UNICEF Humanitarian Action Update Ethiopia 30 Oct 2008



- Government of Ethiopia is leading one of the largest humanitarian responses to severe acute malnutrition ever undertaken globally with over 137,500 children treated so far in 2008

- More than 84,000 children suffer from severe acute malnutrition and require therapeutic feeding every month

- Child survival situation remains critical in Somali, Afar and Oromia lowlands due to drought and the ongoing conflict


Extended dry season in the pastoral areas of Afar, Somali and part of Oromia regions, and below normal rainfall in Amhara, Tigray, part of Oromia and Southern Nations and Nationalities People's (SNNP) regions have resulted in poor seasonal crop production and further reduction in access to water and sanitation. The concomitant impact of climate change, global rise in food prices and the resulting low availability of food internationally have contributed to the onset of the most severe humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia since 2003. Women and children are facing grave humanitarian challenges including malnutrition, Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD), floods, poor access to health care services and critical water and sanitation shortage thereby compromising the well being of children.

In April 2008, the Government of Ethiopia reported 2.2 million people in need of emergency aid; this figure was raised to 4.6 million people in June. As of October, populations critically affected rose to 6.4 million, out of which one million are estimated to be children under-five. Another 5.7 million people are affected by drought and are supported by the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), out of a total 7.2 million beneficiaries. The situation in the lowlands of Afar, Oromia and Somali is of particular concern, due to drought, floods, epidemics and continued conflict in the Ogaden which increases the vulnerability of over 1.8 million people. More than 84,200 children have been identified to require monthly therapeutic feeding until end of 2008.