© UNICEF/NHYQ1997-1083/Pirozzi

A girl lives in a settlement outside the eastern port town of Massawa. The ongoing border dispute with Ethiopia continues to impede economic development.


The border stalemate between Eritrea and Ethiopia continues to hamper the economic situation in the country, while the failure of rains and the high food prices pose an additional burden to the humanitarian situation in Eritrea, which is already being made vulnerable by poverty, chronic food insecurity and malnutrition. The poor performance of the short rains and the delayed onset of the main rainy season are raising concerns for a looming drought:  Eritrea, which lies in the Horn of Africa, is located in a drought-prone area, and is still suffering from the impact of the previous drought in 2006. Those particularly at risk are the estimated 85,500 malnourished children; 300,000 pregnant and lactating women; an estimated 800,000 urban poor and the population living in drought-affected areas, requiring close situation monitoring and assistance. The 22,300 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were resettled or returned to their communities of origin between 2007 and 2008 require continued assistance in basic social services. Mine and unexploded ordnance accidents have increased significantly since 2007, requiring accelerated efforts in mine-risk education in the affected areas.


UNICEF is the cluster lead for nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene, and education. UNICEF is also an active member of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC). In 2009, UNICEF-supported programmes are expected to reach an estimated 1.7 million people, over half of them children.

Health and Nutrition: UNICEF will provide essential drugs and basic medical supplies to 25 health facilities serving 750,000 drought-affected population; vaccinate 450,000 children against measles as well as providing two rounds of vitamin A supplementation; provide therapeutic feeding to over 60,000 severely malnourished children and supplementary feeding to 85,000 severely and moderately malnourished children as well as 300,000 pregnant and lactating women. 

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: UNICEF will provide 80,000 resettled IDPs as well as those living in drought-affected areas with safe water and sanitation facilities by constructing/rehabilitating wells and sanitary facilities including in 10 schools; train 60 village technicians in the operations and management of the community water supply facilities; and promote hygiene education and hygiene awareness programmes in 10 local communities.

Education: UNICEF will provide 4,100 recently resettled IDP children and 84 teachers with basic school materials and recreational kits; rehabilitate and construct four temporary schools and two classroom structures to accommodate 1,800 primary schoolchildren. In addition, social mobilization campaigns will be held to scale up enrolment and prevent drop-outs in remote and drought-prone areas.

Child Protection: UNICEF will develop two new child-friendly spaces; train 100 teachers and 50 health staff on response to violence/abuse; and support prevention, identification, documentation, tracing, care and reunification of an estimated 500 separated children. In addition, 500 child- and female-headed households will be supported with alternative economic assistance.

Mine Action: UNICEF will establish eight mine-risk education (MRE) working groups; support the MRE basic school course (targeting 180,000 students); train 250 teachers from secondary schools; and provide psychosocial support and vocational training to over 200 mine/unexploded ordnance survivors and other children with disabilities.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs for 2009*
Sector US$
Health and Nutrition 4,000,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene 6,000,000
Education 1,200,000
Child Protection 800,000
Mine Action 400,000
Total** 12,400,000

* Funds received against this appeal will be used to respond to both the immediate and medium-term needs of children and women as outlined above. If UNICEF should receive funds in excess of the medium-term funding requirements for this emergency, UNICEF will use those funds to support other, underfunded emergencies.
** The total includes a maximum recovery rate of 7 per cent. The actual recovery rate on contributions will be calculated in accordance with UNICEF Executive Board Decision 2006/7 dated 9 June 2006.