The expansion of the northern Ethiopia crisis beyond Tigray into neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions has caused significant displacement and created a new wave of humanitarian needs. Now 26.3 million people are in need across Ethiopia. This includes 14 million children, 6 million women and 4.3 million people with disabilities. Of these, 4 million people are displaced -- an increase in the number of IDPs by 1.3 million since April 2021.
To save lives, UNICEF is implementing a rapid response mechanism to expedite the delivery of life-saving supplies and support to hard-to-reach, vulnerable populations across all regions of the country.
To address the expanding northern Ethiopia crisis, UNICEF is widening its partnerships, rapidly dispatching emergency supplies to government and NGO partners, and prepositioning supplies for immediate use as needed across all three regions affected by the conflict including ready-to-use therapeutic food and water, sanitation and hygiene non-food items, and through deployment of Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams.
UNICEF is appealing for US$248.3 million to reach 6.9 million people and over 3.7 million children in Ethiopia with humanitarian assistance in 2021. This includes UNICEF’s revised 2021 Northern Ethiopia Response Plan (Tigray, Afar and Amhara) scaling up targets and budgets - with a funding requirement of US$108 million.
HUMANITARIAN SITUATION AND NEEDS
The complex humanitarian situation in Ethiopia has intensified in recent months with increased overlapping crises, exacerbating an already challenging context and situation for children and women across the country. Most recent data show nearly 26.3 million people are currently in need of humanitarian assistance, up from 23.5 million in February 2021. This includes 14 million children, 6 million women and 4.1 million people with a disability. Revised funding requirements have emanated from the expansion of the conflict in Tigray into the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar which have seen an increase in displacement from 797,608 displaced persons in April 2021 to now over 2.1 million people across these three regions alone – an increase of 164 per cent. Assessments carried out across the regions indicate the conflict has led to the widespread destruction of health facilities, occupation of schools by displaced persons, and lack of communication services, electricity, water, fuel and cash. The major challenges at this time include lack of access to food and nutrition, water, shelter and protection.
Further to the highly complex situation facing populations in the north, there are ongoing acts of inter-communal violence and conflict mostly often along ethnic and political lines in Amhara, Oromia, Somali, Benishangul-Gumuz and Gambella, as well as growing food insecurity – with an estimated 500,000 people facing IPC 5 famine – and daily increases in COVID-19 cases nationwide coupled with cases of cholera, measles and vaccine-derived polio across the country.
As a combined result of conflict, displacement, food insecurity, natural disasters and disease outbreaks, children across Ethiopia are facing alarming multi-dimensional poverty, violence, and lack of access to critical services to ensure their well-being including protection and education. Women and girls are particularly at risk of gender-based violence and harmful practices. The risks they face are increasingly diminishing a decade of gains in improving the quality of life of children in Ethiopia.
The inter-agency Humanitarian Response Plan and Northern Ethiopia Response Plan are concurrently under revision to reflect the increased needs of populations due to the exacerbating needs nationwide. Provisional estimates suggest that nearly 3 million additional people are in need of humanitarian assistance since April this year, including nearly 1.5 million more children, and that an additional 1.3 million people have been displaced in the north.
Resources available to respond to the humanitarian needs in Ethiopia are insufficient and risk leaving millions of children, women and men without the supplies and services they require to survive.