Mid-Year Review of the Humanitarian Appeal for Ethiopia 2006

18 July 2006

Successive years of drought, failed agricultural seasons, livestock loss, asset depletion and chronic structural weaknesses culminated this year in the need to assist approximately 9.8 million people including 2.6 million emergency food recipients and another 7.2 million through the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP).  Consequently, in January 2006, the Ethiopian Government, together with United Nations agencies and humanitarian partners launched the Joint Humanitarian Appeal for Ethiopia requesting US$[1] 166 million in emergency food and non-food assistance.

In spite of international response received to date, substantial gaps in the food and non-food sectors of the Appeal remain.  In the non-food sector, some $111 million have been requested with only $36.7million in contributions confirmed to date (33%), mainly for drought-affected areas.  In the food sector, an estimated 2.6 million people are in dire need of assistance valued at approximately $182 million[2].  However, thanks to a significant carryover from 2005 as well as contributions received during the first half of 2006, estimated unmet requirements stand at $54.6 million[3].  Food requirements during the second half of the year are likely to expand as large numbers of previously unaccounted for beneficiaries will be entitled to receiving assistance.[4] Unless additional funding is received, severe cuts in the monthly food pipeline to beneficiaries are expected.  Accordingly, donors are urged to confirm prior contributions and to make new pledges to cover anticipated humanitarian needs during the remainder of the year.  The Ethiopian government, with support from the United Nations and its humanitarian partners is currently conducting a seasonal assessment to determine additional emergency food and non-food requirements for the remainder of the year.

Over the past six months, a series of external factors influenced the situation on the ground.  From January to April, persistant dry conditions increased the vulnerability of populations living in drought affected areas.  This was followed in April and May by heavy rains which contributed to sporadic flooding and impeded humanitarian access.  Health concerns regarding a spread of malaria and water-borne diseases increased as a result.  Nutritional issues, particularly over access to therapeutic foods also required particular attention.  During the same period, economic conditions in the country continued to deteriorate and prices of basic foodstuffs, livestock, and agricultural inputs rose dramatically.

Security conditions have emerged as a major humanitarian challenge in terms of access to the populations.  For example, in the Somali region large-scale counter-insurgency operations led by the Ethiopian Defense Force (EDF) against the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) have created disruptions in the distribution of emergency food and non-food relief assistance. 

Internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ethiopia remain in a state of extreme vulnerability with as many as 280,000 people affected as a result of conflict, economic shocks, drought and other causes.[5]  In May 2006, the International Organization for Migrationcompleted the return of nearly 6,000 IDPs from the Somali region back to their place of origin.  Following an agreement with the Ethiopian government in 2005, plans are underway for the conduct of a national assessment of IDPs during the second half of 2006.

Despite significant challenges, several important achievements have been made over the past six months.  Relief food has been dispatched in all eight regions benefiting from this type of assistance under the Appeal.  The World Food Programme(WFP) has dispatched 144,000 Metric Tonnes of food during the first half of the year.  Availability of blended food at the beginning of the year enabled emergency blanket supplementary feeding to take place in areas of particular concern, especially in drought affected areas.  Targeted Supplementary Feeding under the joint United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)/WFP Enhanced Outreached Strategy Programme has expanded into all 10 regions, and is now covering 411,360 beneficiaries.  During the first half of 2006, the programme has expanded from 176 districts to 271, including three additional regions (Afar, Gambella and Benshangul Gumuz).  UNICEF was able to quickly respond to the drought in Somali Region and the Borena Zone in Oromia though the use of pre-positioned funds.  Mobile health teams have been able to reach a significant portion of nomadic pastoralist populations.  Pre-positioning supplies located within the Ministry of Water Resources was used to respond to the drought and outbreak of acute watery diarrhoea in Gambella. 

The Appeal has also benefited from two new funding mechanisms established in 2006 that are geared towards providing a rapid and flexible response to humanitarian needs.  The Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF) for Ethiopia, which is managed by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator with support from OCHA, has disbursed its first allocation of $6.6 million for life-saving interventions in the drought-affected regions of Oromiya and Somali.  Moreover, an additional $4 million was received from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). 


[1]    All dollar figures in this document are United States dollars.  Funding for this plan should be reported to the Financial Tracking Service (FTS, fts@un.org), which will display its requirements and funding, continually updated, on the CAP 2006 page. 

[2]    Ethiopia’s 2.6 million relief food beneficiaries were scheduled to be reduced by 1.1 million during the second half of the year.  Current indications are that the reductions will not take place.

[3]    Including supplementary food.

[4]    See footnote 1 above. 

[5]    This figure excludes the latest displacements resulting from the Borena/Guji conflict which are believed to number tens of thousands. 


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18 July 2006

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