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Ethiopia: UNICEF Ethiopia Humanitarian Situation Report #9 – Reporting Period: September 2018

Source: UN Children's Fund
Country: Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Sudan


  • At mid-year, Ethiopia was faced with an unprecedented caseload of 2.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) affected by conflict and drought, mainly along the Oromia regional border with Somali and the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) with children constituting more than half of the displaced population. In line with these changes, UNICEF has revised its Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) for 2018 and raised the resource envelope to US$ 123.8 million.

  • Following the signing of the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship on 09 July between the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea, two border crossing points were reopened on 11 September resulting in an increase in individuals arriving daily from Eritrea from an average of 50 to approximately 180.

  • UNICEF has distributed 300,000 tablets of soap, 15,000 buckets, and 15,000 jerry cans to IDPs in East Hararghe and West Guji through the Regional Water Bureau (RWB). In West Hararghe and Bale, ongoing hygiene promotion and AWD awareness activities by the Regional Health Bureau (RHB) have reached 23,299 people.


7.9 million* People in need of relief food/cash

363, 611** Children in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition

2.2 million* School-aged children, including adolescents, in need of emergency school feeding and learning material assistance

2.6 million*** Internally displaced people in Ethiopia (79 per cent displaced due to conflict)

905,831**** Registered refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia.

*2018 Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan for Ethiopia,
March 2018

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** UNICEF Revised HAC, August 2018

*** DTM Ethiopia National Dashboard Round 11, (IOM MayJune 2018) and UNOCHA- West Guji/Gedeo Situation Update #7, August 1

**** Ethiopia, refugees and asylum seekers (UNHCR, 31 August 2018)

Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs

Following the signing of the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship in July by the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea, two border crossing points were reopened resulting in an increase in the number of new arrivals from Eritrea. Between 12 and 20 September, 1,700 refugees were registered at the Endabaguna Reception Centre. Per the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), women and children under 15 years of age make up 80 per cent of the arrivals, in contrast with the current population profile of the Eritrean refugee camps in Tigray where women and children constitute 63 per cent of the refugee population. The change is attributed to the reopened border crossing points which have made it easier for women and children to transit safely. While ARRA and UNHCR field staff are analysing these shifting trends, registration data indicates that, in addition to the standard reasons for leaving Eritrea, family reunification is cited as a motive for movement by at least 88 per cent of the newly registered. UNICEF is conducting an assessment to know the caseload and understands the needs related to the influx.

The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners are committed to assisting Gedeo-West Guji IDPs who choose not to return to their areas of origin at this time, as well as to those who are voluntarily returning. The IDP situation in West Guji (Oromia) and Gedeo (SNNP) remains fluid. As of 14 August, the number of IDPs stands at 694,327 persons in Gedeo zone and 189,010 persons in West Guji zone. Considering the ongoing returns, the government and partners are finalizing a new response/recovery plan for the Gedeo-West Guji IDPs/returnees. The joint plan will ensure that there is coordinated and uninterrupted support to IDPs in current areas of displacement and pre-positioning of staff and relief items in areas of return.

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On 13 September, clashes broke out on the outskirts of Addis Ababa. Some 12,000 people were displaced and sheltered in nine different locations. UNICEF through the Ethiopian Red Cross (ERC) supported 1,400 most vulnerable women and children with WASH, child protection and Non-Food Items (NFIs) which included dignity kits, personal hygiene materials and mattresses. The displaced have since been returned to their homes.

The Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) reported that in September, large areas of Eastern Somali Region, border pastoral areas of Oromia (parts of Guji and Borena) and Somali regions, parts of East and West Hararghe in Oromia, and West Guji of Oromia and Gedeo of SNNPR remained with the highest food insecurity. These areas were projected to remain in ‘crisis’ Phase 3 through January 2019, per the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC). Based on this and other early warning mechanisms, UNICEF, through its support to the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), contributed to the revision of the hotspot classification for the country. The revision shows that 215 woredas have been classified as hotspot priority one, 133 woredas as priority two and 96 woredas as priority three. Compared to the January 2018 classification, no major change was seen in the number of priority one woredas but a drop in the number of priority two and a slight increase in the number of priority three woredas have been noted.

At mid-year, Ethiopia was faced with an unprecedented caseload of 2.6 million people internally displaced by conflict and drought, mainly along the borders between Oromia and the Somali and SNNP regions with children constituting more than half of the IDPs. According to FEWSNET, weather forecasts for the 2018 Kiremt season indicate above normal rainfall for much of Ethiopia. While this is a relief in some areas, it is expected that 2.5 million people will be at risk of large scale flooding and landslides, potentially displacing an additional 637,000. In line with these contextual changes, UNICEF has revised its 2018 HAC and raised the resource envelope from US$111.8m to US$123.8m.

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