounding an already worsened situation.
There is increased need for water and sanitation in the absence of which waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea will further worsen the instances of moderate and severe acute malnutrition among children. Field monitoring reports and observations indicate continuing food shortage leading to increased levels of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, poor sanitation and water coverage, and risks associated with exposure to landmines and unexploded ordnances and illegal cross border migration of unaccompanied children as the primary humanitarian issues facing the country. An estimated 22,700 children under five projected to be affected by severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2017, and according to National data, half of Eritrean children are stunted. The total number of people who are targeted for humanitarian interventions this year is 450,000 children under 5 in the nutrition sector and 45,000 people for WASH interventions. In addition, revisions in the 2015 government financial policy has negatively affected the pace of programme implementation and livelihoods of families. The lack of new and relevant data continues to be a major challenge for an accurate assessment of the situation of children and women in Eritrea. The results of the “Eritrea Food Security, Nutrition and Livelihood Assessment” report is yet to be released by the government, and Eritrean Population and Health Survey which was billed for 2016 has been postponed without a clear timeline for its implementation.