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Ethiopia: If funding remains insufficient, most life-saving operations will cease beyond March

07 Mar 2019


In 2018, Ethiopia was spared significant climate-related calamities such as the droughts of previous years. However, the significant spike in conflict-induced displacement, whcih almost doubled the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees, is contributing to increased humanitarian needs across six regions. In addition, communities affected by drought in recent years  have yet to recover and remain highly vulnerable to climate shocks, having exhausted their capacity to cope. 

This has required the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners to adopt response strategies that are better suited to the need of a more complex and sudden onset conflict-induced crisis.

The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners launch today the 2019 Humanitarian  Response Plan (HRP) seeking US$1.3 billion to reach 8.3 million people with emergency food and non-food assistance. But the plan clearly shows how they are now working towards a joined-up response strategy with development and financing partners in an effort to enhance people's resilience and find more durable solutions in prioritized geographic areas.

Funding, however, remains a serious concern. Last year's appeal remained 53.5 per cent underfunded, and it is clear that this year if funding remains insufficient, most life-saving operations will cease beyond March.

Out of the $1.3 billion sought, $600.3 million is required for relief food, $202.9 million for nutrition, $133.8 million for water, and sanitation hygiene needs, and $112 million for shelter and other material assistance for the displaced. Here's what will happen if funding is not received this year.


The lives of 8 million food insecure people will be at risk if food assistance does not reach them in time. Additionally, the number people in need of emergency food assistance activities will continue to grow.


2.8 million children are targeted for life-saving treatment and nutrition services in 2019 in Ethiopia. Failure to reach them will increase their risk of mortality and ability to growth and develop appropriately.


Without adequate capacity, humanitarian partners simply won't be able to respond to epidemics. Health services in locations hosting displaced populations will be severely compromised, affecting both the host communities and IDPs. The health system’s ability to provide routine services and cope with disasters will be weakened.


Failing to support vulnerable households to protect their livelihood assets will exacerbate food insecurity, malnutrition, displacement and conflict over access to resources. Utlimately, people will lose their means of survival. 


Without adequate funding, more than 2.6 million school age children will be deprived of their right to education, making children and adolescents more vulnerable to child labor and trafficking. Girls will face higher risk of being held back from school and forced into child marriage.



Shelter plays an essential role in reducing vulnerability, providing a shield, protection from danger, privacy and dignity. Without adequate shelter, people will be left exposed to the elements and deprived of access to the most basic services.


Protection activities include addressing human rights violations and the needs of the most vulnerable, including women, adolescents, children, the elderly and people with disability. Lack of funding will enhance the risk of sexual and other forms of gender-based violence, family separation and abuse. Displaced families will live in poor condition, in overcrowded spaces, without sanitation, basic services or referrals to more specialised services.

Water and sanitation

Without sufficient funding, the risk of disease outbreak will drastically increse. About 500,000 people are estimated to be at higher risk, most of them children (290,000) and women (95,000).