Ethiopia is currently facing its worst drought in decades, with over 8.2 million people in need of food aid until the end of the year. The deteriorating food security situation has contributed to increased malnutrition among children with an estimated 350,000 children requiring life-saving therapeutic treatment in 2015.
Floods in the Somali Region, Mustahil, Kelafo and East Imey woredas of Shaballe Zone have killed five people, displaced more than 46,500 people, affected some 102,000 others and killed some 10,000 livestock. In these areas, schools have been forced to close, health clinics are affected, water pumps and wells are destroyed. Farm land is flooded and crops destroyed.
Scabies outbreak has been reported in 22 woredas in Amhara Region.
As of October 2015, Gambella is hosting some 277,732 South Sudanese refugees. The arrival rate has gone down with almost 90 per cent since the beginning of September.
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
8.2 million people, including 4.6 million children, will require relief food assistance during the last quarter of 2015
350,000 children will require treatment for acute severe malnutrition in 2015 (Government release, October 2015)
257,561 severely malnourished children were treated between January and September 2015, of which 42,803 have been treated in August (ENCU).
652,234 total refugees in Ethiopia (UNHCR, September 2015)
UNICEF 2015 humanitarian appeal of US$55 million is 63 per cent funded
1. Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
The El Niño global climactic event has wreaked havoc on Ethiopia’s summer rains (June to September). Following a rapid assessment in early October, the Government and partners concluded that the number of people requiring emergency food assistance had increased to 8.2 million compared to an estimated 2.9 million at the beginning of the year1 . The deteriorating food security situation has contributed to increased malnutrition among children with an estimated 350,000 children requiring life-saving therapeutic treatment in 2015 – a 25 per cent increase compared to 2014.
There are fears that this figure will continue to grow; efforts are currently underway to further identify the most urgent needs for the coming year.
Due to a massive national level screenings conducted in August the admissions for September were relatively lower than in August. In detail, the national levels of Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) admissions for September are 20 per cent higher than any other year recorded for the same month. It is believed that the SAM cases will continue to rise as most of the country is Meher rain dependent, which has already failed. Likewise, with a current cumulative amount of 257,561 admissions, the current trend indicates that 2015 will record the highest total admissions from the past years.
In September, Amhara Region recorded the highest monthly SAM admissions (6,489 children) as compared to past years. The nutrition situation in Amhara, much like other at-risk areas in Ethiopia, is driven by deteriorating household food security due to the failed Belg harvest, delayed early mature Meher crop production and delayed response of target supplementary feeding to address moderate malnutrition. Furthermore, Amhara is experiencing high levels of scabies among children in the region.
The effects of the drought are expected to extend through 2016. In most of the affected areas, the next rains are only expected in February/March 2016, and much will depend on the performance of these seasonal rains. The humanitarian situation is hence expected to deteriorate.
In October, floods killed two women and three children in Mustahil, Kelafo and East Imey woredas in Shaballe Zone of Somali Region. The floods displaced more than 46,500 people, affected some 102,000 others and killed some 10,000 livestock. Access to affected areas is limited as roads are cut off. Eight schools and 19 alternative basic education centers in Kelafo and Mustahil woredas are closed, leaving some 7,500 children out of school. Health facilities are affected by the floods while there is severe infestation from mosquitoes and increased threat of malaria outbreak. Whilst many water points are filled by mud, 21 hand dug wells have been destroyed. People are collecting water from unprotected sources with high risk of contamination for water borne diseases. Most of the farm land in the areas are flooded and crops have been destroyed.
A multi-agency team, including the regional disaster prevention and preparedness bureau, the regional health and education bureaus, Save the Children International, UNICEF, WFP and local NGOs (ARDA OWDA, , SOA), was deployed in the area from 27 to 31 of October. The team recommends urgent provision of food, non-food items (shelter, kitchen utensils sleeping mats, blankets), mosquito nets, water purification chemicals and provision of essential drugs.
As of October 2015, Gambella is hosting some 277,732 South Sudanese refugees, living within the host communities (16 per cent) and in refugee camps (84 per cent). Out of these, 220,108 refugees have arrived since December 2013. The arrival rate has decreased to 10 persons per day compared to 90 at the beginning of September 2015. In 2015, in total 28,723 South Sudanese refugees have arrived in Ethiopia while 191,385 have arrived in 2014.
A total of five suspected cases of meningitis have been reported among South Sudanese refugees in Gambella, with three cases confirmed. No case has been identified since 30 October. The Ministry of Health has recommended mass vaccination campaign. A population of 500,000 people is targeted by the campaign, which includes an estimated 277,000 refugees aged between 2 and 30 years in all camps as well as the surrounding host community.