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Coronavirus - Ethiopia: COVID-19 Humanitarian impact - Situation Update

This report is prepared under the auspices of the National Emergency Coordination Center for COVID-19 response, led by the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), supported by OCHA Ethiopia with participation of Cluster Coordinators. This issue covers the period from 26 July - 8 August 2020.

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As of 8 August, Ethiopia reported 22,253 confirmed COVID-19 cases compared to 13,248 on 25 July. The cumulative number of recoveries has reached 9,707, while the number of deaths has increased to 390. Cases have risen exponentially in the last two weeks, with Addis Ababa counting a total of 15,105 cases. (Source: MoH/ Ethiopia Public Health Institute, EPHI). The Government announced a month-long nationwide COVID-19 testing and prevention campaign with a plan to carry out 400,000 tests. In a public statement, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that "following the conflicts and protests of recent weeks (Oromo), we are seeing the equivalent of monthly case numbers in just a few days." The guideline that allows for people coming from abroad to quarantine at home upon presentation of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before arrival, has been revised to the presentation of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days prior to arrival. As of 3 August, 17 COVID-19 positive cases were confirmed positive in the Qoloji IDP site and eight other positive cases in two (Kabribayah and Awbare) refugees' sites of the Somali region. The Qoloji IDP site hosts an estimated 12,532 HHs (75,192 individuals) residing in overcrowded settings. The Regional Health Bureau (RHB) has decided to increase random surveillance testing in all IDPs sites and refugee camps in the region. Addis Ababa Mayor's Office has formed a coalition with private sector companies and non-governmental organizations (NGO) and launched a project called "Tenachin Bejachin" means "Our Health is in Our Hands" with a total potential value of US$6 million to support a population of 1.2 million COVID-19 vulnerable people in the metropolis. Two private firms, namely Dalberg and Roha have taken the initiative to organize the first of its kind public-private partnership. Roha secured US$1 million needed for the pilot project while the remaining US$5 million of the needed funds will be secured by donors, private sector players, and NGOs. In the countrywide measles immunization campaign, the Government of Ethiopia, with the support of UNICEF and partners, has reached approximately 14.2 children, including 89,386 children in refugee camps. According to the Ministry of Health, this represents 96 percent of the initial target of reaching 15 million children. COVID-19 and unrest, in some parts of the country, are some of the challenges faced by implementers during the immunization campaign. The first progress report of the Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) for COVID-19 was released on 1 July with a requirement of US$7.32 billion. As of 31 July, the funding requirements for COVID-19 response have risen to US$39.76 billion out of which US$506 million is allotted to Ethiopia. As of 8 August, $10.26 billion (19.9 percent) has been funded. For further updates:https://fts.unocha.org/appeals/952/summaryand for the monthly GHRP funding update (as of 31 July):https://reliefweb.int/node/3659709.

Situation Overview

Humanitarian needs in Ethiopia have increased as a result of COVID-19, the impact of the desert locust infestation, floods, and changes to the displacement landscape.

Based on the National Meteorology Agency (NMA) weather outlook, normal and above normal rainfall is expected in August in the south-western, western, and central parts of the country. In July, especially in the second decade, above average rain was observed in these areas. As a result, floods were observed in Oromia (Ilu and Sebeta woredas), Afar (Asayita, Dubti, Millie, Dulecha and Awash Fentale woredas), SNNP (Dasench and Gnagatom woredas), Amhara (Fogera, Dera and Libokemkem woredas) and Gambela (Agnewak and Nuwer zones). This trend is expected to continue in August. As of 5 August 2020, close to 124,291 people were affected by flooding in Afar, Oromia, SNNP, Amhara, Gambella, and Somali regions, of whom 53,158 were displaced. The National Disaster Risk Management Commission, in collaboration with humanitarian partners, is currently working on flood preparedness and operational response measures. The NDRMC has supported the regional governments to address the current displacement by providing food, NFI, boats, and helicopter in support of ongoing flood-response operations. Critical gaps identified include ES/NFIs, boats, and finances to cover the full operation. On Friday 7 August, a Flood Task Force meeting was convened to review the current flood situation across the country and prepare a Flood Response Plan.

In a public statement, the State Minister of Health, Dr. Dereje Duguma, stated that the country has launched mass testing for coronavirus and would carry out 200,000 COVID-19 tests in two weeks and expects 10,000 new confirmed cases as a result of this campaign. The plan is to cover 80 per cent of the country's woredas, testing people in 17 million houses (80 to 85 million of the total estimated 110 million population) via door to door service in 1,000 identified locations, where vulnerable people are present. Committees led by the ministry and presidents of each state have been organized across the country to combat the pandemic to work together to achieve the campaign results. The Government will also evaluate the outcome of the campaign through time to ease federal restrictions, including the academic and economic activities, in contrast with the pandemic.

According to WFP markets and supply chain watch reports (7-27 July 2020), most of the surveyed markets reported low demand dynamics, which likely to be an indication of households' deteriorating purchasing power, possibly because of lost or reduced livelihoods in light of COVID-19 factors. Similarly, the unrest in July critically reduced supplies and the availability of fruits and vegetables across Ethiopia. The availability of crucial staples (maize, sorghum, and wheat) was also generally adversely affected, but to a lesser extent, in the majority of surveyed markets. The maize prices have shown a modest increase in some monitored markets due to transport disruption from surplus to deficient markets. The prices of shoats (a hybrid sheep/goat) in the Somali Region steadily decreased due to low export demand in connection with the Hajj not taking place this year. Additionally, the steady weakening of the Ethiopian Birr against the US Dollar and cash withdrawal limits appear to have impacted trade dynamics in some Somali Region markets. The various supply chain factors could affect future availability and prices of imported food items in the Somali Region.

On 5 August 2020, IOM and partners from 27 humanitarian and development organizations and Governments across Horn of Africa and Yemen launched the Regional Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) for 2020 with an appeal of US$84 million to provide life-saving assistance to hundreds of thousands of African migrants and host community members affected by COVID-19 in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. According to the RMRP, a total of US$ 43 million is needed to provide the required assistance to 127,000 vulnerable Ethiopian migrants. For further updates: bit.ly/2DIdf5P.

In a press briefing, the Commissioner of the Jobs Creation Dr. Ephraim Teklu stated that within four months, 330,000 jobs were affected/lost by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Commissioner, only 62 percent out of the three million jobs were found to be sustainable while the remaining, being temporary jobs, will likely terminate in less than a year. The Government has introduced a US$42 billion emergency and stimulation package to help affected individuals and businesses sustain the impact of the pandemic.

According to UNICEF, WASH activities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak have mainly focused on the construction of latrines and handwashing stations as well as in the provision of emergency water trucking to prevent COVID-19 transmission and improving sanitation in health facilities. A cumulative number of 1,985,975 people have been reached through the provision of WASH Non-Food Items (NFI) since the beginning of the COVID-19 response. Moreover, two hospitals in Bokoji and Asela have received roto tanks from UNICEF, bringing to 91 the total number of facilities (treatment, isolation and quarantine sites) accessing safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene through emergency water trucking, aimed at preventing COVID-19 transmission.

The return of Ethiopians from abroad continues. According to IOM, Ethiopia received more than 23,960 returnees between 1 April and 06 August: 5,789 from Djibouti, 5,639 from Somalia, 5,049 from Sudan, 3,162 from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), 1,024 from Kuwait, 995 from Kenya, 650 from Lebanon, and some more from other countries. At least 1,497 returnees are currently in quarantine centers. The Government, with support from IOM and other partners, is providing direct assistance to the returnees in quarantine facilities, including registration, food, water, NFIs, and onward transportation assistance.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
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