17.7 Billion Birr Needed for Humanitarian COVID-19 Impact Response

Photo Credit- UNICEF

The Government of Ethiopia (GOE) and humanitarian partners have released a revised 2020 humanitarian requirement document outlining 17.7 Billion Birr (half a billion dollar) is needed for COVID-19 humanitarian impact response. The revised plan targets 9.8 million people for COVID-19-related interventions

The targeted intervention plan, released yesterday June 11, 2020, aims to mitigate income losses as a result of slowing economic growth and unemployment that threaten the lives and livelihoods of millions of vulnerable Ethiopians.

Since April 2020, the country has been under a state of emergency that has imposed various resections to combat the impact of the virus. The restrictions combined with the global economic effect of the virus had taken a toll on the country’s economy.

Addressing the House of Representatives, prime minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) on June 9, 2020, stated that as a result of economic challenges induced by the pandemic the country is going to witness a six percent economic growth in the current Ethiopian year, three percent below the planned growth set at the beginning of the year.

In Ethiopia, the COVID-19 response is coordinated by the Emergency Coordination Centers both at the federal and regional levels.  Humanitarian partners have so far committed over 150 million dollars to the COVID-19 National Emergency Response Plan through re-programming existing funds while continuing to mobilize additional resources.

Recent estimates show that COVID-19 could push 40 to 60 million people globally into extreme poverty, 27 million of whom live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Today, more than ever, the Government and people of Ethiopia need steadfast support from international partners. The country needs urgent additional financing to not only control the pandemic before it further spreads across the country but to also mitigate the adverse impact of COVID-19 on the already dire humanitarian context,” said Dr. Catherine Sozi, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia.

In addition to the COVID-19 response, the document also includes additional humanitarian priorities since the January release of the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan prepared by the GOE and international partners such as the UN.

The plan states in addition to virus impact intervention an additional one billion dollars is needed for emergency food and non-food response assistance for 6.5 million people bringing the total cost to 1.65 billion dollars.

The Humanitarian response document is prepared annually by the GOE and humanitarian partners identifying the number of people in need of assistance as well as focus areas of the targeted support.

The document that was revised was initially produced in January 2020 and targeted 7 million people with emergency food and non-food assistance and with an estimated cost of 1 billion dollars.  However, the plan had to be revised as a result of the COVID-19 impact now including 16.5 million people under its plan.