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Ethiopia: COVID-19 Humanitarian impact - Situation Update No. 12, as of 2 September 2020

Situation Report
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This report is prepared under the auspices of the National Emergency Coordination Center for COVID-19 response, led by the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), supported by OCHA Ethiopia with the participation of Cluster Coordinators. This issue covers the period from August 23- September 2, 2020.


• As of September 2, Ethiopia reported 54,409 confirmed COVID-19 cases compared to 39,033 on August 22. This made Ethiopia the fourth country in Africa with the highest caseload, overtaking Nigeria.
The cumulative number of recoveries has reached 19,903, while the number of deaths has increased to 846. Cases have risen exponentially in the last two weeks, with Addis Ababa counting a total of 31,979 cases followed by Oromia with 6,603 cases. (Source: MoH/ Ethiopia Public Health Institute, EPHI).

• The IDP COVID-19 response plan that initially targeted 56 IDP overcrowded sites and prioritized 26 sites with health, WaSH, and shelter intervention with US$ 11 million, has now been further prioritized to respond to the humanitarian needs with the resources and capacity available. The plan is currently targeting 10 sites with $ 5.9 million.

• On August 27, Ethiopia's COVID-19 State of Emergency Inquiry Board recommended the release of prisoners who meet pardon and probation requirements to reduce the spread of the epidemic within detention centers. The recommendation comes amidst growing fears of the spread of COVID-19 in congested holding centers, many of which are schools, town halls, and warehouses converted into detention facilities. According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), more than 9,000 people were detained in the aftermath of the June 29 assassination of popular Oromo musician Mr. Haacaaluu Hundessa.

• The Government of China donated the third batch of medical materials to help Ethiopia contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The materials include 500,000 surgical masks, 65,000 protective face masks for medical use, 10,000 pieces of medical protective clothing, and thousands of surgical gloves, goggles, and shoe covers. The donation will strengthen the COVID-19 response in Ethiopia.

• On September 1, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) and the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (HC/RC) for Ethiopia officially released the mid-year review document of the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). The Plan captures multi-sector needs due to COVID-19, floods and violenceinduced displacements, desert locust, and disease outbreaks such as cholera. Some 15.1 million people are targeted with emergency food and non-food assistance with funding requirements of $1.44 billion. The HRP is at its lowest funding level in at least a decade, with currently a gap of $929.6 million. OCHA is mobilizing partners for a collective fundraising drive in the next weeks and months to close the funding gap and address all identified life-saving needs. Find the document in the link:

• The first progress report of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19 was released on July 1 with a requirement of US$ 6.71 billion. The second progress report for the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19 has been released on August 31. The funding requirements for COVID-19 response have risen to $10.31 billion out of which $506 million is allotted to Ethiopia. As of August 31, $2.36 billion (23 per cent) has been funded. For further updates: and for GHRP second progress report


Humanitarian needs in Ethiopia have increased as a result of COVID-19, the impact of the desert locust infestation, floods, and changes to the displacement landscape.

In a statement with the Ethiopian News Agency (ENA), State Minister of Agriculture, Mr. Mandefro Nigussie said, the agriculture sector in Ethiopia has not been significantly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic due to dispersed settlement and the use of family labor in rural communities coupled with timely input distribution in this year's farming season. The nation was able to utilize about 85 per cent of the targeted 12.89 million hectares of farmland during this summer (Meher) season. At the end of this rainy season, the remaining 15 per cent of the farmland is also expected to be covered with a variety of crops. However, given the current alarming rate of COVID-19 reported cases, he added that his ministry is working with relevant stakeholders to combat the spread of the virus in the rural areas and to reduce its future impact on the agriculture sector, which is the backbone of the economy of the country.
The Minister of Education Dr. Engineer Getahun Mekuria, in a statement with Fana Broadcasting Corporate (FBC), said that preparations are underway to reopen schools for the next academic year. During the teaching-learning process, schools will be supplied with facemasks, hand sanitizers, and other related materials in partnership with stakeholders. Ethiopia closed all schools in March this year as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

According to UNICEF, in Ethiopia, school closure due to COVID-19 interrupted the schooling of 26 million children, suspended school-feeding programs to one million children, and hindered services delivered through Education in Emergencies programs.

According to WFP Eastern Africa Regional Director Mr. Michael Dunford, WFP requires $ 323 million to assist refugees in Eastern Africa over the next six months. The organization has already reduced food or cash transfer by up to 30 per cent for 2.7 million refugees in the region (Ethiopia hosts 769,310 refugees and asylum seekers, as of July 31. Source: UNHCR). If WFP is forced to continue cutting rations for refugees, this could prompt refugee communities to move within host countries or even across borders, as they become more desperate to meet their basic needs. Such movements could not come at a worse time – with the coronavirus spreading. Many have already lost the few opportunities to earn money due to the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 restrictions. WFP appealed to donors to step forward and assist refugees because their vulnerability only increased with COVID-19. On the other hand, UNHCR Ethiopia also faces funding shortfall and has received only 9.8 million out of its financial requirements of $ 34.7 million for the COVID19 response. The funding shortfall, coupled with delayed delivery of international procurement orders for PPEs, medicines, and medical supplies, is hampering the response efforts. Source:

As of August 31, close to 496,989 people were affected by floods in Afar, Amhara, Gambella, Oromia, SNNP, and Somali regions, of whom 134,889 were displaced. Houses were destroyed, livelihoods were lost, WaSH and other public infrastructures were damaged. The relocated/displaced people are sheltered in schools and inadequate tents without proper physical distancing or other protective measures in place against COVID-19. NDRMC has supported the regional governments to address the current displacement by providing food, NFI, boats, and helicopter in support of ongoing flood-response operations. NDRMC and local authorities have called on partners to scale up the humanitarian response for floods affected people. Critical gaps identified include ES/NFIs, boats, and finances to cover the full operation. Overall, floods during kiremt rainy season (June-September) are expected to affect more than two million people and displace more than 434,000 people. Speaking at the National Disaster Risk Management Coordination Council meeting on ongoing COVID-19 response and flood incidences across the country on August 28, Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister,

Mr. Demeke Mekonnen, called for immediate rehabilitation of the flood-affected population. He also stressed that natural disasters are unavoidable and called on increased investment in watershed and river basin development to mitigate the impact of floods.

In Ethiopia, the locust has affected a total of 452,966 hectares of land in Somali, Afar, Oromia, SNNP, Tigray, and Amhara regions. Only 430,482 hectares of the area has been sprayed using 393,756 liters of pesticide. According to NDRMC, for appropriate and early response, $48 million for locust control operation and $29 million for livelihood assistance is required.

The return of Ethiopians from abroad continues. According to IOM, Ethiopia received more than 27,700 returnees between April 1 and August 28. The majority came from Djibouti (6,944), followed by Somalia (6,696), Sudan (5,329), Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (3,162), Kenya (1,178), Kuwait (1,024), Lebanon (650), and other countries. At least 1,593 returnees are currently in quarantine centers. The Government, with support from IOM and other partners, is providing direct assistance to the returnees in quarantine facilities, including registration, food, water, NFIs, and onward transportation assistance.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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