The European Union (EU) has provided 86.8 million Ethiopian Birr (2 million Euros) to UNICEF to support vulnerable communities affected by desert locusts in the Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Somali and Tigray regions. The funding is being made available through the EU’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations directorate-general (ECHO).
The support is in addition to 2.4 million Euros the EU provided to UNICEF in May 2020 to address the nutrition impact of multiple hazards such as climate-induced recurrent droughts, disease outbreaks, and internal displacements in the Afar, Somali and Oromia regions.
Due to the combined effects of desert locusts, climate change and the secondary impacts of COVID-19, UNICEF and its nutrition partners anticipate the number of children needing treatment for severe acute malnutrition this year to rise by 24%.
Therefore, the number of children UNICEF is targeting for treatment has increased from the 460,000 children initially planned (including 16,000 refugees) to 570,000 children (of whom 18,400 are refugees).
“Children are always the most affected when livelihoods are eroded and access to food and adequate nutrition becomes a challenge,” says UNICEF Representative Adele Khodr.
“We are therefore immensely grateful to the European Union for providing this funding at this critical time. It will enable us to scale up our nutrition interventions and ensure that life-saving treatment reaches the dramatically increasing number of children in need across Ethiopia.”
With the first EU funding received in May 2020, UNICEF was able to procure and distribute 30,000 cartons of Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food for treating 30,000 severely malnourished children in Afar, Somali and Oromia regions.
“As one of the largest humanitarian donors in the world, the EU is committed to support efforts to address urgent humanitarian needs in Ethiopia,” said Yassine Gaba, the Head of the EU Humanitarian Aid’s office in Ethiopia. “Children are the most vulnerable during times of natural and man-made disasters, and with European help and solidarity, I am confident UNICEF will help address some of the most pressing needs.”