People in Ethiopia are facing increasingly dangerous levels of food insecurity due to severe drought. To combat the worsening humanitarian situation, the European Commission has committed new emergency assistance of €15 million bringing the total amount allocated to Ethiopia in 2017 to over €91 million.
The assistance comes as number of refugees arriving from neighbouring Eritrea, Somalia, and South Sudan, is also constantly increasing, as is the number of internally displaced people.
"Ethiopia is facing humanitarian crises on many sides – from those devastated by drought to the challenges brought by an upsurge in refugees from neighbouring countries. The EU is committed to support those in need in Ethiopia. Our new aid will enable humanitarian organisations to step up emergency food assistance and the treatment of malnutrition," said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
Due to consecutive low performing rainy seasons, Ethiopia is facing the most critical levels of food and nutrition insecurity in 10 years, especially in its southern and south-eastern pastoral areas.
The country also hosts the second largest number of refugees in Africa (over 880 000), which compounds the humanitarian situation.
Meanwhile, escalating tensions and violent incidents along the Oromia, the Somali regional border, since September have resulted in a surge of displaced people across the two regions, leaving thousands in a highly precarious and vulnerable position.
The additional €15 million will enable humanitarian organisations to step up emergency food assistance and treatment of malnutrition.
Part of the funding will help address water supply, livestock protection, shelter, and protection, with a focus on the increasing numbers of internally displaced people
The EU also provides development aid for Ethiopia worth €745 million over 2014-2020 through the European Development Fund.
Ethiopia has been badly affected by the El Niño phenomena. While it is still recovering from the drought in 2015-2016, another drought has taken hold in the south and south-eastern lowlands.
The number of people needing emergency food assistance has now reached 8.5 million. An estimated 3.6 million children and pregnant and lactating mothers suffer from acute malnutrition. The prolonged drought has also caused massive livestock losses and has displaced over 360 000 people.
Ethiopia also hosts refugees in 25 camps located in Tigray, Afar, Somali, Gambella, and Benishangul Gumuz regions. It has been facing an increasingly growing influx of refugees mainly from South Sudan and Somalia, but also from Sudan and Eritrea. Meanwhile, escalating tensions and violent incidents along the Oromia - Somali regional border since September have resulted in a surge of displaced people across the two regions, leaving thousands in a highly precarious and vulnerable position.