Ethiopia: Drought - Emergency Appeal Revision 2, n° MDRET016

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This revised Emergency Appeal seeks 13,686,550 Swiss francs (increased from 2,595,467 Swiss francs) to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Ethiopia Red Crescent Society (ERCS) in assisting 318,325 people for nine months. The expanded operation will focus on the following sectors: health; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH); livelihood, nutrition, food security. It also reflects a substantial increase in the target population, number of activities, an enlarged geographic scope and timeframe for implementation. The current funding gap is 11,742,626 Swiss francs. This Appeal takes in to account the findings and recommendations of the comprehensive meher (main crop season) assessment conducted by the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) and its partners, including the ERCS, in November and December 2016. The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this time of the evolving operation, and will be adjusted based on further developments and more detailed assessments. Details are available in the Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA).

The operational strategy


Ethiopia has been hit by frequent drought in the past three to five years with the 2015 El Nino induced drought described as one of the worst in decades resulting in high food insecurity and death of livestock in several parts of the country. According to the GoE, the positive impact of the 2016 summer kiremt/gu/ganna rains and the subsequent above-average meher harvest rains in northern and western parts of the country significantly reduced the number of people requiring food assistance from 10.2 million in 2016 to 5.6 million in 2017. However, the impact of the Indian Ocean Dipole1 and the failure of the autumn deyr/hagaya rains have negatively impacted the food security of pastoralist households in southern and south-eastern lowland areas and in pockets of areas throughout the country. The October to December rains started late and were infrequent especially in the southern and south eastern parts of the country, resulting in rivers drying up in several areas including Somali, Oromia and SNNP regions. In these areas, the total cumulative rainfall was well below average coupled with equally below average March to May 2016 rains thereby compounding the existing drought situation. The consecutive poor rainfall seasons have resulted in poor water and pasture regeneration and dried out water sources. This has led to death of livestock, high levels of malnutrition and food insecurity.
The ERCS and GoE counterparts from the department of agriculture, livestock and disaster preparedness at the zone level carried out assessments in Moyale district in November 2016. The assessment findings reflected evidence of emaciated animals, drying up of water sources and increased malnutrition. Further assessments in SNNP and Oromia regions in January 2017 confirmed similar situations of abnormal livestock deaths, lack of water, drying up of even the most reliable rivers in the region, and lack of pasture. The findings of these assessments were key in prioritizing geographic as well as sectoral areas for intervention in the revised appeal.
In Afar and northern parts of Somali region, however, near normal rains were experienced in November resulting in water and pasture regeneration and generally improved food security and nutrition. Coincidentally, these good rainfall conditions are conducive for the ERCS planned livestock re- stocking programme that will be carried out in March to May 2017.
It is against this background that on 17 January 2017, the Government of Ethiopia launched the 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) seeking US$948 million to reach 5.6 million people with emergency food and non-food assistance.
Needs assessment A rapid assessment was conducted by the ERCS in Moyale district in Somali region in November 2016. This was followed up by rapid assessments conducted in Kindo and Koysha districts of Oromia region and Male, Bena, Tsemay and Hamer districts of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) region in February 2017.
Assessment findings conclude that Kindo and Koysha districts of Oromia region have been assessed and ranked as priority 1 compared to priority 3 from the assessment conducted in November 2016. The findings highlight needs in the following areas:
WASH: In Moyale district, Muti Ambo, Dembi, Tuka, Argene, Medo, Bokola, Lega Sire, Bede and Tilo Kebeles2 have been severely affected by drought. 35 out of 50 ponds have dried up, with the remaining 15 ponds having a limited amount of water, which is contaminated by faeces. Some families reported travelling up to 30km for drinking water, where 20 litres of water cost about 25 birr (1.12 Swiss francs). School attendance has reduced by about 50 per cent in some Kebeles due to the lack of water.
In Kindo and Koysha districts, three major rivers and eight artificial ponds have dried up as well as individual farmer water conservation ponds. Nine out of 13 Kebeles have no access to water at all; water is usually brought in from outside or livestock travels 35-40km in search of water in neighbouring districts. In Male, Bena, Tsemay and Hamer districts, there are some non-functioning shallow wells and deep wells. Zone administration is trucking water with one truck assigned to each district. District offices are requesting additional trucks as the number of beneficiaries is increasing.
Food security: In Moyale district, reduction in milk availability has impacted the nutritional status of the milk-dependent pastoralist children under five who are at high risk of malnutrition. In Kindo and Koysha district 19,000 people registered with Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) and 5,100 people receiving basic food rations. However, there is a shortage of water for cooking. GoE started school feeding programme in nine most affected kebeles and all Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) cases are receiving assistance from GoE. In Male district, the zone administration is distributing food under the PSNP for those registered as well as supplementary food for lactating and pregnant women.
Livelihoods: In Moyale district, 80 per cent of pastoralists derive 70 per cent of their income from livestock sales and products. Shortage of pasture and water due to recurrent drought has adversely affected livestock production resulting in poor livestock body condition, death of new-borns and occurrence of livestock diseases. A total of 137 livestock have died and 71 cattle are diseased and there is a decline in livestock market prices.
In Kindo and Koysha district natural pasture has dried up due to the drought. A total of 139,368 cattle, 27,696 goats and 9,213 sheep remain at risk of starvation. Cattle are visibly losing weight and are too weak to travel to find water and pasture. Children are reportedly dropping out of school to look for water for livestock. While in Bena Tsemay and Hamer districts high death rates of cattle are reported. The cattle are prone to diseases like bovine pastoralises due to low immunity they have as a result of the lack of fodder and water.
Health: In Moyale district, the health centre has only one ambulance and limited emergency drugs available. Malnutrition screening was carried out to identify Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in October 2016 while measles screening is still ongoing. Overall health service delivery is not achieving its’ targets, especially the expanded programmes on immunisation, family planning, anti-natal care, post-natal care and child delivery.
In Kindo and Koysha districts 69 Health Extension Workers (HEWS) are active. As this area is endemic for malaria, there is a need for awareness on the use of mosquito nets. A small outbreak of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) was noted and controlled in February 2017. It was also noted there is a shortage of drugs for water-borne diseases in health centres. In Male, Bena, Tsemay and Hamer districts over 100 MAM cases have been reported. These districts also have high prevalence of malaria-prone, however the situation is being closely monitored by the Government.

Summary of response to date

Since the launch of the Emergency Appeal in January 2016, the ERCS has been able to provide:

  • Food distribution for 724 Pregnant and Lactating Women (PLW) and 2,289 under five children (934 females and 1,355 male) in which a two-month food ration for all 15 wards was also distributed.

  • Hygiene promotion and messages on how to cook the Coy Soya Beans (CSB) were carried at the distribution sites during distribution and were also given to the beneficiaries and care takers with a reach of 876 households.

  • Health promotion and nutrition messages on exclusive breastfeeding were given during distributions in addition to 770 women reached by the Community Based Health Care and First Aid (CBHFA) volunteers.

  • Post distribution household visits were carried out by volunteers and project staff for 4,447 households including home visits, school health and sanitation clubs in four schools to monitor and provide guidance on behavioral change activities.

  • CBHFA training provided for 75 volunteers including provision of tool kit for all 75 volunteers with one set planned per volunteer.

  • A WASH needs assessment was conducted for a sample of 282 households in Bidu in which the respondents were mainly women.

  • The ERCS volunteers conducted household awareness on hygiene and sanitation, AWD, identification and monitoring of SAM cases and linking with the health facility.

  • In addition, the ERCS has been responding with its own funds and through support from Movement and external partners since the early stages of the drought. Overall, ERCS has assisted 56,546 under five children and PLW with supplementary feeding, worth 840,000 Swiss francs from ERCS’s own national and regional fundraising efforts.

Beneficiary Selection

Interventions will be aligned with the IFRC-minimum standard commitments to gender and diversity in emergency programming, for example the selection of beneficiaries was based on their level of vulnerability, including: households that have lost their source of livelihoods (loss of crops and animals), the chronically ill, elderly, female-headed households, lactating mothers and under-five children (malnourished), pregnant women, and/or people with disabilities. The ERCS has been working closely with the Government, stakeholders and other agencies to ensure that there will be no duplication of interventions of activities.

Overall objective

The revised Emergency Appeal will assist 318,325 beneficiaries through the distribution of supplementary food, support to malnutrition screening and referral, community health services support, improved access to safe water and hygiene promotion, and reinforcing family livelihoods and coping mechanisms. The supplementary food component in the revised Appeal targets families with children under five and pregnant and lactating mothers.

Coordination and partnerships

The ERCS technical coordinators based in the headquarters Disaster Preparedness and Response Department participate in their respective clusters to allow for enhanced visibility of Red Cross Movement activities and ensure coordination with non-Movement partners. The ERCS is part of the Drought Technical Working Group organised by the National Disaster Response Mission Commission (NDRMC) in Addis Ababa. At zonal and woreda3 level, the GoE has organised Drought Response Task Forces in which the ERCS branches participate.
The IFRC supports the ERCS through its East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands (EAIOI) Country Cluster Support Team (CCST) and the Regional Office for Africa, which are both based in Nairobi, Kenya, and through an IFRC Operations Manager based in the ERCS headquarters in Addis Ababa.
In Ethiopia, the IFRC, ICRC and Partner National Societies (PNSs) participate in regular co-ordination meetings convened by the ERCS. All issues including potential bilateral and multilateral actions are discussed. Additionally, IFRC convenes regular co-ordination meetings in Nairobi with ICRC and PNS representatives to share updates on the situation in Ethiopia and neighbouring countries, and Movement actions to date.
There is an extensive PNS presence in Ethiopia, and all PNS’s have different strategies to support the ERCS drought emergency response. Discussion with the IFRC Country representative and the ERCS Secretary General resulted in an agreement that all partners’ drought response activities should be harmonised with the ERCS National Drought Response Plan.
The overall emergency response in Ethiopia is led by the NDRMC in close coordination with the Disaster Risk Management Food Security Services (DRMFSS) of the Ministry of Agriculture. Sector task forces have been established at national, regional, zonal and woreda level with the participation of all stakeholders including the ERCS.
To date, the GoE has allocated more than US$ 730 million to address critical humanitarian needs. National and sub-national committees have been established to oversee the distribution of relief supplies, which include food distributions, water point rehabilitation, livestock support, health services, and non-food items distribution for the internally displaced families.
The GoE, together with partners, has been able to respond to most of the increased health related needs attributed to drought. To maximise the response capacity, the GoE had divided the most affected woredas in each region amongst operational partners. With ongoing drought affecting mostly the southern and south eastern areas, partners need to re-look at scaling up their operational presence in these areas and programme focus to include emergency activities alongside their current development programmes.