ADDIS ABABA – At least 15.2 million Ethiopians need emergency food and non-food assistance, revealed a new document released by the government and its humanitarian partners’ group on Tuesday.
The pair officially released the mid-year review of the joint Government and humanitarian partners’ 2020 Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) on Tuesday.
The document lays out prioritized multi-sector humanitarian needs targeting 15.2 million people with emergency food and non-food assistance at a cost of US$ 1.44 billion.
Given the $83.1 million Government allocation towards the 2020 HRP and donor contribution of $425.1 million, the revised requirement of $1.44 billion currently has a funding gap of $929.6 million, according to the document.
The revision was based on assessments of the impact of spring (mid-February-May) rains on the seasonal harvest, as well as on water and pasture in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities in lowland areas.
The revision also took into account the humanitarian impact of the ongoing desert locust infestation on food insecurity and livelihood loss, displacements due to flooding and localized instabilities, as well as disease outbreaks such as cholera.
The focus on COVID-19 did not and should not overshadow the dire consequence of these crises and the need to respond to them, the official document urges.
This government insists the COVID-19 response is its immediate focus.
“However, we will not lose sight of the multi-faceted and simultaneous humanitarian challenges across the country. All these are further compounded by the pandemic,” said Damene Darota, deputy head of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC).
Funding analysis done in July revealed that the unmet requirements have never been so high before in Ethiopia at mid-year.
Particularly, the non-food clusters are severely underfunded, and the funding level has not been this low since 2012.
The July food funding level was also the lowest it has been in the last 5 years.
Without urgent additional funding, humanitarian agencies claim multi-sector vulnerabilities will further deepen, mostly impacting women, children, the elderly, and the disabled, amongst others.
“Today, more than ever, the Government and people of Ethiopia need the steadfast support from international partners,” stressed Dr. Catherine Sozi, head of the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia.
“The country needs urgent additional financing to not only control the various co-pandemics before they further spread across the country but to also mitigate the adverse long-term impact on the already dire humanitarian context,” she added.
Dr. Sozi called on friends and partners of Ethiopia to avail additional funding to address these needs, prevent human suffering and avoid deaths.