Humanitarian partners and the Government of Ethiopia today launched the country’s Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP) for 2018, which is seeking US$1.66 billion to reach around 7.9 million people in need of assistance following recent successive failed or under-performing rains mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country, an increase in conflict-related displacement in the border areas of the Oromia and Somali regions, and a lack of recovery opportunities.
Whilst this document focuses primarily on immediate response requirements for 2018, it also lays out the basis for a three-pillared model that will allow for further planning and development investments:
- Prevention and mitigation.
- Preparedness and response.
- National systems strengthening and recovery.
The HDRP presents prioritized plans in water and sanitation, agriculture, relief food, nutrition, health, education, protection and shelter and non-food items in the affected areas. It represents a first step towards the development of a multi-year planning framework for the response in Ethiopia - with the aim of moving away from a short-term response. It also includes specific references and analysis on conflict and drought displacement.
"I hope the disaster risk management approach will equip us with the tools to collectively channel both development and humanitarian resources to address common root causes of high humanitarian needs and build resilient communities", said H.E. Mr. Mitiku Kassa, National Disaster Risk Management Commission, Commissioner. "Through implementation of the Disaster Risk Management Policy and enhanced capacity building from our partners, I am confident that the government will be able to handle future humanitarian needs."
Ethiopia is entering a fourth year of exceptional drought emergency. In 2017, severe drought conditions continued in lowland, mostly pastoral areas, rendering hundreds of thousands destitute and displaced. The southern autumn rains again underperformed, though not at the level of ‘drought’, meaning that levels of food insecurity and acute malnutrition in the lowlands remain high. Meteorologists, including the National Meteorological Agency (NMA), are predicting that the current La Nina phenomenon may lead to reduced performance of spring rains, particularly over southern and eastern lowland areas.
The well-managed, Government-led, lifesaving response will need to be sustained across southern and eastern parts of the country through much of 2018. Across highland areas there was a generally strong meher harvest, with some pockets of poor performance. Disease outbreaks are further expected to continue in 2018.
Additional humanitarian needs have arisen due to conflict, with 857,000 Ethiopians displaced over the past year around the border areas of Oromia and Somali Regions. Many of those displaced over the course of 2017 are likely to require continuing relief assistance and recovery support in 2018. Indicative modelling and projections show that humanitarian needs and financial requirements are likely to remain similarly high for the following two years (2019-2020), though could be mitigated through the introduction of some of the shifts in strategic and operational approach described here.
"Government has already announced new funding towards drought response and rehabilitation of IDPs", said Ms. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator. "Donors are requested to also ensure early support for critical humanitarian response activities - to ensure that pipelines of essential relief commodities don’t break as they did in 2017; and, to ensure that humanitarian partners working in support of Government service provision in ‘hotspot’ areas can sustain operations through the year. Research shows us that early action - or at least indicative funding decisions - are critical in this regard, not least to ensure that the children of families facing food insecurity don’t slide into acute malnutrition."