© UNICEF/NYHQ2005-1286/Getachew

A girl rests under an insecticide-treated mosquito net in the village of Karo Duss. An estimated 270,000 children are expected to suffer severe acute malnutrition as a result of the combined effects of poor harvests, drought, flooding and conflict.

Critical Issues for Children and Women

Food security is expected to deteriorate further in 2010 as a result of the delayed start of the major rains in 2009, which normally fall between June to September, and the arrival of El Niño which is expected during the last months of 2009.  These phenomena follow several years of below-average rains and could trigger a chain of disastrous events – drought, insufficient harvests, flooding, population displacement and outbreaks of waterborne diseases. As a result of these environmental shocks, it is estimated that 270,000 children under five will require treatment for severe acute malnutrition. Conflict will likely also continue to affect five of Ethiopia’s Ogaden zones in the eastern Somali region. It is anticipated that in total, an estimated 220,000 children will have their education interrupted because of the combined effects of drought, floods and conflicts.

Planned Humanitarian Action for 2010

While continuing to update emergency preparedness and response plans, UNICEF will work with the Government of Ethiopia, United Nations agencies and other partners for a coordinated response to the humanitarian needs of over 6 million children who live in areas affected by drought, food insecurity and disease outbreaks. UNICEF will also provide leadership in the Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Education Clusters, and will participate in the Health and Food Security Clusters, to ensure preparedness and delivery of emergency assistance, jointly identifying and responding to urgent gaps.  Following are the expected results of UNICEF emergency interventions:

Health: UNICEF will support capacity building of longer-term health systems at the national level, while providing preventive interventions and immediate response to outbreaks of infectious diseases, especially among the drought- and conflict-affected populations in the Somali and Afar regions. Access to essential services will increase in part through the operation of health, nutrition, water, sanitation and hygiene mobile teams.

Nutrition: The UNICEF-led Nutrition Cluster will develop and roll out a nutrition surveillance system, which will provide timely information on the nutritional status of children countrywide. Essential child survival interventions will benefit 12 million children and 600,000 pregnant and lactating women while nutrition care services will be expanded to treat more than 70 per cent of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH): Sufficient safe water according to Sphere standards will be made available for up to 285,000 drought- or flood-affected people through water tankering and the rehabilitation or construction of water systems, while between 5 million and 7.5 million people will benefit from acute watery diarrhoea preparedness and containment measures.

Education: An estimated 220,000 children who dropped out of school because of drought, flood and conflict will be able to resume their schooling at either newly constructed temporary learning spaces or rehabilitated schools, while their teachers will receive training in education in emergencies.

Child Protection: At least 15,000 vulnerable children in the worst-affected regions will benefit from child-focused social welfare programmes, which provide referral case management systems for survivors of gender-based violence and access to health care.

HIV/AIDS: Crisis-affected communities will have access to a full range of HIV and sexual reproductive health services, including services to respond to sexual violence.

Summary of UNICEF Emergency Needs to fulfil
Core Commitments for Children for 2010
Sector US$
Health 13,200,000
Nutrition 38,000,000
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) 11,500,000
Education 3,460,000
Child Protection 1,800,000
HIV/AIDS 700,000
Total 68,660,000