Ethiopia + 2 more

UNICEF Ethiopia Humanitarian Situation Report #1 – Reporting Period: January 2017



  • The revised hotspot woredas list (December 2016) classified 34 additional hotspot woredas as compared with the last classification which took place in July 2016. Of the 192 hotspot woredas, 67 are found in the Somali region, 43 are in Oromia, nine are in SNNP and 23 are in Afar region.

  • UNICEF has procured 200,000 tubes of scabies treatment cream permethrin 5 per cent, and 200,000 more tubes are in the pipeline. A total of 750,000 tubes have been procured by UNICEF since early 2016.

  • In Somali region, with UNICEF support, the Regional Water Bureau (RWB) deployed a mobile maintenance team (three more teams to be deployed soon) to accelerate the rehabilitation of boreholes. UNICEF is supporting the RWB in the rehabilitation of 56 non-functional boreholes across the region.

  • In January, a new influx of 3,062 asylum seekers from Somalia arrived in Ethiopia. The asylum seekers are fleeing conflict compounded by food insecurity.


5.6 million people* require relief food assistance in 2017

304,300 children* are expected to require treatment for SAM in 2017

9.2 million people* require access to safe drinking water and sanitation services

2 million school aged children* require emergency school feeding and learning materials assistance

There are 793,321 refugees in Ethiopia (UNHCR, December 2016)

UNICEF requires US$110.5 million for its humanitarian work in 2017 (HAC, 2017)

  • HRD, January 2017

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

The Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) for 2017 was launched on 17 January in Addis Ababa and communicates the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia and the humanitarian needs for 2017. The HRD is based on the meher harvest assessment, which shows that normal 2016 meher rains (June to September) produced good harvests from November 2016. For this reason, the number of people that require food assistance decreased to 5.6 million from 10.2 million in 2016. The HRD also gives an overview of needs across other sectors including education, health, nutrition, protection and water and sanitation.

The estimated number of children that require treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2017 is 303,000 plus the 2.7 million children and pregnant and lactating women in need of treatment for moderate acute. The WASH cluster will target 9.2 million people, and the health cluster will target 4.37 million people for provision of access to essential health services and for prevention against communicable disease outbreaks. In addition, 2 million children are expected to benefit from school feeding programme and provision of school materials in order to continue their education. Children affected by drought will also be assisted to prevent child separation, labour and abuse.

Failed rains in pastoral areas from late September to December due to the IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole) caused a new drought in the Horn of Africa (HoA). The HoA drought is affecting pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in Bale, Borena, Guji, and East Hararghe zones of the Oromia region, nine out of 11 zones in the Somali region, as well as Gamo Gofa, Segen and South Omo zones of the SNNP region. Of the 5.6 million people targeted for food aid in the 2017 HRD, 74 per cent (4.2 million) are found in these three regions. Acute water shortages, poor harvests in agro pastoral areas, lack of pasture for livestock, and decrease in milk production are negatively affecting food security. Moreover, increased competition over scarce resources, in particular pasture and water, is increasing tensions among communities in drought affected areas.

To strengthen the coordination of drought response in the Somali region and southern parts of Oromia and SNNP regions, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) announced the immediate establishment of an incident command post. Afar Region is also experiencing a drought situation following the absence of rains during the dedda’a (3-6 days) rainy season in December. However, ongoing (mid-February) spring rains in most parts of Afar could alleviate the drought situation. Somali is the worst affected region with over 30 per cent of the region’s population requiring food assistance in 2017.

The impact of the drought is serious with increasing rates of malnutrition among children, a high number of children dropping out of school, severe water shortages as well as a large number of livestock deaths. Large scale population movements in many parts of the region are also being reported since end-December 2016 with people settling around water points. It is currently estimated that there are 24,400 families, mainly from pastoralist communities, who have settled around water points. Living conditions of these temporarily displaced people are often inadequate, vaccination coverage among children is very low and widespread open defecation poses a risk of disease outbreaks. The number of displaced people is rapidly increasing as the migration in search of water for people and livestock continues. Humanitarian partners, including UNICEF, have scaled up their response in the region.

The current meteorological outlook for Ethiopia does not suggest an improvement of the drought situation in the next few months. According to the National Meteorological Agency’s outlook for the belg 2017 season (February to May), below normal rainfall is expected in the southern and south-eastern parts of the country, which may further limit the availability of water and pasture in these areas.

The current drought is also affecting Ethiopia’s neighbouring countries, in particular Somalia. UNHCR is reporting an increasing influx of refugees across the Dollo Ado border into Ethiopia. According to UNHCR reports, in January 2017, a total of 3,092 refugees arrived in the country, 108 people per day on average. UNHCR advises there is a high probability of an increase in refugees from Somalia as the drought situation in the country is expected to deteriorate.

Children constitute 72 per cent of the new arrivals while children and women together account for 88 per cent of the new arrivals. Available statistics indicate high prevalence of acute malnutrition among the newly arriving children. The new refugees are being provided with food, water, sanitation and health services. UNICEF is also supporting UNHCR to ensure that refugees receive adequate preventive and curative nutrition services. In addition, South Sudanese refugees continue to arrive to Ethiopia with 3,189 new arrivals in January 2017. Ethiopia hosts the fifth largest refugee population in the world, and second largest in Africa with 793,321 refugees in the country. The majority of the refugees are South Sudanese (42.7 per cent), Somalis (30.4 per cent), Eritreans (20.8 per cent) and Sudanese (5 per cent).