High humanitarian needs are likely to continue well into 2023 due to expanding drought and increased violence.
Malnutrition rates are increasing in Afar and Somali regions. More than 59,600 children under five and breastfeeding mothers in Afar need urgent blanket supplementary feeding.
Fuel shortage reported in Amhara, Tigray and Somali regions impacting lifesaving operations.
With this edition, OCHA Ethiopia launches the first bi-weekly digital Situation Report covering the humanitarian situation, needs, response and gaps country-wide. The weekly Northern Ethiopia Situation Report has been discontinued and will be included in this report. This report is prepared with the support and collaboration of cluster coordinators and humanitarian partners. In some cases, access and communication constraints mean that updates for the period are delayed and cannot be reflected. Boundaries, names, and designations of districts/zones indicated in the report do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. Please contact email@example.com for any comment or question you may have on this publication.
The humanitarian situation in Ethiopia remains dire and highly complex. While the drought in the southern and eastern parts of the country is decimating the livelihoods of pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities, heavy rains in some northern, western and southern parts of the country are causing floods and damages to houses and infrastructure.
In addition to climate-driven emergencies, conflict continues to be the main driver of humanitarian needs, displacing people by the thousands. Newly internally displaced persons (IDPs) are seeking refuge in overcrowded and sub-standard displacement sites or are setting up temporary make-shift shelters exposed to protection and health risks. The majority are taking refuge amongst the host community, who are themselves most often vulnerable. Meanwhile, IDPs in some parts of the country are returning to their respective areas of origin to restart their destroyed livelihoods. However, the returns are happening in a context whereby basic services are still not restored and the means to resume livelihoods are not yet put in place, exposing returnees to further risks and challenges.
Disease outbreaks are also on the rise, including COVID-19, measles, and malaria, pausing a high risk of mortality when combined with malnutrition, particularly amongst IDPs.
Overall, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has spiked since 2019, and more than 20 million people are estimated to be requiring humanitarian assistance in 2022. High humanitarian needs are likely to continue well into 2023 as a result of ongoing violence and expanding drought.
Insecurity and violence continue to uproot civilians from their homes, impacting their lives and livelihoods and hindering humanitarian access. In Tigray Region, areas along the Eritrean border, some areas in Eastern Zone and Western Zone remain hard-to-reach for humanitarian partners. Similarly in Amhara Region, the overall security situation remains volatile and unpredictable, especially in areas bordering Tigray. Clashes were reported in North Wollo Zone on 18 and 19 June. Some woredas in Waghemra Zone remain hard-to-reach for humanitarian assistance. Violence in Western Oromia (the Wollegas) and Southern Oromia (several locations in Guji and West Guji zones) also led to killing and displacement of civilians, destroying livelihoods and impacting the operations of humanitarian partners. The increased violence in June has reportedly led to large scale displacement from Gimbi Woreda to Diga Woreda in East Wollega Zone, as well as in Guji and West Guji zones. Insecurity in Oromia is also causing increased displacement into neighbouring Amhara Region. A marked increase of new arrivals (more than 20,500 people) is reported across Amhara Region due to the current hostilities in western Oromia.
Inter-communal violence in Gambella Region, Afar Region (Awsi, Gebi and Hari zones) and Somali Region (Liben Zone) were also reported during the month of June. In Benishangul Gumuz Region, the security situation in Metekel Zone has shown relative improvement paving the way for returns. Meanwhile, insecurity is still high in Kamashi and Assossa zones. Similarly, in the southern region, security has reportedly improved in Konso Zone as well as Derashe and Ale Special woredas, while it remains volatile in areas bordering West Guji Zone from neighbouring Oromia Region, including Gedeo Zone and some kebeles of Amaro and Burji Special Woredas.
The drought impact has worsened and expanded over the last few months. At least 8.1 million people are estimated to be affected across Somali (3.5 million), Oromia (3.4 million), SNNP (1.1 million) and South-West (200,000 people) regions, including more than 7 million people requiring food assistance, and more than 4 million people needing water assistance. At least 334,000 drought affected people who have the means to travel have also migrated since October last year, leaving behind their elderly and the sick family members. These numbers are expected to be revised upwards once assessments of additional areas affected by the drought are completed, particularly in Afar, which will be included in the new iteration of the Drought Response Plan.
The drought has ramifications across all sectors, not only on water and livelihood, but also nutrition, health, protection, and education. In East and West Hararge zones for example, there is an increase in the number of school dropouts because of drought-related migration and school closures. Protection concerns are also rife. While mothers are fetching water, children are left unattended for long periods, exposing them to violence and exploitation risks. Negative coping mechanisms are being seen across the affected areas such as early marriages. Reports from across the Horn of Africa region indicate a 50 per cent increase in child marriage and an increase in female genital mutilation (FGM), which is a precursor for marriage in most cultures in the region. The situation will further deteriorate if the upcoming deyr/hageya rainy season (October – December) will be below-average as forecasted.
On the other hand, spontaneous and organized IDP returns continued during the month of June. In Amhara Region, local authorities informed that more than 540 IDPs returned to 13 zones of Oromia Region. Also in Amhara, more than 29,700 IDPs were so far relocated to Jara site in North Wollo Zone, and more than 4000 IDPs relocated to Weleh site. Similarly, in Benishangul Gumuz Region, local authorities informed of ongoing spontaneous returns in Metekel Zone with more than 73,000 IDPs (nearly 16,000 households) reportedly returned to their respective areas of origin, 67 per cent of whom are in Madira and Dangur woredas. The returnees are going back to destroyed houses and livelihoods. Public infrastructure and services are also not fully restored. About 29,500 houses, more than 600 water schemes, about 700 health posts, 6 health centres, more than 90 animal health posts and more than 150 schools are also reportedly fully or partially damaged. The returnees urgently require emergency shelter, non-food items (NFIs) and food assistance, while mid to long term rehabilitation support is put in place, including provision of seeds and agricultural tools, livestock restocking, pest control and extension services to retore farming activities.
In Afar, the return of IDPs (spontaneous or assisted) continued during June. According to regional authorities, the majority of IDPs (an estimated 295,000) have already spontaneously returned to their areas of origin. Authorities supported the return of about 13,000 more IDPs in the previous two weeks. Over 50,000 remaining IDPs are planned to return within the coming three months, with the requested humanitarian support. A field visit by a partner to Dirma IDP site witnessed a considerable decrease in the number of IDPs and observed that displaced households are de-assembling their shelter in preparation for return to Megale. A joint assessment in Erebti Town also observed a noticeable increase in the town’s population.
In Somali Region, and according to preliminary findings of a multi-sectoral assessment conducted in five of the seven woredas in Liben Zone between 16 and 25 June, there is a severe lack of food and protection services to drought and conflict affected IDPs. There are more than 114,000 IDPs across 123 sites in the zone, of whom 65 per cent are women and children. A high number of separated and unaccompanied minors, elderly persons and persons living with disabilities were also confirmed in IDP sites in Qarsa-Dula, Deka-Suftu and Dollo of Liban Zone. In addition to scaled up food and protection assistance, urgent health and nutrition interventions are needed, particularly in sites in Kersadula, Deka-Suftu, Gora-Baqaqsa and Filtu woredas.
Also in Somali Region, preliminary findings from a multi-agency multi-sector assessment conducted in Dawa Zone between 16 and 25 June indicated that 43 per cent of water facilities across 53 sites hosting more than 227,600 IDPs were not functional leading to severe water shortages. Food insecurity and malnutrition is also a concern.
Similarly in Amhara, a multi-agency assessment conducted at the Turkish IDP site in South Wollo Zone on 29 June revealed overcrowded living conditions and sub-standard basic services. The site has been sheltering up to 3000 IDPs and refugees since April 2022. Assistance had been irregular and insufficient. There are no mobile health services, there is only one shower block and no waste management. Due to lack of latrines, people are reverting to open defecation which poses health risks. IDPs and refugees are also exposed to health and protection risks due to inadequate shelter. People are mostly sleeping under plastic sheets on concrete or bare ground in this rainy season. Food, health services, as well as NFIs such as mattresses and hygiene items as well as clothes are priority needs. According to the shelter and NFI partners, 95,000 IDPs in Waghemra and North Wello Zones continue to experience poor living conditions and 40,500 returnees remain in temporary shelters or damaged houses.
Measles cases were reported in Berehet and Minjar woredas in North Shewa Zone of Amhara Region as well as in two IDP sites (China camp and Woinshet IDP site) in Debre Birhan city. Of 44 cases reported, 13 tested positive two weeks ago. Chickenpox cases were also reported in Weleh IDP site in Waghemra Zone over the past three weeks. More than 380 cases were confirmed, of whom 30 per cent is amongst children under five years. Malaria cases are also on the rise since May 2022 with more than 540,000 cases reported to date across the region since a year ago, the majority in Central Gondar, South Gondar and West Gojam zones. The number of cases reported in the last week of June showed a 29 per cent increase compared to the previous week. Limited vector control supplies and improper use of nets are amongst the challenges for effective malaria control. Heavy rains pose a high risk for malaria and other water-borne diseases as the receding floodwaters have the potential to create stagnant water ponds, which provide a breeding ground for mosquitoes.
Heavy storms were reported in various locations in Tigray in the last week of June, also causing flooding. The floods have reportedly damaged shelters in IDP collective sites leaving people exposed to the elements. At Mai Dimu, for instance, several newly constructed shelters were uprooted, while the flood incident in Selekleka Woreda of North Western Zone on 26 June damaged 103 shelters impacting nearly 500 people, and killed some 654 livestock. Rehabilitation of damaged shelters and prepositioning of shelter materials is urgently required across rain affected areas.
In Amhara, more than 487,000 people are estimated to be affected by the floods across eight zones during this rainy season, including more than 29,000 people who are at risk of becoming displaced. In addition, about 45,000 hectares of cropland and 286,000 livestock are likely to be affected, and more than 630 social service structures such as schools, health centers, religious centers and water points are at risk of damage/closure.
Multiple shocks and protracted displacement have led to an overall deepening of food insecurity and malnutrition in many parts of Ethiopia. In Somali Region, there is a gradual increase in the number of severely malnourished children under five years at Gode Hospital stabilization center where 25 new admissions were registered in January, 34 in February 22 in March, 37 in April, 174 in May, and 252 in June. The rise in trends can be attributed to an increase in seasonal diarrhea and food insecurity amongst others. Humanitarian partners are supporting the hospital with capacity building, case management, supply provision, logistic support, and monitoring of the stabilization centers. sites. The Federal Ministry of Health, with WHO support, has also deployed an emergency medical team on 29 June.
Similarly, in Afar, malnutrition rates are increasing. More than 238,600 people are reported to be malnourished (70 per cent moderately acutely malnourished – MAM and 29 per cent severely acutely malnourished – SAM). Partners estimate a higher number of MAM cases to suffer from severe acute malnutrition across the region due to lack of therapeutic supplies. More than 59,600 children under five and breastfeeding mothers need urgent blanket supplementary feeding.
Humanitarian partners are mobilizing efforts to scale up the response across sectors and address the increasing needs emanating from multiple emergencies across the country. But the response is not yet where it should be. In addition to humanitarian supplies shortages, fuel shortage is causing delays and/or interruptions in response delivery.
Humanitarian partners in Waghemra and North Wello zones of Amhara Region continue to report fuel shortage, impacting operations. Similarly, fuel shortages and rising prices continue to be reported across Somali Region, with the Southern zones being the hardest hit, jeopardizing drought response efforts. Poor road conditions along the main roads of the Liban, Dawa, Shabelle, and Southern Afder zones are also preventing transport of fuel. Partners assisting with irrigation activities are facing difficulties in meeting expected outputs, hampering crop production in the irrigation schemes in Liban. In Tigray, as of end June, and since the resumption of convoy movement on 1 April, 25 fuel trucks or more than 1 million litres of fuel for all humanitarian operations reached Mekelle – even though partners require 2 million litres each month – including the fuel required to deliver incoming supplies.
As of 30 June, food partners have reached nearly 18 million people under Round 5 food assistance which started on December 22, 2021. This is the last round under the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan. Meanwhile under the 2022 distribution rounds, Round 1, which was launched on 21 April, so far reached 5.4 million people and Round 2, which started on 3 June, reached more than 1 million people in areas where Round 1 is completed. For the Tigray response, which has been delayed due to operational challenges, food partners are distributing food rations under the 2021 Round 3 which was launched on 30 October 2021; and as of 29 June, partners have reached 3.97 million people. Due to resource shortfalls, the number of people targeted for assistance in parts of Amhara and Tigray regions had to be reduced, while in Somali Region a reduced ration of cereals (from 15 kg to 10 kg) is being distributed under Round 2 of 2022.
In Tigray, between 21 and 28 June, an additional 652 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies (including 2 fuel tankers for humanitarian operations) reached Mekelle, bringing the total to 3,642 trucks since the resumption of road convoy movement on 1 April. Convoys to Tigray are becoming more regular and bigger in size from 170 trucks in April, to 1,102 trucks in May and 2,370 trucks in June.
Since January 2022, more than 1 million people (35 per cent of target) received education support, including school feeding, distribution of teaching and learning materials, Accelerated Learning Programme (ALP), Accelerated School Readiness Programe (ASR), mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) interventions and community mobilizations, capacity building of Parent Teacher Association, provision of teaching and learning supplies via cash transfers, multi-purpose cash for families, etc.
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