In April, 78,573 new medical consultations were conducted in Afar, Somali and Tigray regions through the 79 UNICEF- supported Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams (MHNTs), 38,758 of these in Tigray through the 30 active MHNTs.
In the past three months, UNICEF reached 1,583,723 people throughout Ethiopia with safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene through the rehabilitation of non-functional water systems, water treatment, and water trucking; 641,976 of these were in Tigray.
Since the beginning of the Tigray crisis, UNICEF has delivered 1,282 metric tons of multi-sectoral supplies to nine partners (including regional bureaus) valued at US$ 3.2 million.
In February, UNICEF supported the treatment of 34,883 under 5 children with Severe Acutely Malnourished (SAM) in Ethiopia, 48 per cent in Oromia, 26.7 per cent in Somali, and 4.3 per cent in Tigray.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF’s Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal for 2021 is for US$188 million to sustain life-saving and humanitarian services for women and children in Ethiopia. To date, UNICEF has received over US$19.3 million, leaving a funding gap of 66 per cent. Without sufficient funding, over 300,000 children will not have access to formal or nonformal education and/or skills development training, including early learning opportunities, and over 77,826 children will not have access to mental health and psychosocial support. UNICEF expresses its sincere gratitude to the following donors for their valuable contributions; the UK’s FCDO, Canada, ECHO, OFDA, CERF, SIDA, Denmark, Finland and Japan. UNICEF Ethiopia’s appeal for Tigray, which is fully incorporated in the HAC, stands at US $47.6 million, with a 56 per cent funding gap. This appeal lasts until September 2021.
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
The vulnerabilities of women and children in conflict-affected areas of Tigray, Amhara and Afar are increasing as conditions continue to deteriorate and internal displacement rapidly expand even as access to these IDPs remains a challenge, especially in Tigray. To address GBV risks and vulnerabilities, 17,180 women and children across the country, 10,959 of them in Tigray, benefitted from GBV risk mitigation interventions such as awareness-raising and referrals to appropriate services. UNICEF carried out a field visit to two health facilities in Edagahamus and Freweyni town and found that water networks are damaged; rooms, compounds, and medical equipment were not functional.
Another joint monitoring assessment by UNICEF and the Regional Water Bureau (RWB) in Abi-Adi town found major gaps in WASH, i.e. inadequate water trucking; limited emergency latrines; not enough WASH NFIs to cover three months, and poor solid waste management. Water trucks and MHNTs continue to be directly impacted by insecurity and attacks by security actors, hindering adequate and timely delivery of essential services to affected population in Tigray. Contracted transporters also refuse to go out of Mekelle due to insecurity and large parts of the region remain inaccessible to MHNTs. The looting and vandalizing of health facilities has also continued, including to recently installed supplies in several locations.
UNICEF and partners screened over 172,000 under five children and found SAM levels at 2.7 per cent and Moderate Acute Malnutrition (MAM) at 19.6 per cent. Global acute malnutrition levels among 45,000 Pregnant and Lactating Women (PLW) were an alarming 46 per cent.
UNICEF and partners have identified/registered about 5,000 separated and unaccompanied children. Insecurity and lack of communication are hindering family tracing and reunification services. Approximately 1.3 million school-aged children remain out of school following the prolonged closure of schools initially due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but now protracted due to the crisis. While refugee schools in other regions have re-opened, an estimated 12,274 preprimary, primary and secondary school children (5,830 females) in Tigray (Mai-Ayni, Mai-Tsebr) remain out of school due to the conflict in the region. Reportedly, over 50 schools in Shire, Axum, Adwa, Abi Adi, Adigrat and Mekelle are occupied by 427,575 IDPs. Some 15 schools are occupied by the military.
In mid-April, UNICEF conducted a multi-sectoral GBV safety audit in Gelabo and Belbela IDP sites in Konso Zone,
SNNPR Region. Safety audits were also carried out in Tigray (nine IDP camps in Adigrat, Shire, Axum), in Amhara (Ranchi IDP camp, Agew Awi Zone) and in Benishangul-Gumuz (China IDP camp in Metekel Zone). The audits identified safety risks, protection concerns and specific vulnerabilities of displaced populations living in the IDP sites and the findings will inform existing and future programming. Key findings include insufficient or no lighting, lack of protective fencing around the camps and overcrowded shelters without lockable doors. While some camps had latrines and water points, some of these were not made of solid material, lacked functioning locks, and were not gender disaggregated.
Other camps, especially in Tigray, did not have latrine facilities and where water points were available, water supply was irregular. Education, nutrition and health services varied across the sites, but the findings show that most staff had not received basic GBV training. In addition, while GBV referral pathways may exist, service-provider who are in contact with women and children need to be briefed on their existence to ensure timely referrals. The reports propose agencyspecific and collective recommendations to be implemented to mitigate GBV/protection risks and vulnerabilities.
Some 95 schools (84 primary and 11 secondary) are reportedly damaged in Metekel Zone due to the ongoing ethnic conflict. There is an immediate need to rehabilitate the damaged schools and provide PSS/SEL training for teachers in order to restore education for the affected children.
The food security situation is deteriorating in many places which are affected by drought, desert locusts, conflicts, increased food prices, and general inflation. The impact is reflected in the increase in SAM) admissions in the regions As of 30 April 2021, 257,422 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 3,688 deaths were reported in Ethiopia since the COVID19 outbreak on March 13, 2020. All the regions are reporting cases, including Tigray which begun reporting in April after COVID-19 lab testing services were interrupted by the conflict. Regional distribution of cases is as follows: Addis Ababa (169,071); Oromia (36,083); Amhara (10,443); Sidama (8,203), SNNP(8062), Tigray (6,829), Dire-dawa (4,962), Harari (4,101), Benishangul Gumuz(3,390), Afar (2,573), Somali (2,324); and Gambella (1,401). In the reporting period, 198,862 patients were reported to have recovered and among 54,890 active cases, 962 severe COVID-19 cases were admitted to designated treatment centres in Addis Ababa and the regions.
Over 1.2 million people have received COVID-19 vaccinations as per the COVID-19 vaccine implementation plan.
UNICEF has deployed seven consultants to support COVID-19 vaccine roll-out: a consultant supports Communication for Development activities at the national level and six are supporting the cold chain, vaccine management, microplanning, and last mile vaccine distribution at national and sub-national levels.