Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) Ethiopia: Food Security DREF (MDRET026)


A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Across much of Ethiopia, 2021 assistance needs are at their highest levels since 2016. The country has faced multiple hazards in sequence in the last two years, due to conflicts, civil unrest, desert locust infestation, floods, and drought, which has contributed to a deterioration in food insecurity. The COVID-19 pandemic and locust infestation has further exacerbated the situation.

According to IPC Analysis of Acute Food Insecurity Situation May - June 2021 and Projection for July - September 2021 it is estimated that 5.5 million people are facing acute food insecurity in Tigray and the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara in Ethiopia, with 353,000 people in Catastrophic situation (IPC Phase 5), which is the highest number of people in this category since the 2011 Somalia famine. Furthermore, there are 2.1 million people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), and 3.1 million High potential exists for the situation to worsen given causal aggravating factors remain prevalent, and unaddressed. According to predictions from United Nations (UN) agencies and FEWSNET assessment reports; there are areas of the country which are experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3), that could fall into Emergency (IPC Phase 4) if immediate food security interventions are not prioritized. Latest projections for July to September 2021, are already indicating that the number of people in IPC Phase 5 is expected to increase to more than 400,000 Per FewsNet’s outlook from June 2021 to January 2022.

Meanwhile the situation generated from the Tigray crisis has caused authorites and humanitarian organizations to pivot their resources to support the affected populations in the north of the country – namely inside Tigray or in adjacent areas where the cascading effects of the crisis are most pronounced. The undeniable needs in these parts of Ethiopia, make this approach understandable; however, it has left considerable gaps in service provision elsewhere. There is an urgent need for a scale-up of support to underserved communities in other areas of the country.

In North Shewa zone and Oromia Special zone, in the southern part of Amhara region the humanitarian situation is of considerable concern. In May 2021, inter-ethnic violence resulted in the displacement of more than 250,000 people, and destruction of livelihoods, agricultural production assets including seeds and fertilizers, and household food reserves. Though inter-ethnic tensions have reduced, its impacts have triggered a worsening of the food insecurity situation in the zones. Latest IPC analysis indicates North Shewa zone to be experiencing Crisis (IPC Phase 3) levels of acute food insecurity – and given much of the population of the zone has received only limited assistance from humanitarian organizations. There are growing concerns that the situation could deteriorate even further.

On 13 August 2021, the Movement Emergency Coordination Taskforce which is part of the Strengthening Movement Coordination and Cooperation (SMCC) structure in the country, held a meeting which was attended by IFRC, ICRC, all in country Movement partners and chaired by the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS). During this meeting, the National Society acknowledged the emerging Acute Food Insecurity crisis in the country, and escalation of conflict in northern Ethiopia. Movement partners were called on to scale up their support across all areas of the country. This DREF operation will support ERCS to initiate response to the acute hunger crisis, particularly focusing on the siatution in North Shewa zone where there is a huge gap of humanitarian assistance in food security.