Ethiopia’s humanitarian situation became increasingly precarious in April and May 2020 due to increased spread of COVID-19, cholera and measles outbreaks, decimation of food crops by locusts, and flooding.
Nearly 320,000 people in seven regions have received non-food items through UNICEF support to Regional Water Bureaus (RWBs). The assistance reached internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, communities vulnerable to COVID-19, COVID-19 treatment and isolation centers and communities affected by flooding and cholera.
The humanitarian response has become more difficult to deliver due to access constraints arising from COVID-19 travel restrictions and the need for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to deliver services and support safely
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Ethiopia’s humanitarian situation deteriorated further in April and May as a result of the countrywide spread of COVID19, the desert locust infestation and flooding in Southern and Eastern Ethiopia, as well as the continuing health emergencies, notably cholera and measles outbreaks.
In May alone, 470,000 people were affected by excessive rainfall that led to flooding. This resulted in 300,000 people being displaced with loss of lives and livelihoods in the Somali, Oromia, Afar, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) regions, Dire Dawa and Harari. The flood-related situation is particularly severe in Somali region: more than 79 per cent of the flood-affected and displaced people are located in Hudet and Mubarak woredas, Dawa Zone; in Dollo Ado and Bokolmanyo woredas and in Moyale and Kadaduma woredas. A National Flood Response Plan was shared in May 2020 with an estimated cost of US$ 30.7 million.
In April and May, 2,143 cholera cases and 24 deaths were reported in SNNP (1,875), Somali (234) and Oromia (34) regions. Since January, a total of 5,029 cholera cases and 68 related deaths were reported. In SNNP region, five zones and one special woreda reported cases. Dasenech woreda in South Omo reported 1,041 cases and 21 deaths, the highest in the region. The risk factors include poor access to health, unsafe water and poor hygiene and sanitation practices particularly in the remote pastoralist communities of South Omo zone. This area is subject to cholera outbreaks every year, but this year the number of cases and addressing the crisis has been exacerbated by the presence of covid19.
In April and May, 4,736 measles cases were reported, bringing the cumulative total from January to the last week of May to 22,000 measles, with 90 deaths. These figures are higher than the same period in 2018 and 20196 .