In Ethiopia, nearly 10 million people, including 4.4 million children, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in drought-impacted areas. (UNICEF, Jul 19 2022)
Four consecutive failed rainy seasons have brought on severe drought in Ethiopia’s lowland regions of Afar, Oromia, the Southern Nations Nationalities, Peoples’ (SNNPR) and Somali regions. Water wells have dried up and millions of livestock have died, resulting in mass displacement. Malnutrition rates are increasing at an alarming rate due to the drought. Across the four drought-impacted regions, an estimated 600,000 children will require treatment for severe acute malnutrition by the end of the year. In the Somali region, there has been a 43% increase in severely acute malnutrition admissions (SAM) for under 5 children in May 2022 compared to May 2021.
Drought conditions have persisted in ASAL counties (Arid & Semi-Arid Lands) following multiple failed successive rain seasons. This has led to conditions of severe to extreme vegetation deficit coupled with challenges of access to water. This has led to increased trekking distances to water points and grazing sites for livestock, leading to worsening livestock body condition scores and mortalities in some pockets of Garissa, Wajir, Marsabit, Isiolo, and Mandera.
The trend in the distance trekked by livestock in search of water sources from grazing areas, compared to the previous month, has continued to worsen across most counties.
74% of counties were above the Long Term Average with most counties being on a declining trend.
The drought emergency has worsened. 7.7 million people, or about half of the population, require humanitarian or protection aid. At least 7 million people have been affected by the drought, with 918,000 displaced in search of water, food, and pasture, including members of minority groups. Available reports point to a reasonable chance that famine may occur in 17 districts if crop and livestock production fails, food prices continue to climb, and humanitarian aid is not sustained to reach the most vulnerable populations.
The number of districts under Operational Priority Area (OPA) 1 has increased from 26 to 34 due to a spike in the number of people facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity (IPC Phase 5). There is need for urgent humanitarian assistance to be scaled up to avert catastrophic hunger & starvation.