About OCHA Ethiopia

Back-to-back seasons of poor or non-existent rainfall in 2015, exacerbated by the strongest El Niño phenomenon on record in the same year, led to the worst drought in decades in Ethiopia in 2016. Together with the Government of Ethiopia, humanitarian partners assisted at least 10.2 million people with food, and the largest emergency seed response in the country was rolled out to at least 1.5 million households. International donors contributed close to US$1 billion over the course of the response, while the Government of Ethiopia contributed more than $700 million. The combined Government and partners’ effort helped save countless people’s lives and averted a major humanitarian catastrophe in Ethiopia.

But Ethiopia is not out of the woods. While the country battles residual needs from last year’s drought, below average 2016 autumn rains in the southern and south eastern parts of the country, caused by the negative Indian Ocean Dipole, have led to a new drought in the lowland pastoralist areas, as well as in pocket areas across the country. As a result, some 5.6 million people in Ethiopia will require emergency food assistance in 2017, including 2.2 million people in the new ‘drought belt’ alone.

According to the 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD), which was launched on 17 January, some 5.6 million people will require emergency food assistance; some 2.7 million children and pregnant and lactating mothers will require supplementary feeding; some 9.2 million people will need support to access safe drinking water; and some 1.9 million households will need livestock support during the year. Partners also estimate that 303,000 children will become severely acutely malnourished in 2017. The document lays out prioritized plans in water and sanitation (WaSH), agriculture, relief food, nutrition, health, education, protection, and shelter and non-food items in the affected areas. At least $948 million is required to address identified food and non-food needs and save lives and livelihoods, including $598 million for relief food, $105 million for nutrition, and $86 million for WaSH needs.

The Government of Ethiopia is leading the response to the current humanitarian crisis with the same commitment and determination shown during last year’s drought response. So far in 2017, the Government of Ethiopia had allocated over US$47.35 million as a first installment for the 2017 HRD. The international humanitarian community is working to consolidate likely available funding for the HRD in the first half of 2017 to support Government efforts.

Ethiopia’s development progress has been remarkable. Most notable is Ethiopia’s advancement in social service delivery to all parts of the country. Today the bulk of humanitarian delivery is done with and through Government service providers, supported by international humanitarian actors where needed. Ethiopia is a bulwark of stability in the region, supporting operations in Somalia and Abyei among others.