Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection

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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. Photo credit: Lisa Taschler
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What are the needs?

Ethiopia hosts the highest number of refugees in Africa with over 600 000 refugees. 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.

Ethiopia is also 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, undernutrition, and extreme food insecurity.

There are around 400 000 internally displaced people (IDPs) across the country. Clan clashes over scarce resources, floods and localised conflicts are the main causes of population displacements.

How are we helping?

In Ethiopia, the humanitarian assistance provided by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) focuses on three main pillars: emergency response, assistance to refugees and building resilience.

The European Commission allocates funds with the aim of enhancing the speedy response to rapid-onset emergencies. Currently, the Commission is funding a consortium of partners which is undertaking rapid needs assessment and response based on pre-positioned stocks of relief items.

ECHO is helping refugees and the host communities in Dollo Ado and Jijiga camps (Somali refugees), Benishangul Gumuz camp (Sudanese refugees) and Gambella camp (South Sudanese refugees), through a multi-sector intervention of food assistance, health, nutrition, shelter, protection, water and sanitation, and education. In addition, ECHO is intervening in the growing Eritrean refugee situation in Tigray and Afar.

ECHO is also working towards building the resilience of the communities facing recurrent disasters by working closely with the EU's development department (DEVCO). The joint EU initiative called RESET (Resilience building in Ethiopia) 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.