Ethiopia: Drought - Emergency Plan of Action Operation Update n°6 (MDRET016)

Summary of Operation Update to emergency plan of action:

Through this operation update the Ethiopia Red Cross Society (ERCS) requests a 3-months’ timeframe extension of the operation to allow the NS to finalize the implementation of pending activities by 31st December 2018. The sectors and implementation areas remain the same. However, ERCS plans to intensify its support to south Omo, Southern National and Nationalities People (SNNP) due to the current ethnic conflicts in Oromia and Somali regions. Therefore, some of the planned activities for the two regions will be shifted to south Omo.

The operation has been impaired by the conflict in Somali and Oromia regions of Ethiopia. For a protracted period, ERCS staff could not access the operational areas and implement the planned activities in Babile woreda, Fafen zone of Somali and East Harerghe zone of Oromia regions. The office of ERCS in the area was forced to close and the staff were evacuated. The branch was vandalized, and assets looted. However, the deployment of Federal Police to the area has improved the security situation. In addition, the WASH assessments took longer than anticipated due to travel restrictions but is now complete and the implementation phase is expected to start shortly. It is expected that the WASH component of the appeal will be completed by the end of the year.

The focus of the operation through the extension will be the provision of safe water, animal health support, and nutritional support to children under 5 as well as pregnant and lactating women. It will also build capacity of the ERCS volunteers to provide support and monitor on going activities in targeted areas.

The IFRC want to mobilize resources enabling the ERCS to reach more beneficiaries. The needs are only partially met with an appeal coverage of 54%. Out of the total budget of CHF 3,304,731 the ERCS received from the Federation, CHF 2,852,082 (86,3%) has been utilized in support of the most drought affected people in the targeted areas.

Description of the disaster

The need for humanitarian assistances has been growing since the beginning of 2017. The government led multi agency assessment team deployed in all regions of the country in November 2017 assessed the performance of the Meher/summer rain over crop growing areas. They also assessed the performance of the short rain Dyre/Haggeya in the pastoral areas in the south and south eastern lowlands of Ethiopia. This report helped determine the humanitarian requirements of the country in 2018. According to the situation update produced by the early warning department of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), chronic shortage of water and fodder was observed in most parts of south eastern and southern lowlands of Ethiopia.

The malnutrition situation is worsening, especially in the Somali Region where the total number of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) cases recorded over the last 6 months (March to August) is 49,242 with an average monthly admission rate of 8,207. In Somali region, at least 1,285,713 persons (187,915HHs) from 70 woredas are at risk and would require emergency water interventions. According to weekly Bulletin of SNNPR Health Bureau, Public Health Emergency Management (PHEM) (Epidemiological week 27 of2018), the top 10 woredas that registered the highest number of SAM cases in June 2018 were Yirgachefe (190), Bulle (145), Kochore (206), Wenago (171), Konso (109),
Alle (99), South Ari (89), Bensa (75), and Aroresa (60). The high number of malnutrition in 5 woredas of Gedeo zone is mainly due to the high number of IDPs from the conflict areas in neighboring woredas of Gedeo zone and West Guji zone.

Storms experienced in the Somali region between April and May 2018 killed livestock (80 camels, 602 cattle and 2,074 piglets according to news reports), as well as destroying crops on approximately 190ha of land, 55 irrigation pumps and19 shallow wells. The destruction of crops further worsened the food security situation in the region. In Oromia, an assessment of water schemes confirmed that 219 sites were not functional. An estimated 302,357 people are relying on water trucking for water for household consumption. The scarcity of water is forcing children to drop out of school.

In Afar region, the Belg/Sugum rains in 2018 were late and erratic which affected agricultural production. In June 2018 the region received an average of 2-5 days rains against the expected 7-10 days of rain in normal seasons. The pasture and browse condition have been very poor due to high air surface temperatures, dryness and high evapotranspiration that prevailed in the last two to three months in the Region. The situation has negatively affected livestock conditions, which continue to deteriorate. Afar region is the most affected by water shortages.

While some parts of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNP) have good pasture coverage, lowland areas of south Omo, especially Dasenech, Hamer and Nyngatom woredas, are affected with little pastures available for livestock. Livestock are reportedly affected by lumpy skin disease, contagious bovine pleuropneumonia and contagious caprine pleuropneumonia disease outbreaks. These outbreaks follow the devastating effects of an anthrax outbreak which killed 182 animals in December 2017.

The conditions in Ethiopia are further worsened by insecurity because of conflicts. Since September 2017, at least 1.2 million people are internally displaced, mainly along the Somali-Oromia borders. A surge in conflicts has been affecting the region since 18 April 2018, due to growing tension in the region following political, social and economic reforms the Federal government is implementing all over the country. At least 141,410 people are displaced in Somali region following inter-communal conflicts which started on 4 August 20181. The displaced people are mostly sheltered in Jijiga city. The conflict has also affected implementation of humanitarian activities and provision of life saving support to drought affected populations.