Addis Ababa, 24 August 2015: On 18 August, the Government of Ethiopia officially launched the joint-Government and humanitarian partners- Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) mid-year review. The document is a revision of the 2015 HRD - released on 6 March 2015 – based on the multi-agency belg/gu/ganna/sugum national needs assessment, which was concluded in early July 2015.
The mid-year review includes the addition of 1.6 million people that require relief food, increasing the number of relief food beneficiaries in 2015 to 4.5 million. This represents a 55 per cent increase from the 2.9 million people projected to require food assistance during the year.
The Government recently earmarked 700 million Ethiopian birr or US$33 million for urgent response in areas where the humanitarian situation is deteriorating most rapidly and to supplement the on-going responses.
“The belg rains were much worse than the National Meteorology Agency predicted at the beginning of the year. Food insecurity increased and malnutrition rose as a result.” said Mr. David Del Conte, UNOCHA’s acting Head of Office. The normally surplus producing areas in the Oromia region, including Arsi and West Arsi zones, are requesting relief food assistance. Water and pasture shortages decreased livestock production and caused livestock deaths in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities. The number of woredas prioritized for nutrition interventions doubled from 49 in February to 97 in May, and the number of severely malnourished children requiring therapeutic feeding support increased by 14.4 per cent to 302,605.
“Donors have been generous,” said Ms. Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative and acting Humanitarian Coordinator. “But the situation facing us today marks a significant change in our plans, requiring the scaling up of assistance, now. We are counting on the unfailing generosity of our donor partners to meet the rising humanitarian needs,” Ms. Mellsop noted. She stressed that money spent now to respond to the food, nutrition, WASH, livelihoods and health needs, will prevent unnecessary human suffering, safeguard development and resilience gains, and mitigate costlier interventions in the future.
In the first half of 2015, half of the HRD requirements of US$386 million were funded. However, with the additional needs identified during the mid-year review, the financial requirements increased by 10.6 per cent, and US$230 million is now urgently needed to address food and non-food needs for the remainder of the year.
An on-going El Niño phenomenon may further affect the June to September kiremt rains. This may impact harvests in some areas, and cause unseasonal downpours during the last quarter of the year. “A failed belg followed by a poor kiremt season means that challenges could continue into next year,” said Mr. John Aylieff, Country Director of WFP Ethiopia. The meher harvest is the major harvest for much of the country. “With the Government in the lead, we will engage in early planning and pre-positioning of supplies to avoid any delays in response. I am hopeful that resource shortfalls will not continue to limit our operational capacity,” Mr. Aylieff noted.
In addition to food and nutrition needs, the HRD mid-year review outlines emergency requirements in the health, WASH, agriculture and education sectors. Most sectors saw their beneficiary figure increase, along with their financial requirements.
The Ethiopia Humanitarian Country Team calls on development partners and the Development Assistance Group to work together to safeguard development gains and to find durable solutions to cyclical humanitarian needs.