2017 IN REVIEW
Throughout 2017, the Government of Ethiopia and humani-tarian partners responded to the rapidly deteriorating hu-manitarian context mainly due to drought and conflict. The year began with 5.6 million people requiring relief food assis-tance as a result of the impact of the Indian Ocean Dipole-in-duced drought in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia. The 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD)1 re-quested nearly $1 billion for multi-sector response to save lives and livelihoods. At mid-year, the number of people re-quiring relief food spiked to 8.5 million raising the funding re-quirements to $1.26 billion. An additional 4.1 million public works clients of the Productive Safety Net Programme, who are not included in the HRD estimates, continued to require relief assistance during the year.
The under-performance of the 2017 spring (February - May) rains - making it the third consecutive poor/failed rains in the southern and south-eastern lowlands - contributed to the deteriorated humanitarian situation. Areas needing ur-gent nutrition support (priority one woredas/districts) in-creased slightly mid-year from 454 to 461, nearly half of which were classified as ‘priority one’ (very severe) while tar-geted supplementary feeding needs increased by 76,000 un-der five children to 376,000 cases. Pastoral communities en-tirely dependent on their livestock bore the brunt of the drought crisis. Risk factors such as chronic water scarcity continued to drive livestock deaths (including drought re-sistant varieties), displacement and disease outbreaks, par-ticularly Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD).
Adding another layer of complexity to an already dire hu-manitarian situation was the upsurge in violence along the Oromia and Somali regional borders in early September 2017. According to NDRMC estimates, some 857,000 con-flict-displaced persons (IDPs) fleeing violence or fear of vio-lence were settled in close to 400 sites, across Oromia, So-mali, Harar regions often in areas experiencing ongoing drought-related humanitarian need – as well as the cities of Dire Dawa and Addis Ababa. The conflict and subsequent population displacements – while generating major humani-tarian needs and protection concerns – disrupted delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Flash floods caused by the overflow of Awash, Wabe She-belle, Baro rivers and backflow of Lake Tana affected 300,000 people in Afar, Amhara, Gambella, Oromia and So-mali regions, of whom at least 100,000 displaced.
The drastic escalation in the number of IDPs and associated multi-sector needs, the dire nutrition situation in Somali re-gion, harvest losses due to failed or delayed rains and the impact of Fall Armyworm infestation necessitated a further upward revision of the HRD requirement to $1.42 billion by mid-October.
Adding to these in-country challenges was the continued crossing of refugees into Ethiopia from war torn and drought affected neighboring countries. Influx of South Sudanese refugees fleeing renewed conflict in Maiwut, Mathiang and Pagak areas led to the establishment of new reception centres and expansion of existing camps in Gambella and Bene-shangul Gumuz regions.
The 2017 HRD requirement was 81 per cent funded, with some 8.5 million people assisted with relief food and cash, more than 1.6 million moderately malnourished children un-der-5 were supported with supplementary feeding and 256,000 severely malnourished children were enrolled in therapeutic feeding programs. At least 73,000 full ES/NFI kits were distributed to displaced households, including 9,500 households assisted with cash grants. Some 4.8 mil-lion people also benefited from health services, while several thousand were supported in the WaSH, Education, Protec-tion and Agriculture sectors.
With predictions that the current scenario will likely deterio-rate further due to the potential impact of a La Niña on the 2018 spring rains, chronic water and fodder shortages in the current drought belt, and the potential for a new larger scale AWD outbreak after February 2018, Government and partners are calling for continuation of current levels of support going into 2018.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.