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Map of Ethiopia
UNICEF photo: Mother and daughter fill their jerry cans at water pump © UNICEF Ethiopis/2016/Ayene Mother and daughter fill their jerry cans at the UNICEF-supported water pump in drought-affected Sire Woreda, Arsi Zone.


In 2017, UNICEF and partners plan for:
1 million

caregivers of children accessing infant and young child feeding counselling

1.46 million

people, including 70,000 South Sudanese refugees, accessing safe water


school-aged children, including 100,000 South Sudanese refugees, accessing quality education (including through temporary structures)

2017 Requirements: US$110,500,000

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Total people in need: 9.2 million1
Total children (<18) in need: 4.8 million

Total people to be reached in 2017: 4 million2
Total children to be reached in 2017: 2 million

While a strong harvest is expected in the northern and western parts of Ethiopia in 2017, the effects of the El Niño-induced drought remain. Below average rains in the last quarter of 2016 in the southern and eastern parts of the country have extended and intensified drought conditions. An estimated 5.6 million people will require food aid in 20177 and more than 300,000 children will require treatment for severe acute malnutrition (SAM). Drought, floods and local conflicts may displace up to 350,000 people. Disease outbreaks will continue, with an estimated 4.4 million people at risk. An estimated 9.2 million people will require water and sanitation assistance. Lack of food, water, learning spaces and educational materials continue to contribute to high levels of student absenteeism and dropouts, affecting 4 million children. Several thousand children will be at risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation and violence and will require child protection assistance. Ethiopia is the fifth largest refugee-hosting country in the world, with 783,340 refugees, 58 per cent of whom are children.8 An estimated 330,000 South Sudanese refugees are expected to be registered by the end of 2016, with an additional 125,000 refugees from South Sudan potentially arriving in 2017 due to the ongoing conflict.

Humanitarian strategy

2017 programme targets


  • 304,300 children under 5 with SAM, including 4,300 South Sudanese refugee children, admitted for treatment3
  • 1 million caregivers of children accessing infant and young child feeding counselling


  • 400,000 people provided with access to essential and life-saving health care services
  • 35,000 people with access to treatment for diarrhoeal disease
  • 36,000 South Sudanese refugee children aged 6 months to 14 years vaccinated against measles
  • 143,000 South Sudanese refugee children vaccinated against polio


  • 1.46 million people, including 70,000 South Sudanese refugees, accessing safe water
  • 1.6 million people reached with key messages on hygiene practices

Child protection

  • 10,000 separated and unaccompanied children receiving appropriate care and protection services4
  • 30,000 vulnerable children receiving psychosocial support5


  • 630,000 school-aged children, including 100,000 South Sudanese refugees, accessing quality education (including through temporary structures)

UNICEF and partners will respond to the needs of populations affected by multiple emergencies, while promoting resilient development and early recovery. As cluster lead in nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and child protection and co-lead in education, UNICEF will support a coordinated response. The Government will receive support to build institutional capacity on disaster risk management and social protection. UNICEF will also support government capacity to provide access to quality SAM treatment for children, emphasizing referrals and identification. The health system and partner capacities will be strengthened for the detection of, preparedness for and response to public health emergencies. In WASH, UNICEF will improve access to safe water in drought-affected communities and support communities affected by water-borne diseases. This includes water trucking in regions affected by drought, which is a costly intervention. Children affected by drought and conflict will have access to quality education in safe environments. UNICEF will also provide child protection support for family separation, violence and abuse, including through community-based activities, strengthening of case management systems and cash transfers.

Results from 2016

As of 31 October 2016, UNICEF had received US$102.9 million against the US$124 million appeal (83 per cent funded).6 UNICEF met or surpassed its targets for water and sanitation, support for unaccompanied and separated children, measles vaccination and vitamin A supplementation. The overall number of SAM cases in 2016 was lower than expected due to the early roll out of the nutrition emergency response and a comprehensive food assistance response. The number of priority districts decreased in the second half of the year following adequate rains. UNICEF supported 49 mobile health and nutrition teams in the Afar and Somali regions, reaching more than 362,800 people. More than 28,000 people affected by acute watery diarrhoea were treated and the mortality rate for the outbreak remained low at 0.2 per cent. UNICEF worked with the Government and partners to vaccinate more than 23.7 million children against measles, which included children aged 5 to 15 years. Following the influx of South Sudanese refugees in September, polio and measles vaccination reached 23,543 and 21,863 refugee children, respectively. UNICEF WASH results were achieved through a combination of low-cost interventions (e.g. water trucking) and longer-term solutions (e.g. construction of water schemes). Despite a large funding gap, UNICEF met 74 per cent of its education target by decreasing costs through local procurement and using prepositioned supplies. The interventions were carried out despite unrest in some regions.

Funding requirements

In line with the 2017 inter-agency HRD, UNICEF Ethiopia is appealing for US$110.5 million to address acute humanitarian needs in 2017. The funding requirement includes US$13.6 million to respond to the new influx of South Sudanese refugees in the Gambella Region. While the funding will be critical to UNICEF’s ability to respond to immediate needs, the funding will also be used to take appropriate actions to strengthen preparedness, improve early warning systems and reduce vulnerability, contributing to more resilient communities. In order to achieve results for children and avert preventable morbidity and mortality and other humanitarian needs early in the response, flexible and, if possible, multi-year funding will be essential.

1 This figure corresponds to the number of people targeted for WASH as per the 2017 HRD. It is used as the population in need estimation figure, as it is the highest target in the HRD for UNICEF-related sectors. The HRD is in the process of being finalized and will be available in mid-January.
2 The total number to be reached is calculated using targets for nutrition (304,300 children under 5 and 1 million caregivers of children); health (550,000 people); WASH (1.6 million people); and education (630,000 school-aged children) for a total of 4,084,300 people, including 2,086,300 children.
3 In 2017, the total projected under-five SAM caseload is 304,300. The UNICEF target is 304,300 children (including refugee children) or 100 per cent of the caseload. UNICEF Ethiopia’s SAM target is covered through the humanitarian programme.
4 Includes 7,500 refugee children and 2,500 children affected by other humanitarian situations.
5 Includes 10,000 refugee children and 20,000 children affected by other humanitarian situations.
6 Available funds included funding received against the current appeal of US$76 million and US$26.9 million carried forward from the previous year.
7 Government and Humanitarian Partners, ‘Ethiopia: Initial summary of humanitarian response planning for 2017’, http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/ethiopia_-_initial_summary_of_humanitarian_response_planning_for_2017.pdf, accessed 12 December 2016.
8 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Ethiopia, October 2016.