Map of Ethiopia
UNICEF photo © UNICEF Ethiopia/2015/Ose


UNICEF urgently requires an additional US$6 million to meet the increasing needs of women and children affected by a slow-onset food security and nutrition crisis. The total 2015 HAC is US$55 million to scale up UNICEF’s emergency response in Ethiopia.

In 2015, UNICEF and partners plan for:

children under 5 affected by severe acute malnutrition treated


refugee children vaccinated against measles


people have access to safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene

2015 Requirements: US$55,160,452

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Total affected population: 6 million
Total affected children: 3.2 million

Total people to be reached in 2015: 5.8 million
Total children to be reached in 2015: 5.3 million

Ethiopia is facing a slow-onset emergency following the failed belg rains from February to March 20151 which resulted in a failed first harvest and a reduction in livestock in the pastoral areas of the country. The impact of El Niño weather conditions on the long rainy season, meher, from June to September, may result in a reduced second harvest and a further deterioration in the food and nutrition situation. To date, an estimated 4.5 million people2 will require emergency food assistance in the last quarter of 2015, an increase of 1.6 million people at the beginning of 2015. More than 302,605 severely malnourished children, a 14 per cent increase from the initial forecast, will require treatment in 2015. In addition, a large measles outbreak is reported in the country with over 6,890 confirmed cases as of June 20153. Ethiopia is also responding to the humanitarian needs of vulnerable refugee populations and host communities. Since civil war broke out in South Sudan in December 2013, approximately 219,107 South Sudanese refugees, 97 per cent of whom are women and children, have fled violence and food insecurity to Ethiopia. Of particular concern to UNICEF, is a large number of unaccompanied children among the fastest growing Eritrean refugee population in the country. According to UNHCR, as of July 2015, a total of 2,269 unaccompanied and separated children were registered in the Shire refugee camps of Tigray Region. UNHCR estimates that by the end of the year, 821,000 refugees will be residing in Ethiopia with the majority coming from South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.

Humanitarian strategy

Revised 2015 Programme Targets


  • 302,605 children under 5 affected by severe acute malnutrition treated
  • 2,203,841 children under 5 and pregnant and breastfeeding women screened for malnutrition, received vitamin A supplementation and deworming treatment


  • 412,000 children and women access essential health services though preventive and curative interventions in Somali and Afar regions
  • 5.3 million children affected by disease outbreaks access lifesaving curative and preventive interventions
  • 108,000 refugee children vaccinated against measles


  • 1,000,000 people have access to safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene
  • 1,140,000 emergency-affected people receive sanitation and hygiene information to prevent illnesses

Child protection

  • 67,000 children in humanitarian situations vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse accessing appropriate care and services
  • 5,000 separated/unaccompanied children reunited with their families or provided with appropriate alternative care


  • 136,000 children in emergency-affected areas access temporary learning spaces and basic education materials

Recognising the gradually increasing humanitarian needs, as a result of the deterioration of food security and increasing malnutrition rates in the country, the Government of Ethiopia and partners revised humanitarian requirements upwards in August and are ramping-up emergency response programmes into 2016. UNICEF continues to work with the Government and partners supporting humanitarian coordination and action, ensuring children affected by crises have adequate access to education, health and nutrition care, safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and protection assistance. UNICEF supports the empowerment of public institutions and communities to enhance their resilience to multiple and recurrent shocks. Together with the Government, UNICEF is the cluster lead in nutrition, education, WASH and the child protection sub-cluster. In the remote and emergency-affected areas of Somali and Afar regions, support to mobile health and nutrition teams will continue to provide access to life-saving essential health services and emergency referrals. Collaboration with WHO and partners, to provide support to the Ministry of Health, will continue on the prevention and control of disease outbreaks including measles vaccination of 5.3 million children in nutrition hotspots. UNICEF supports the Government-led, community-based management response to severe acute malnutrition. UNICEF reaches people with sanitation and hygiene information and supports the establishment and rehabilitation of water schemes to provide water to communities in a sustainable manner to prevent child illnesses. Support continues to be provided for access to education for children affected by emergencies. In child protection, UNICEF bolsters community-based social protection structures to strengthen the care and support systems of local communities. UNICEF works closely with UNHCR and the Government to deliver life-saving interventions to refugees and vulnerable host communities across sectors and to provide technical support to implementing partners.

Results to date (January to August 2015)

By September 2015, UNICEF had received US$12.6 million against its appeal. UNICEF and partners were able to achieve results for Ethiopian and refugee children, and significant support is needed in order to scale-up the response to the deteriorating food security and nutrition conditions. More than 14,500 therapeutic feeding programme sites were established with critical nutrition supplies to treat 177,748 malnourished children. More than 214,000 people in emergency-affected areas were provided with access to clean water and efforts continue to mobilize additional resources to reach the target of 1 million people. UNICEF- supported mobile health and nutrition teams in Afar and Somali regions provided life-saving care to over 128,000 patients. Some 39,800 children continued their education thanks to the provision of education supplies, teachers’ training and temporary learning spaces. UNICEF together with UNHCR, the Government and its partners, ensured that 78,934 refugee children were protected from violence and had access to child-friendly spaces for protection, playing and learning, surpassing the initial target due to the increased efforts of child protection partners. Over 22,000 refugees were able to use clean water, 9,400 refugees had access to sanitation facilities, and 16,851 refugee children were vaccinated against measles, as of July 2015. In line with UNICEF’s revised requirements for WASH support in May 2015, UNICEF is building a permanent water scheme in Gambella Region which, once completed, will provide water in a sustainable manner to 130,000 people of which 100,000 are refugees. In the refugee camps of Tigray Region, UNICEF continues to provide technical support to partners in child protection. However, due to the critical funding shortfalls, it has not been possible to implement programmes more widely.

Funding requirements

In May, UNICEF Ethiopia increased its 2015 humanitarian funding requirements from the initial US$36 million US$49 million to reflect the additional humanitarian needs of the South Sudanese refugees in Gambella Region and Eritrean refugees in Tigray Region, and to support sustainable WASH activities. As a result of the deterioration in food security, the nutrition situation and a measles’ outbreak, UNICEF Ethiopia has further increased its funding requirement to US$55 million to support the scale up of the health and nutrition response and to meet additional needs. Of this amount, US$13 million is urgently required to procure critical, nutrition emergency supplies for the treatment of severely malnourished children.

1 Ethiopia’s rain-fed agriculture (with two main rainy seasons, the belg and the kiremt) is the primary driver of the Ethiopian economy and national food production.
2 Humanitarian Requirement Document, Government of Ethiopia, August 2015.
3 Federal Ministry of Health, May 2015.
4 Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector.
5 Federal Ministry of Health.