Ethiopia + 1 more

UNICEF Ethiopia Humanitarian Situation Report: May 2021



  • In May, 56,354 new medical consultations were conducted in Afar, Somali and Tigray regions through the 79 UNICEF-supported Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams (MHNTs), 11,692 of these in Tigray through the 30 active MHNTs.

  • UNICEF reached 412,647 people in May and 2,881,630 people between January to May 2021 throughout Ethiopia with safe water for drinking, cooking, and personal hygiene through the rehabilitation of non-functional water systems, water treatment, and water trucking; of these, 1,228,921 were in Tigray.

  • Since the beginning of the Tigray crisis, UNICEF has delivered 2,352 metric tons of multi-sectoral supplies to nine partners (including Regional Bureaus) working in the region, valued at US$ 4.6 million.

  • In May, UNICEF supported the treatment of 38,032 under 5 children with Severe Acutely Malnutrition (SAM) in Ethiopia (1,723 in Tigray); 40.6 per cent of these were in Oromia, 20.7 per cent in Somali, 15.4 percent in SNNP/Sidama, 12.7 percent in Amhara and 4.5 per cent in Tigray. A total of 152,413 children in the country have been treated for SAM between January – April 2021 with UNICEF direct support.

  • In Tigray, 25,763 people in the reporting month and a total of 81,613 women, men, girls and boys were provided with GBV risk mitigation and response interventions, case management services, support to GBV survivors and unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), as well as mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) for children and their caregivers.

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

The overall security situation remains volatile and access is still a challenge in Tigray, Amhara and Benishangul-Gumuz regions but is highly complex and fluid in Tigray. For instance, in terms of treatment of severe acute malnourished under 5 children, UNICEF estimates that due to hampered access, we cannot reach at least 33,000 under five children in Tigray. According to OCHA mission report in Tigray, ongoing active hostilities are very mobile, taking place mostly in rural areas and hindering planning and expansion of humanitarian operations. While hostilities have largely ceased in border areas with Eritrea in the last few months, from North-Western to Eastern Zones, access to these areas is often denied. Violence and attacks against civilians, including humanitarian workers, continue in Tigray. Since the start of the conflict, nine aid workers have been killed in Tigray, all Ethiopian nationals. Localized incidents of denial of humanitarian movement, looting and confiscation of humanitarian assets and supplies by the parties to the conflict continue to be reported in Tigray Region.

According to DTM Ethiopia national displacement report number 7, a total of 1.96 million IDPs (excluding Tigray) were identified in the country (1.2 million conflict induced). In Tigray, 1.6 million IDPs were identified in the last fifth round emergency site assessment and endorsed by the NDRMC. That brings the total IDPs in the country to be 3.6 million as of the reporting month.

Education partners that are mostly found in the main towns and out-of-school children in Sheraro, Abi Adi, Maichew and Adi Shuhu IDP camps in Tigray are not receiving any educational services currently. Education cluster coordination needs to be strengthened to ensure no duplication of efforts and equitable distribution of available resources, while major gaps remain due to vast needs for education the response in Tigray. There needs to be strengthened support for PSS/SEL training of teachers, school personnel and students who have passed through traumatic experiences.

The Belg rains normally start in the second half of February. According to regional DRMC weekly reports in SNNP and NDRMC updates, the 2021 belg rains were delayed by more than one and half months, hence the season harvest in June is expected to be far lower than the planned, a factor that will impact food security situation in belg dependent areas of Ethiopia. Preparations are underway to conduct multi-agency belg emergency needs assessments in seven regions of the country in June. Estimated reductions in production will be determined when the assessment is completed in July 2021 and the humanitarian requirements document (HRP) will be revised for the second half of 2021.

In Somali Region, since late April, a flash and riverine flood affected many parts of the region devastating farmlands and hampering access to communities affected by the flooding. According to a multi-agency rapid assessment conducted on 15th May 2021, a total of 85,100 households were affected and 24,008 displaced in Shebele Zone in Somali Region. The most urgent needs of the children are shelter, non-food items (NFIs), food, medical services, safe drinking water, WASH and cash assistance.

According to the FEWSNET Ethiopia May food security update, low performance of the belg season rain (only 35 per cent of belg crops planted), escalated market prices of staple foods, pushing inflation up to 19.2 per cent in April. Coupled with the high IDP burden, the food security situation is expected to deteriorate and increase malnutrition in the coming months. Reportedly, humanitarian partners are gradually scaling up the response, but are not yet keeping pace with the mounting needs due to active conflict, access constraints, interrupted communications, and a lack of funding.

In April, there were 38,032 SAM children newly admitted for treatment including 1,723 from Tigray (overall reporting rate of 87 per cent). Harari, Amhara and SNNP regions had a recovery rate of 90 per cent and above. Oromia constituted 40.6 per cent of the total admissions followed by Somali Region at 20.7 per cent. Nationwide, SAM admissions in April decreased by 7 per cent (2,843 fewer children) compared to March. However, they had increased by 25.9 per cent (7,811 more children) compared to April 2020. Compared to April 2020, a significant increase was reported in Tigray of +58.7 per cent, +52 per cent in SNNP/Sidama, +29 per cent in Oromia, +26 per cent in Amhara, and +8.9 per cent in Somali Region. The total SAM admissions reported in January-April 2021 represents 30.5 per cent of the HRP annual target of 522,199 (including refugees).

As for nutrition in Tigray, there are urgent needs to set up MHNTs for the next 12 months to compensate for the nonfunctioning health facilities outside Mekelle, and also to support a simplified protocol for treatment of SAM for the coming year which is expected to increase the caseload. There is also a need to have a warehouse in Tigray for efficient management of nutrition supplies and to conduct SMART surveys for a complete picture of the state of malnutrition in the region.

As of 31 May 2021, 271,541 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4,165 deaths (CFR=1.53%) had been reported in Ethiopia since the onset of the outbreak on March 13, 2020. All the regions in the country are reporting cases including Tigray. The distribution of cases by region is reported to be: Addis Ababa 177,003 (65.1%); Oromia 38,430, Amhara 11,402, SNNP 8,771, Sidama 8,413, Tigray 7,660, Dire-Dawa 5,272, Harari 4,294, Benishangul-Gumuz 3,543, Afar 2,690, Somali 2,498, and Gambella 1,475. A total of 238,734 patients (87.9 per cent) were reported to have recovered and 28,640 were active cases. Some 399 severe COVID-19 cases were admitted in designated treatment centers in Addis Ababa and across the regions in the reporting month. The trend of COVID cases showed a reduction in May compared to the previous successive months in terms of numbers, admissions, and positivity rate. As of 31 May 2021, over 1.82 million people had received the COVID vaccine (83 per cent of the allocated doses) as per the COVID vaccine implementation plan. Out of the total people vaccinated, 17,822 were IDPs in Amhara and 1,770 in Tigray. Ethiopia is expecting about 19 million doses of vaccines to vaccinate 20 per cent of the population; no specific dates are fixed yet for the arrival of those doses.

In May, a total of seven cholera cases with zero deaths was reported from Oromia; the other regions reported no cases of cholera. Since January, 1,570 cholera cases and 11 deaths with a case fatality rate of 0.7 per cent have been reported in SNNP (1,301 cases), Oromia (249 cases) and Gambella (20 cases).

Though there is no comprehensive data on school-aged out-of-school children in conflict-affected North Shewa and Oromo zones in Amhara, assessment reports reveal that there are urgent needs to resume education in the affected zones. In response, UNICEF has allocated USD 100,000 and is planning to amend an existing PCA with Plan International to provide Bete services for children affected by the recent conflict in the area (Bete is an integrated child protection and education approach).

The security situation in Metekel and Kamashi zones in Benshangul-Gumuz remains highly volatile with conflicts erupting in different woredas. The number of IDPs has increased to 236,698 in the region. Some 168 primary and 23 secondary schools in six conflict-affected woredas in Metekel and five woredas in Kamashi remained closed as at the end of May 2021, disrupting the learning of over 67,899 primary and 11,953 secondary school children. Some 30 primary schools in Liben Woreda in Guji Zone have remained closed since March resulting in over 10,000 children being out of school.