Key figures:

Food Insecure 10,200,0001
Refugees 731,0712
Global Hunger Index 32.23

Ethiopia is one of the world’s fastest growing countries, home to an estimated 85 million people. The Government is engaged in a major effort to transform the Ethiopian society to become a middle-income economy by the year 2025. Despite recording an annual economic growth of 11 per cent during the past eight years, more than 20 million people are living below the poverty line, according to the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) 2012-2015. Nearly 10 per cent of the population remains chronically vulnerable to food insecurity and dependent on national safety-net programmes. Every year several million people require emergency assistance to meet their basic survival needs. The population has doubled since 1984 and is projected to more than double again by 2050.

More than 80 per cent of the population live in rural areas and rely on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihood. Their vulnerability is frequently exacerbated by natural and man-made hazards, including drought, flooding, disease outbreaks, intercommunal conflict and refugee influxes from neighbouring states. Drought and flooding increase the risk of water-related disease outbreaks, particularly Acute Watery Diarrhoea, malaria and measles and especially among children under age 5. Access to clean water and basic health care, including life-saving maternal and neonatal services, remains low. Meanwhile, humanitarian access to some parts of the country and persons affected by crisis remains difficult due to poor transportation infrastructure and insecurity. Persistent drought conditions and insecurity in neighbouring Somalia, tensions in Eritrea and insecurity along the border between Sudan and South Sudan and conflict in South Sudan have resulted in large influxes of asylum-seekers into Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, which currently hosts the largest refugee population in the region, is likely to host more as conflicts in neighbouring countries continue. As of 15 January 2016, 731,071 refugees were hosted in Ethiopia. South Sudanese refugees (281,471 people) were the largest group, followed by Somali (251,797 people), Eritrean (136,246) Sudanese (36,602 people) and other nationalities (from Great Lakes, Kenya, Yemen, Djibouti etc., cumulatively 731,071  people). Within the refugee population in the country, 49.9 per cent are women and girls, and 53.5 per cent are children (Source: UNHCR). The number of IDPs in the country, including protracted and new IDPs, stands at 525,736 as of April 2015 (Source: IOM).

The forced return of Ethiopian migrants is expected to continue as a result of the Yemen crisis and security concerns in other member states in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. This return may stretch resources and affect key remittance contribution. It is estimated that at least 230,000 Ethiopians have arrived in Yemen looking for better opportunities over the past six years, some passing through on their way to Saudi Arabia others staying in Yemen. In 2014, IOM assisted 144,000 Ethiopians deported by Saudi Arabia, while assistance was also provided to the first Ethiopian migrants who volunteered to repatriate from South Africa.

Drought and El Niño response

The current El Niño wreaked havoc on Ethiopia’s summer rains in 2015. This comes on the heels of failed spring rains, and it has led to food insecurity, malnutrition and water shortages throughout the country.  A countrywide, Government-led inter-agency assessment concluded that over 10.2 million people will need humanitarian food assistance in 2016. When combined with the 7.9 million Ethiopians slated to receive emergency food and cash transfers, through the Government Productive Safety Net Programme, the total number of people receiving emergency food aid will be in excess of 18 million. Based on a review of past El Niño events, it is predicted that 1.5 million children and pregnant or lactating mothers will require supplementary feeding through 2016, and 400,000 children will become severely acutely malnourished. Some 2 million Ethiopians are expected to be without regular access to safe drinking water.

A well-coordinated, Government-led response is under way and expanding rapidly. The Government has allocated over $200 million of its own resources to emergency food and nutrition interventions, including by reprogramming infrastructure programmes. The Government and Humanitarian Country Team have jointly reviewed collective needs analysis and projections into next year. This evidence base has been used to develop a response plan and appeal, included in the 2016 Ethiopia Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD). It has three objectives: to save lives and reduce morbidity caused by drought; protect and restore livelihoods; and to prepare for and respond to other humanitarian shocks, including flooding and displacement. Ethiopia has achieved impressive economic growth over recent years, building a robust disaster risk management system to respond. Government-managed services are well established and supported by the international community. One of the HRD’s stated aims is to strengthen Government services at point of delivery. This means that if the plan is well resourced, it could leave a lasting developmental legacy.


1 Ethiopia Humanitarian Requirements Document 2016

2 Djibouti Humanitarian Response Plan 2016

3 IFPRI – Global Hunger Index, 2015

Funding to OCHA Ethiopia


Donors USD
Requirements for 2017 0
Earmarked Contributions 0
Opening Balance ** 0
Total (Contributions + Opening Balance) *** 0
Funding (%) 0%
* In 2017 OCHA received unearmarked contributions from the following donors:

Korea, Republic of
Unearmarked contributions (or commitments) are those for which the donor does not require the funds to be used for a specific project, sector, crisis or country, leaving OCHA to decide how to allocate the funds.
** May include unearmarked and earmarked funding with implementation dates beyond the calendar year
*** Excludes miscellaneous income (e.g. adjustments, gain/losses on exchange rate etc.)
Funding information from the OCHA Contributions Tracking System