European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations

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In Ethiopia, subsistence agriculture is the main rural livelihood. However, food production is extremely uncertain as it is determined by the amount and distribution of rainfall, a factor that due to the changing climate has become increasingly erratic in recent decades. © Lisa Taschler

What are the needs?

Ethiopia is one of the countries most affected by the severe El Niño phenomena. The country is experiencing its worst drought in 50 years causing the number of food insecure people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance to rocket. Over the past year alone it increased from 2.9 million in the beginning of 2015 to over 10 million at present.

Ethiopia also hosts the highest number of refugees in Africa – over 700 000 people. The refugees live in 24 camps located in Tigray, Afar, Somali, Gambella, and Benishangul Gumuz regions. The country is facing an influx of refugees mainly from South Sudan and Somalia, but also from Sudan and Eritrea.

There are currently nearly 736 000 internally displaced people (IDPs) across the country, with a large part displaced because of the ongoing El Niño-triggered drought. Clan clashes over scarce resources, floods and localised conflicts are other main causes of population displacements.

Ethiopia is a disaster prone country. Around 12 million people in the country are regularly exposed to droughts, floods, landslides, epidemics and earthquakes. These regular shocks have many negative consequences such as destruction of assets and livelihoods, extreme poverty, under-nutrition, and extreme food insecurity.

How are we helping?

In Ethiopia, the humanitarian assistance provided by the European Commission is structured around two main priorities: emergency preparedness and response, and refugees' assistance.

The European Commission allocates funds with the aim of enhancing the speedy response to rapid-onset emergencies. Currently, it is actively contributing to the humanitarian response to the El Niño weather phenomenon. Emergency EU funding is helping to address the most pressing needs resulting from the severe drought.

The Commission is also helping refugees and their host communities in camps in Gambella (South Sudandese refugees), Dollo Ado and Jijiga camps (Somali refugees), Tigray and Afar (Eritrean refugees), and in Benishangul Gumuz (Sudanese refugees), through a multi-sector intervention of food assistance, health, nutrition, shelter, protection, water and sanitation, and education.

The Commission is also working towards building the resilience of the communities facing recurrent disasters. Its humanitarian and development departments work closely in this regard, for example on the initiative called RESET (Resilience building in Ethiopia). RESET is implemented in drought-prone areas of the country. The initiative does not only address the symptoms of extreme poverty but also some of the main root causes of food insecurity and malnutrition, and in doing so it provides households with more coping capacity to resist future shocks.

Last updated 11/10/2016