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CERF Allocates US$10 Million to Kickstart Drought Impact Mitigation Efforts in South-Eastern Ethiopia

Yesterday, 5 June, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mr. Mark Lowcock, allocated US$45 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to immediately scale up food and nutrition assistance, safe water provision, livelihoods protection and other urgent humanitarian support to drought-affected people across parts of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya. Of this funding envelop, $10 million is allocated for Ethiopia.

Failed 2019 spring rains have led to this new drought in the Horn of Africa, including southern Ethiopia, impacting communities that are still recovering from years of consecutive droughts. Reports of water shortages and deteriorating livestock body conditions and livestock deaths from lack of pasture and water are increasing. The National Meteorological Agency also confirmed that below average performance of the 2019 summer (June-September) rains is expected to affect the south eastern parts of the country, mostly Somali region where communities will suffer two consecutive dry seasons.

Food insecurity is expected to peak between June and October, with more than half of the population in affected areas estimated to face crisis level of food insecurity, calling for urgent action to put in place measures to mitigate the worst of the drought impact. Malnutrition and health-related morbidity and mortality as well as protection risks exponentially increase during a drought, especially amongst the most vulnerable sections of society, said Mr. Aeneas Chuma, United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia.

The Somali region has already prepared a prioritized Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan (EPRP) targeting 1.27 million people across their 11 zones. The Plan seeks US$20.7 million to mainly address the drought impact. Half of the requirement is for emergency agriculture and livestock interventions. Taking into account other drought-affected areas (outside Somali region), some 3.8 million people are expected to require early action to avoid a humanitarian crisis at an estimated cost of US$40 to 60 million.

Appreciating the timeliness of CERF's financial contribution to Ethiopia's new drought response, Mr. Chuma noted, if we don't respond quickly, the humanitarian context is bound to quickly deteriorate, leading to unnecessary suffering, a costlier humanitarian operation and loss of development gains. While announcing CERF's contribution of $10 million to Ethiopia, Mr. Lowcock urged donors to increase their support for drought early action response, in addition to critical assistance to the ongoing nationwide response to internal displacement.

CERF was established in 2006 to avail urgent and much needed funds to humanitarian agencies to respond to new or deteriorating humanitarian situations around the world.

Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs