The Humanitarian Situation in Ethiopia

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Ethiopian staple food Photo:RNE/ANVA

The Government of Ethiopia published its biannual Humanitarian Requirement Document (HRD) last week, wherein they pointed to a worsening of the humanitarian situation in Ethiopia.

The number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has been adjusted upwards from 5.6 million to 8.5 million. Furthermore, the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) has been expanded in order to cover an additional 4 million people through the end of the year. The number of people without access to clean drinking water is estimated to be 10.2 million.

Some 3.6 million pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as children under the age of five are at risk of moderate acute malnutrition (MAM), and an additional 3.75 million children under the age of five are at risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM). It is expected that as many as 1.02 million people are at risk of becoming internally displaced as a result of extreme weather (drought or flooding) and resource conflicts.

The assessments presented in the HRD are contingent on the arrival of rainfall in October. If the rainfall arrives later than expected, the humanitarian situation will worsen dramatically. Moreover, the rapid spread of the new pest “fall armyworm” is threatening food production across the country. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has warned that two million hectares of fertile land could be adversely affected by the pest’s arrival in Ethiopia.

In order to address these humanitarian challenges, Norway has allocated NOK 23,5 million (USD 3 million) to a consortium consisting of three Norwegian NGOs operating in Ethiopia: the Development Fund of Norway, the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Norwegian Church Aid. Together, these organizations will deliver services related to water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH), and households’ access to food, including restoration of own food production, in order to save lives and livelihoods in the worst affected areas in Oromia and the Somali region in Ethiopia.