The El Niño phenomenon has significantly impacted weather patterns in Ethiopia this year, limiting agricultural production, straining livelihoods, and exacerbating food insecurity among vulnerable households. As El Niño continues into 2016, Ethiopia is likely to experience both prolonged drought and intense flooding that will further deteriorate conditions.
The projected levels of need for relief food assistance in Ethiopia have grown from 2.9 million people in early 2015 to 10.2 million people as of December 11th. Approximately 5.8 million people will need clean water.
To address this humanitarian crisis, the United States announced an additional $88 million in humanitarian assistance to increase funding for nutrition, food, water, sanitation and hygiene support. With this new assistance, USAID will scale up rapid response systems for nutrition and water, and support partners to jumpstart pipelines of relief supplies. This follows the release of the Humanitarian Requirements Document on December 11th, to which the United States immediately responded and released approximately 116,460 metric tons of food assistance.
USAID is currently supporting approximately 3.9 million Ethiopians and refugees with relief food assistance.
Additionally, USAID provides approximately $100 million annually in support of the Productive Safety Net Program, which the Government of Ethiopia has expanded to reach nearly 8 million of the most chronically food insecure. Through the provision of regular food and cash transfers, households can protect critical assets, such as livestock, during times of crisis.
Ethiopia is now better able to cope with such crises due to improved tracking of the progression of El Niño and its impact, the establishment of the Productive Safety Net Program, and serious engagement by the Government of Ethiopia to analyze and respond to the ongoing crisis exacerbated by El Niño. USAID’s resilience investments—-including efforts to safeguard livelihood assets and better manage natural resources—-are also helping the most vulnerable Ethiopian households cope with the impacts of El Nino. Nevertheless, these are the driest conditions ever recorded in parts of Ethiopia, and there is an urgent need for all donors to step up and do what they can.
The United States will continue to work with the Government of Ethiopia and its international partners to provide humanitarian relief and adapt development efforts to help meet the immediate needs of those most impacted by El Niño, help mitigate the impact of the drought, and speed recovery.