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Over 8.5 million people in seven regions of Ethiopia highly food insecure

  • Food security analysis for rural populations dependent on Belg pastoral and agro-pastoral areas, conducted in seven regions of Ethiopia, indicates that, despite ongoing Humanitarian Food Assistance (HFA), an estimated 8.5 million people (21% of the 41 million people analysed) are highly acute food insecure in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher between July and September 2020. Of these, about 7.1 million people were classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and about 1.4 million people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4).
  • Between October and December 2020, Ethiopia’s food security situation is likely to improve slightly due to the seasonal (Meher) harvests. However, below-average Belg season production, due to desert locust infestation, poor rainfall performance in localized areas, conflict & climate-induced displacement and high food prices fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic, will likely result in around 6.7 million people in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher, despite planned and funded humanitarian response.
  • Between January and June 2021, households relying on pastoral livelihoods typically depend on markets for food during this period. With food inflation at around 24% in July 2020, prices are expected to remain higher than previous years during the lean season, affecting market access. While safety nets are expected during this period, the analysis could not include HFA because it is yet to be planned. About 11.1 million people are expected to be in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) or higher.


  • Economic decline and inflation: Significant macroeconomic challenges still prevail in the country, resulting in high inflation rates, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19 prevention measures.
  • Population Displacement: The country recorded 1.8 million internally-displaced people (IDPs) with a majority (1.2 million people) due to conflict, as well as climate-induced factors such as drought and flooding.
  • Desert Locusts: Worst invasion in the last 25 years affecting 76 woredas (zones) in both Belg and Meher seasons. Ethiopia is now the epicenter of the East and Central Africa region. New swarms have been detected in provenance from Yemen.
  • Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic: Lockdown and other measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have had a negative impact on food availability and access, more precisely on food prices, income and food expenditure.





Actions Needed

  • Provide urgent actions to save lives and livelihoods of populations estimated in Emergency (IPC Phase 4), as well as protect livelihoods and reduce food consumption gaps for the populations estimated in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). Special focus should also be directed towards the households unable to purchase food due to lack of employment and other income sources because of COVID-19 measures.
  • Provide emergency agricultural and livestock support to farmers, with a special focus on administrative zones affected by natural disasters, including: floods, drought and desert locusts. Scale up diversified livelihoods programmes for improved self-reliance, resilience building and social protection for all vulnerable communities classified under Stressed (IPC Phase 2) and higher.
  • Implement agriculture and market polices including improved seed cultivation.
  • Rehabilitate the infrastructure (roads, markets) to ensure easy access for traders and suitable infrastructure, and implement water harvesting programs in water- deficit administrative zones.
  • Scale up and improve access to basic services (health and WASH) throughout the year. In areas affected by water shortages and public health challenges, improve access to water, hygiene and sanitation for affected populations, as well as improve access to water to support community-based initiatives that contribute to stabilizing and maintaining livelihoods.
  • Strengthen and support initiatives addressing cross-cutting issues of food security and nutrition status of vulnerable groups, Promote good nutritional practices at household levels through nutrition-sensitive activities, such as: home gardening and educational awareness on food and water safety.
  • Restore and enhance the livelihoods of IDP returnees, as well as vulnerable farming and pastoralist communities, by subsidizing basic commodities and agricultural inputs.
  • Continue the public works programs under the Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP), and rehabilitation of rural community assets, through food and cash-based transfers aiming at improving access to food and restoring employment opportunities lost during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Support ongoing initiatives on social cohesion and peace building efforts in order to reduce the impact of conflicts on food security, nutrition and livelihoods of affected populations. Conflict-induced displacement has continued damaging people's lives and livelihoods. The humanitarian community, donors and partners should continue advocating for and implementing an integrated approach of providing humanitarian assistance, in parallel to resilience of livelihoods and continuous monitoring of the IDP situation.

IPC Classification Map

July - September 2020
October - December 2020
January - June 2021

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