Humanitarian Action for Children 2012


© UNICEF/NYHQ2011-1567/Lemma

Kurfa Wario draws water from an underground collection tank, in a village in the drought-affected Borena Zone. Diminished water resources and food insecurity have left 4.5 million Ethiopians in need of humanitarian assistance.

September 2012 Update: UNICEF Humanitarian Action for Children [PDF]



Children and Women in Crisis

Dry weather induced by La Niña worsened Ethiopia’s humanitarian situation in 2011. The number of Ethiopians in need of food assistance between July and December 2011 increased to 4.5 million, from an earlier assessment of 2.8 million.1 Poor seasonal rains from October to December 2010, followed by failed rains from February to May 2011, diminished water and pasture resources in Ethiopia’s southern and south-eastern regions, including major parts of Somali, Oromiya and SNNPR (Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region).

Food insecurity in 2011 further threatened more than 250,000 children who suffer from severe acute malnutrition.2 Shortages of clean water contributed to outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea, measles and malaria, which were exacerbated by poor access to health services, particularly in Afar and Somali regions. Drought also led to 87,000 school dropouts and closure of more than 300 schools, primarily in Afar, Oromiya and Somali regions.3

Since January 2011, more than 96,000 refugees arrived from Somalia and 25,000 from the Sudan. In total, there are more than 137,000 Somali refugees living in four camps in Dollo Ado district.4 The influx of refugees put additional burdens on the limited resources as well as social services available in the district, including water and health facilities.

Meeting Urgent Needs in 2012

As lead of the nutrition and WASH clusters and co-lead of the education cluster, UNICEF will build the capacity of line ministries to ensure stronger coordinated preparedness and response and will contribute to the survival and development of children in areas affected by drought, flooding and public health hazards. UNICEF will partner with the Government of Ethiopia, other UN agencies, and national and international NGOs to provide emergency relief to an estimated 7 million people, including 6 million children.

Humanitarian Funding at Work: Highlights from 2011

As of end October 2011, UNICEF had received US$60,912,462 (79 per cent) of the requested US$76,628,028 for 2011.  With those funds, UNICEF accomplished the following: increased the number of health centres able to treat children with severe acute malnutrition by 1,000; treated  221,000 children for severe acute malnutrition and reached more than 8 million children with vitamin A supplementation, deworming tablets and nutrition screening; supported 27 mobile health and nutrition teams in the Afar and Somali regions, which provided 154,341 consultations, including close to 57,000 for children under 5; reduced the expected acute watery diarrhoeal caseload  with prevention and rapid response efforts in pilgrimage and migration sites; reached 6.9 million children in a sub-national measles campaign; provided access to clean water for more than 1 million people, including 167,100 children under 5, in drought-affected areas; improved WASH facilities at  more than 100 health centres and 39 schools to benefit about 607,000 people, including 97,000 children under 5 and 32,700 students; provided access to education for 50,000 children; reached more than 4,000 children in SNNPR through community care coalitions; and supported technical expertise and provided supplies in refugee camps in Dollo Ado and Assossa.

Funding Requirements for 2012

UNICEF requests US$58,339,000 for emergency activities in Ethiopia. This amount represents 24 per cent less than the requested amount in 2011 due to the relatively good rains during the second half of 2011, which are expected to improve food security in 2012, as well as the fewer number of new refugees expected from Somalia. Prompt and adequate funding is crucial; otherwise, more than 200,000 children will not receive life-saving treatment for malnutrition, some 150,000 children living in remote parts of Somali and Afar regions will not access health services, and about 1.3 million people, including 200,000 children under 5, will have reduced/constrained access to safe drinking water. In addition, some 60,000 children in drought-affected areas may be forced to discontinue their primary education.

More information on humanitarian action planned for the Ethiopia programme in 2012 can be found at and the country office website at

1 Government of Ethiopia, United Nations Country Team in Ethiopia and United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Humanitarian Requirements 2011: Joint Government and Humanitarian Partners’ Document’, OCHA, Addis Ababa, July 2011, p. 4. 
2 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, ‘Humanitarian Bulletin: Weekly humanitarian highlights in Ethiopia’, OCHA, Geneva and New York, 14 November 2011, p. 1.
3 ‘Humanitarian Requirements 2011’, OCHA, Addis Ababa, July 2011, p. 13.
4 Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, ‘Dollo Ado Population Statistical Report as of 21 November 2011’, UNHCR, Geneva, p. 1.