The Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) appealed for nine billion birr in order to support a total of 2.53 million people,who are in need of urgent humanitarian assistance in Tigray, Amhara, SNNPR and Benishangul-Gumuz regions.
Citing the ERCS assessment undertaken from December 8-15, 2020, on the current Ethiopian conflict and violence on the ground, the President of ERCS, Abera Tolla said that the requested nine billion birr is needed to provide general and supplementary food, non-food items, essential shelter, healthcare facilities, water and sanitation services and for social support and livelihood recovery.
Based on the assessment, more than 2.5 million people are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance, out of which 565,000 are in need of general food assistance and another 1.3 million require supplementary food assistance.
About 674,000 displaced and affected people are in Western Tigray and Northern Gonder, while 1.3 million people live in central, North Western, Eastern and South Eastern Tigray. 395,000 people are in Southern Tigray, Northern Wello and Afar, while 340,000 people are in Metekel and 205,000 people in Konso, Alle, Derashe, Bench Sheko and Guraferda.
The ERCS called on Ethiopians, the Diaspora community, non-governmental organizations and international communities to show their solidarity by supporting affected citizens financially and/or in kind.
“The year 2019-20 was a difficult and challenging year for millions of Ethiopians and the country as a whole. Humans and nature made calamities, mainly conflict, flood, locust swarm, COVID-19 among others, alternately ravaging Ethiopia causing an endless humanitarian crisis,” Abera said.
Mentioning the September 2020 report by the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), Abera indicated that the locust upsurge in mid-October 2020 has damaged hundreds of thousands of hectares of crop and grazing lands, exposing millions of people to humanitarian assistance in Amhara, Tigray, Oromia, Dire Dawa, Afar, Harari and Somali regions. Flooding has also affected 1.09 million people, out of which 313,179 people were displaced across the country.
Regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in Ethiopia, its economic, social, health, education and political impact has continued to affect millions of people. “Adding to all these difficulties, the recent conflict and violence have complicated humanitarian response of the National Society,” said Abera.
In 2019/2020, the ERCS provided food and non-food items support, early recovery and rehabilitation services, covid-19 protection and mitigation services, ambulance and first-aid services, psychosocial support and restoring family link services to over 36 million individuals spending over 700 million birr.
In the first quarter of the Ethiopian budget year, ERCS reached out to 138,000 beneficiaries, who were in need of humanitarian support with 70 million Birr. About 300 volunteers and staff and a 100 ambulances were mobilized for this humanitarian mission including in the locust swarm affected areas of the country, in which the ERCS was actively involved in saving the lives and protecting the livelihoods of the vulnerable.
Since the onset of conflict and violence over the last two months, the ERCS has provided ambulance and first aid services and non-food items including medicine and essential shelter for victims. Moreover, the ERCS Mekele branch has been providing water to residents using water trucks. These services were given to over 200,000 persons at a cost of 30 million birr, the ERCS said.