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UNICEF faces funding gap to meet mounting humanitarian needs in Ethiopia



The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on Monday called for urgent funding to respond to the growing humanitarian needs in Ethiopia.

UNICEF, in its latest Ethiopia humanitarian situation report issued on Monday, said its Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) 2023 Appeal required 674.3 million dollars to meet the critical humanitarian needs of children, adolescents, women, and men in the East African country.

It said the figure represented an increase of nearly 142 million dollars from 2022 due to ongoing drought driven by climatic shocks, the scale-up of humanitarian interventions in northern Ethiopia following the cessation of hostilities, inter-communal conflict throughout the country, and flooding, among others.

It further attributed the increase to numerous public health emergencies, including an outbreak of cholera in southern and south-eastern Ethiopia.

It said the humanitarian challenges were “deepening food insecurity and leading to persistently high levels of overall need.”

According to the UN Children’s Fund, including 50.9 million dollars in funds carried over from 2022, only 111.2 million dollars has been received towards the appeal to date.

It said the financial amount received thus far represented only 16 per cent of the required needs to reach children and their families with critical lifesaving and life-sustaining support.

Within the appeal, the response to conflict-affected northern Ethiopia and drought response took the centre stage, in which funding dedicated to the response in northern Ethiopia has been budgeted at 255.7 million dollars and fully incorporated into the HAC, according to UNICEF.

Another 345.4 million dollars within the HAC has been dedicated to responding to the severe drought that has impacted over 24 million people across four regions in Ethiopia, it said.

The remaining amount of the appeal was made to address additional areas of humanitarian intervention.

“UNICEF continues to appeal for support to close the remaining gaps and to ensure that children and their caregivers receive lifesaving support in 2023 and beyond,” it said.

Since the beginning of 2023, UNICEF has been able to mobilise 35.8 million dollars for the Northern Ethiopia Response Plan and 33.3 million dollars for the drought response.

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Sheji Halima

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