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Immediate assistance needed before relief food lifeline breaks

The relief food lifeline in the Somali region is expected to break soon, unless another USD 50 million is secured for two rounds of assistance, according to Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onochie, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator.
The statement came during the launch of the Ethiopia Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP) for 2018 on Tuesday March 13, 2018.
“The needs of the 7.8 million Ethiopians that will be addressed through the plan are very real; we have not made those numbers up. In whatever manner we are able to assist, we need to do so immediately. The government has announced the first fund, new resources for the appeal and I think this is encouraging and exemplary, donors have been provided with the agreed top priorities for immediate funding,” Onochie said.
“While response in all sectors is required there are some very critical gaps that simply cannot wait. I note in particular that once again the relief food lifeline in Somali region is expected to break eminently unless we can secure another USD 50 million for two rounds of assistance. The lifeline for the therapeutic supplement feeding which treats moderate acute malnutrition is also about to break,” she also added.
The newly launched HDRP is seeking USD 1.6 billion to reach the 7.9 million people in need of assistance following recent successive failed or under-performing rains mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country, an increase in conflict-related displacement along the border areas of the Oromia and Somali regions, and a lack of recovery opportunities.
While the document focuses primarily on immediate response requirements for 2018, it also lays out the basis for a three-pillar model that will allow for further planning and development investments: prevention and mitigation, preparedness and response and national systems strengthening and recovery.
“I hope the disaster risk management approach will equip us with the tools to collectively channel both development and humanitarian resources to address common root causes of high humanitarian needs and build resilient communities. Through implementation of the Disaster Risk Management Policy and enhanced capacity building from our partners, I am confident that the government will be able to handle future humanitarian needs,” said Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission.
Ethiopia is entering a fourth year of exceptional drought emergency. In 2017, severe drought conditions continued in lowland, mostly pastoral areas, rendering hundreds of thousands destitute and displaced. The southern autumn rains again underperformed, though not at the level of ‘drought’, meaning that levels of food insecurity and acute malnutrition in the lowlands remain high. Meteorologists, including the National Meteorological Agency (NMA), are predicting that the current La Nina phenomenon may lead to reduced performance of spring rains, particularly over southern and eastern lowland areas.
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, additional humanitarian needs have arisen due to conflict, with 857,000 Ethiopians displaced over the past year around the border areas of the Oromia and Somali Regions.
Many of those displaced over the course of 2017 are likely to require continuing relief assistance and recovery support in 2018. Indicative modeling and projections show that humanitarian needs and financial requirements are likely to remain similarly high for the following two years, 2019-2020.


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