Ethiopia + 3 more

Humanitarian Action for Children 2021 - Ethiopia

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  • In Ethiopia, 19.2 million people, including 11.7 million children, 4 million women and 1.7 million persons with disabilities, urgently need humanitarian assistance.1 This is double the number of people in need in 2020 due to the impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID19), desert locust infestation and conflict displacement.

  • In 2021, UNICEF will deliver life-saving services to children and families and apply a targeted, multi-sector systems strengthening approach through its partners and eight field offices, and using cash-based solutions.

  • UNICEF will address the specific needs of girls, boys, adolescents, women and men using a conflict-sensitive approach, emphasizing accountability to affected populations and focusing on the prevention of gender-based violence and sexual exploitation.

  • UNICEF is appealing for US$188 million to reach children in Ethiopia with humanitarian assistance in 2020. This includes major funding requirements for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), health, nutrition, education and child protection.


The humanitarian situation in Ethiopia is complex, with 19.2 million people currently in need of humanitarian assistance as of August 2020, up from 8.4 million in January 2020.6 This includes 11.7 million children, 4 million women and 1.7 million people with a disability.7 Additional needs have emanated from the socio-economic impact of COVID-19 8 and the worst desert locust infestation in 25 years. Ethiopia remains vulnerable to other disease outbreaks, floods, conflict displacement and drought.

The pandemic has threatened the gains made to children's well-being, particularly due to its impact on poverty levels, the delivery of maternal, newborn, child, adolescent and youth health care and education and protection services. Given that women are primarily responsible for procuring and cooking food, rising economic and food insecurity places them at heightened risk of gender-based violence. Yet support for survivors of gender-based violence has been severely disrupted due to overburdened health systems grappling with COVID-19.

The locust infestation has devastated livelihoods and directly impacted food security for millions of people.9 An extended rainy season has led to flooding that has destroyed livelihoods, services and road infrastructure and caused displacement. The National Flood Task Force estimates that by December 2020, over 2 million people will have been impacted by flooding, and over 500,000 people will be displaced.

Ongoing insecurity, inter-communal violence and military confrontations have also led to displacement and undermined humanitarian access. Some 1.8 million people, including 1.1 million children, are currently displaced.10 The return of more than 1.4 million internally displaced people (52 per cent of them women) has further depleted community resources and increased humanitarian needs.11 In addition, 9.7 million people lack access to safe drinking water and sanitation; 687,000 children are severely malnourished, with needs expected to rise;12 26 million children are affected by school closures; and 2.4 million children require protection.13 Ethiopia hosts over 779,000 refugees,14 including 440,000 children.15 Children and women are extremely vulnerable to, and disproportionately impacted by, COVID19, other disease outbreaks, displacement and the loss of livelihoods. Refugees and internally displaced persons, particularly women and girls, will require protection from gender-based violence and referral to services.

The resources available to respond to the humanitarian needs in Ethiopia are insufficient. The limited number of partners,16 COVID-19-related operational restrictions, challenging topography, pockets of insecurity and access constraints are hampering the provision of humanitarian assistance.