UNICEF Ethiopia Humanitarian Situation Report No. 6: Mid-Year Report including Northern Ethiopia and Drought responses


Situation in Numbers

  • 29.7 million people in need (2022 draft HNO and HRP)*
  • 12.4 million children in need of humanitarian assistance (2022 draft HNO and HRP)
  • 4.51 million Internally Displaced People (IDPs) (DTM 2022) **
  • 870,507 pending and registered refugees (UNHCR, 30 Jun 2022)


• Of 1,085 woredas in Ethiopia, 317 woredas (29%) have been identified as Priority one, 147 woredas as Priority two (13.5%) and 93 woredas as Priority three (8.5%).

• From January to June, UNICEF has dispatched 262,457 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) across the county, and 323,791 children under five with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) have been admitted for treatment.

• UNICEF has facilitated humanitarian cash transfers to 34,414 households since the beginning of the year often linked with WASH, Health or Nutrition programmes; the majority of households have reported using the HCTs to buy food, drinking water and clothing for their children.

• UNICEF HAC appeal of $351 million remains 73% unfunded. Exacerbated needs due to climatic shocks and grave food insecurity will further increase the HAC funding requirements in August, which donors are urged to support.

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

In 2022, multiple overlapping and recurring emergencies including conflict, insecurity, social tension, drought, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic have continued to affect over 29.7 million people throughout Ethiopia, of which over 12.4 million are children across multiple regions. The emergencies have led to increased displaced populations and disruption of access to essential services, leaving communities vulnerable and in need of humanitarian assistance.

Following four consecutive below-average rainy seasons since late 2020, the lowland areas in the south and south-east of Ethiopia are experiencing an extensive and severe La Niña-induced drought. It is reported that over 2.1 million1 livestock have died. Though erratic and low intensity seasonal “Gu” rains (March to May 2022) have been reported in some drought affected areas, it was not enough to replenish water sources. In addition, the “Deyr” rain (October to December 2022) forecasts anticipate another below-average/failed rainy season. UNICEF estimates over 9 million people to be food insecure in Somali, Oromia, SNNP, Sidama and Afar.

According to NDRMC, based on a woreda hotspot classification exercise in January 2022, a total of 557 (51%) of 1,085 woredas were classified as first, second or third level of priority, of which 317 woredas were identified as priority one, 147 woredas as priority two, and 93 woredas as priority three. Compared to the classification from July 2021, a slight decrease of woredas has been observed, from 593 woredas in July 2021 to 557 woredas in January 2022. However, an increase from 305 to 317 has been observed in priority one woredas, while priority two woredas decreased from 178 to 147 and priority three woredas remained the same. The increase in priority one woredas can be attributed to the inclusion of 14 towns in Amhara region, the increased number of IDPs in Afar and Amhara, and the drought conditions in Somali, Oromia, SNNP, Sidama and Afar.

Conflict-related displacements have already occurred in several of these areas, heightening women and children's protection concerns and vulnerabilities. At the peak of the conflict over 2.4 million2 IDPs were reported to be displaced across Afar, Amhara and Tigray. In recent weeks, however, regional authorities in Afar, Amhara and Tigray continue to facilitate the return of IDPs. In Afar, the first phase of these returns is targeting IDPs from Abala residing at Logia, Semera, Dubti, Guya and Harsuma IDP sites. The exact number of those who have returned is not yet known. IDP returns are ongoing amidst the devastating impact of the conflict across northern Ethiopia, including decimated livelihoods of communities and destruction of public infrastructure and basic services. After ensuring safety and security for safe returns of IDPs, it is essential to reinstate public services, such as health centers, schools, water, electricity, and banking services, as well as provide support for the prompt rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged and destroyed homes. In addition to the conflict in northern Ethiopia, multiple military operations have been ongoing in Benishangul Gumuz, Gambella, Oromia and SNNP between UAGs and government, further exacerbating displacement. A key obstacle to reaching IDPs with needed lifesaving support remains the lack of access, especially in remote and hard-to-reach Kebeles. These have exposed women and children to protection risks and abuses.

Conflicts have also impacted the delivery of health services with many of the health facilities being damaged and/or looted. In Amhara, over 40 hospitals, 453 health centers, and 1,850 health posts were damaged, while a recent multisectoral rapid assessment in Zone 2 of Afar identified that 75 per cent of health facilities were severely damaged and looted. As a result of the damage to and looting of health facilities, health service access and quality has been highly impacted, and a majority of these health facilities have been providing only emergency and minimum packages of health services. Limited and lack of access to regions like Tigray compounded the situation of lack of health supplies and services including immunization, increasing the risk of vaccine preventable disease outbreaks like measles. In Tigray, through combined efforts for airlifts and road convoys notable improvements have been observed in providing primary healthcare services. However, due to equipment damage, most health facilities are unable to provide full emergency obstetric and newborn care activities. Whilst supporting the Regional Health Bureau (RHB) and Ministry of Health to rebuild the health system, UNICEF supports the delivery of health services through integrated Mobile Health and Nutrition teams (MHNTs) as a temporary solution to ensure continuity of essential health services to the population.

As of June, over 2.9 million children (17% of the school age children) across Ethiopia remain out of school, including 2.53 million due to conflict and 401,000 due to drought. Almost 50 per cent of those out of school children are entering their third year without any access to learning, heightening the risk of a lost generation for children in northern Ethiopia. Based on school damage assessments in May, more than 8,660 schools across Ethiopia are fully or partially damaged, 70 per cent of which were in Afar, Amhara and Tigray due to the North Ethiopia conflict.

Based on the data from the rapid assessment conducted in most of the affected areas and the approximate prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) estimated from the data based on MUAC measurements and from the massive "Find and Treat" campaigns, the nutritional status of children under five and pregnant and lactating women is quite fragile. Through the Find and Treat campaigns conducted across 215 woredas in 7 conflict and drought affected regions in Ethiopia, over 2.3 million children under five and 671,100 pregnant and lactating women were screened; the findings indicate a very high average proxy GAM ratio of 17 per cent among children. More than 40 woredas had a critical proxy GAM rate of more than 30 per cent. All drought-affected woredas in Somali and 89 per cent of drought-affected woredas in Oromia showed a high prevalence of global proxy acute malnutrition of over 15 per cent. From January to June, SAM admissions with medical complications have increased by 57 per cent in Somali compared to same period last year. In drought-affected zones of Oromia (Bale, East bale, Borena, Guji and West Guji) the SAM admission has increased by 79 per cent compared to last year. In conflict and drought affected region of Afar, SAM admission with medical complications increase by 264 per cent as compared to last year same period.

Factors contributing to a high number of cases of acute malnutrition and death include overburdened health facilities, lack of sanitation and safe drinking water, limited content and frequency of food aid and the upsurge of measles and other communicable diseases due to cross-border movements.