Ethiopia: Humanitarian Response Situation Report No.13 (as at 31 July 2017) – Ethiopia

A product of the Disaster Risk Management Technical Working Group (DRMTWG)

This report has been prepared under the auspices of the Federal Disaster Risk Management Technical Working Group, co-chaired by the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) and OCHA with participation of Sector Co-Chairs (Government Line Ministries and Cluster Coordinators). It covers the period from 01 to 31 July 2017 (the information in this issue was compiled ahead of the announcement of the HRD mid-year review).

Highlights

  • The number of districts requiring immediate life-saving intervention increased to levels not seen since the height of the El Niño drought impacts in 2016.

  • In response to the escalating food and nutrition crisis in Somali reigon, a joint Heads of Agencies mission went to Somali region on 19 July to ensure the roll-out of a Nutrition Scale-up Plan, including key structural and coordination shifts.

  • Humanitarian partners prioritized urgent financial requirements – amounting to US$311.1 million – for acute and time-sensitive humanitarian needs, ahead of the launch of the Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) mid-year review.

  • The Federal Ministry of Health and partners continue to strengthen national health systems to address ongoing Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) outbreak across six regions.

  • Flood incidents continued to be reported in July, affecting households, livelihoods and damaging facilities.

  • The Government of Ethiopia successfully negotiated a second extension of the amnesty period for the voluntary return of irregular Ethiopian migrants from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Situation Overview

Increase in the number of districts requiring immediate life-saving intervention

The revised humanitarian hotspot classification was released in the first week of July after it had been updated based on the findings of the mid-year needs assessment. The number of hotspot Priority 1 woredas/districts (requiring immediate life-saving intervention) increased to 228 from 192 in December 2016, representing nearly half of the overall hotspots identified (461 districts). This indicates a return to levels not seen since the height of the El Niño drought impacts in 2016. The 19 per cent increase in Priority 1 districts is largely due to the deepening drought conditions, which continues to deplete water and pasture sources, significantly impacting livestock body condition and milk production. Milk is the main source of food and income for the majority of households in the drought-affected areas. Overall, the status of 102 districts worsened while just 34 improved from December 2016 to June 2017.
Having born the brunt of the current drought emergency, Somali region’s Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) admissions account for 25 per cent of the national SAM caseload with 34,978 SAM admissions registered in the region between January and May 2017 (the latest data available). The highest concentration of cases remain in Doolo, Jarar, Shabelle, lower Fafan and parts of Korahe zones.

The EHCT endorsed a Nutrition Scale-up Plan

In response to the escalating food and nutrition crisis in Somali reigon, a joint Heads of Agencies mission went to Somali region on 19 July to roll-out a Nutrition Scale-up Plan, including key structural and coordination shifts. The team agreed to boost the overall response capacity in the region through 1) mobilizing materials and supplies to improve/revive Stabilization Centers and Health Centers functions, 2) increasing Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams outreach, 3) ensuring accountability and performance at woreda and zone levels, 4) improving the information management system, 5) investing more on referral systems to ensure child protection programs and 6) continuing and expanding school feeding, proven to have saved lives and improved school attendance.

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WFP comitted to strengthen the Food-MAM-SAM continuum of care and increase the number of monitors. The UN Humanitarian Coordinator also led a joint mission to Somali region with UN Heads of Agencies from July 27 to August 2 to strenghten partnership to meet the needs from the escalating emergency.

Humanitarian partners prioritized urgent financial requirements for acute humanitarian needs

Since the launch of the 2017 Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) in January 2017, humanitarian partners have been shifting response strategies and priorities to effectively respond to the changing humanitarian context. In July, humanitarian partners prioritized urgent financial requirements – amounting to US$311.1 million – for acute and time-sensitive humanitarian needs based on the mid-year assessment results.

The urgent priorities for donor funding outlined critical gaps across all sectors, including required activity and geographic focus. The priorities outlined were prepared as a complement to the HRD mid-year review, which remains the common plan and implementation framework to address humanitarian needs.

Government and partners continued to strengthen AWD response capacity

The Federal Ministry of Health and partners continue to strengthen national health systems to address ongoing Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) outbreak across six regions. Significant success was achieved in Somali region – the epicenter of the AWD oubreak – where the capacity of AWD treatment facilities was strengthened, including through the deployment of nearly 700 Government health workers from around the country. The daily case reporting showed a consistent downward trend since its peak in April 2017. In the last three weeks of July, case reporting stabilized to between 120-140 cases per week.

Meanwhile, the outbreak continues to spread in Afar, Amhara, Oromia, SNNP and Tigray regions. In Oromia, a joint Regional Health Bureau (RHB)/Public Health Emergency Management and WHO team deployed to East Hararge zone to coordinate the AWD preparedness and response ahead of the Kulubi Gabriel religious event on 26 July. In Amhara, the Regional Health Bureau and WHO are assessing holy water sites, which present high risk for AWD spread. In Tigray region, AWD was first reported in Degua Tembien district on 22 June and has since spread to 24 districts. More than 352 suspected cases were reported as of 30 July. There are increased concerns around a further spread of AWD in Tigray region due to the seasonal mobility of daily laborers and pilgrims to the Western and North Western zones, which are areas known for traditional gold and sapphire mines as well as holy water sites. In the last week of July, the Tigray RHB requested support from the Federal Ministry of Health and international partners to address the outbreak. A rapid multi-agency assessment team was deployed and will remain on the ground until 7 August. Meanwhile, the Health Cluster has sent a second team to support response efforts.

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The high risk for further spread of the AWD outbreak continues in the second half of the year due to the degradation of health determinants on the back drop of overburdened local health systems, including inadequate access to safe drinking water, widespread food insecurity with general poor nutrition, cross-border movements and internal displacements. Funds for AWD response depleted by the end of July.
Flood incidents affecting lives and livelihoods Flood incidents continued to be reported in July, affecting households, livelihoods and damaging facilities. In Oromia region, four incidents of flash floods were reported in Adama, Arsi and East Shewa zones in the second week of July, destroying more than 50 houses and more than 800 hectares of fruit and vegetable crops.

In Afar region, a flooding incident on 20 July has affected 204 households and damaged one school and health center in Megale woreda of Zone 2. Regions have prepared regional Flood Contingency Plans identifying people at risk and projected displacements. Meanwhile the National Flood Contingency Plan released last month had revealed that more than 1.5 million people are projected to be affected by flooding during the summer/kiremt season, with nearly 500, 000 people expected to be displaced.

The amnesty period for the Saudi returnees was extended for a second time.

The Government of Ethiopia successfully negotiated a second extension of the amnesty period for the voluntary return of irregular Ethiopian migrants from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). The first extension of the 90-day amnesty period was scheduled to end on 25 July. This second – one month – extension will allow all Ethiopians that have received exit visas to travel back to Ethiopia and also provide additional time for other irregular Ethiopian migrants to choose voluntary return. Out of some 500,000 estimated irregular Ethiopian migrants living in KSA, at least 130,000 have received exit visa, of which 60,000 have returned. According to IOM, an estimated US$30 million is required for post-arrival and reintegration assistance for the most vulnerable, unaccompanied minors, single mothers and abused migrants. Urgent needs include water and energy biscuits, wet feeds, mobile latrines, diapers, cloths, dignity kits and transportation support to final destinations.

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