USD 110 million is required by UNICEF Ethiopia for its Humanitarian Appeal for Children in 2017. According to the UN Agency, the figure includes USD 17.3 million required to provide assistance to refugees. UNICEF stated that, together with the Government, it aims to reach 9.2 million children and their families with access to safe water and hygiene, nutrition, health and protection services and give hope for the future by providing education in emergencies.
“In 2017, UNICEF Ethiopia prioritizes humanitarian needs of those affected by the Horn of Africa drought while continuing to support development initiatives to ensure all children and their families have clean water, adequate sanitation as well as access to nutrition and health services. Additional priorities are to support education for children facing emergencies and to protect children against violence and abuse,” said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia.
Mellsop further stated that responding to people’s needs in an effective and timely manner is very crucial. “Our ability to respond adequately to the needs of millions of children contributes to future growth and stability in Ethiopia. Through linked humanitarian and development programming, the Government of Ethiopia, UNICEF and our partners’ investments helps build families’ and communities’ resilience against future emergencies,” she states.
Last year, UNICEF raised USD108.7 million to provide around 7 million children and their families with life-saving humanitarian assistance to mitigate the impact of the El Niño-induced drought. With severe water shortages, malnutrition, and disease outbreaks, the anticipated humanitarian need in 2017 has been reduced only slightly, from 9.7 to 9.2 million people.
UNICEF also stated that a new drought expanding across the lowland areas in the Horn of Africa, induced by another weather phenomena; is further exacerbating humanitarian needs in the south and south eastern regions of Afar and Somali, as well as parts of Oromia and SNNP.
Neighboring country Somalia is also severely affected, causing 1,325 refugees crossing into the Ethiopian Somali region in the first 17 days of January. Ethiopia is already one of the top refugee-hosting countries in Africa, with 783,401 refugees as of November 2016 hailing from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan.