Ethiopia

Ethiopia Humanitarian Bulletin Issue #6 | 23 March– 05 April 2020

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HIGHLIGHTS

• The Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia requested the support of the Federal Government of Ethiopia and regional states to ensure uninterrupted lifesaving assistance to 7 million vulnerable people amidst COVID-19 response.

• Ethiopia counts 43 confirmed COVID-19 cases (as of 05 April 2020) with two reported deaths. Four of the patients have recovered.

The Office of the RC/HC requests Government support to enable uninterrupted humanitarian assistance amidst COVID-19 pandemic

The Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator (RC/HC) for Ethiopia requested the support of the Federal Government and regional states to ensure uninterrupted lifesaving assistance to people in need in a letter addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 1 April. In addition to humanitarian operations for COVD-19 response, there are at least seven million people targeted in the 2020 Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan requiring sustained support.

The support requested includes 1) facilitating the movement of humanitarian personnel, 2) ensuring that international and regional borders remain open for the import of relief items and movements of humanitarian staff into the country, 3) putting in place enabling procedures to help fast-track custom clearances of relief items, 4) fast-tracking the issuance of visas for humanitarian staff involved in COVID-19 response, 5) facilitating three-month extensions of work permits for staff of Non-Governmental Organizations, and 6) ensuring flexibility for Non-Governmental Organizations to re-program funding from existing approved activities to support the COVID-19 response. On behalf of all humanitarian partners in Ethiopia, the Office of the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator also reiterated its commitment to support the Government’s response to COVID-19.

Ethiopia expanding preparedness and response for COVID-19 as confirmed cases rise to 43

Since the first confirmed case was reported on 13 March, Ethiopia counts 43 confirmed COVID-19 cases (as of 5 April 2020) with two reported deaths. Four of the confirmed cases have recovered. While the majority of the cases reported are in Addis Ababa, Oromia and Amhara regions as well as Dire Dawa City Council have also reported cases so far. Testing facilities continue to be expanded across the country with the Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI) and Mekelle University (Tigray) currently testing, while testing will begin in Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) and National Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) (Addis Ababa), Adama, Jimma, Haromaya, Nekemt (Oromia), Bahir Dar, Desse, Gondar (Amhara), Jigjiga University (Somali) and Hawassa (SNNP), according to EPHI. The number of confirmed cases may quickly increase with more tests conducted.

As part of the national response, an inter-ministerial task force chaired by the Prime Minister was established and, effective 16 March, the Council suspended primary and secondary schools for two weeks, further extended for another two weeks until 13 April. The Council also banned large public gatherings, closed universities and land borders (except commodity trucks and COVID response supplies). Government offices are operating with at least halved human resource capacity.

The Council also allocated Birr 5 billion to the Ministry of Health (MoH) to ramp-up interventions to contain the spread of the virus such as procurement of health supplies and public awareness and outreach). Resource mobilization is ongoing at national and regional levels. Taskforces have also been established at regional levels to manage the pandemic.

COVID-19 pandemic is happening in a context whereby 7 million vulnerable people remain in need of humanitarian assistance (HRP 2020). These include IDPs and population affected by recurrent climate-related disasters such as drought and flooding. These population require uninterrupted, multi-sector life-saving assistance from the Government and humanitarian partners. There are also more than 700,000 refugees residing in Ethiopia supported under the Refugee Response Plan.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.