UN faces funding shortfall to meet humanitarian needs in Ethiopia as COVID-19 exacerbates situation

ADDIS ABABA (EI) — The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said on Wednesday it is facing a funding shortfall to meet humanitarian needs of vulnerable Ethiopians as the ongoing COVID-19 exacerbated the crisis.

The UNOCHA, in its latest periodic update report issued on Wednesday, stressed that only 31.2 percent of the updated requirement of 1.65 billion U.S. dollars was funded, including 432.4 million U.S. dollars received from various donors and 83.1 million U.S. dollars allocated from the government of Ethiopia.

“The Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) remains highly underfunded to meet current needs. The unmet requirements have never been so high at mid-year, and never exceeded 1 billion U.S. dollars,” the UNOCHA stressed.

Out of the revised 1.65 billion overall requirement for the remainder of the year, about 1.14 billion U.S. dollars is said to be for non-COVID-19 requirements, while the remaining 506 million U.S. dollars is said to be for COVID-19 requirement.

Noting that some 108,800 internally displaced people (IDPs) have been identified for prioritized COVID-19 response, the UNOCHA also stressed that displaced populations who live in communal settings tend to suffer disproportionately from poor health conditions due to the hardships of displacement that often lead to high malnutrition rates and other underlying health factors, making IDPs more susceptible to illnesses.

The joint Ethiopia government-humanitarian partners document identified close to 16.5 million people who need emergency food and non-food assistance at a cost of 1.65 billion U.S. dollars.

Ethiopia is facing a huge humanitarian crisis caused by a host of factors including persistent food insecurity, displacement, disease outbreaks, climate change and the rapidly increasing cases of COVID-19.

In addition, the east African country is facing the worst desert locust invasion in decades with the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians put in jeopardy.

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