News: Cholera outbreak, malnutrition crisis grip Ethiopia as funding falls short

A girl receiving the oral cholera vaccine in Shashemene during a campaign last year (Photo: OCHA)

Addis Abeba – The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has released a report indicating the number of cholera cases in Ethiopia has reached alarming levels. As of 02 August, 2023, there had been over 16,800 reported cases, with 212 deaths. The regions most affected by this outbreak include Oromia, Sidama, and Somali.

In response to the cholera outbreak in multiple regions, OCHA has stated that humanitarian efforts are underway to provide support. This includes the provision of critical medical supplies, logistical assistance, and risk communications to combat the crisis.

In a report published in May 2023, OCHA revealed that a total of 6,157 cholera cases were reported across 348 kebeles spanning 54 woredas. This outbreak has resulted in 94 fatalities, making it one of the most enduring outbreaks witnessed in the country. The gravity of the situation is further underscored by OCHA’s warning that the outbreak has extended its reach to additional regions, putting nearly 7 million people in Ethiopia at risk of contracting cholera.

The focus of the UN agency has also shifted towards addressing the prevalent issue of malaria in Ethiopia. Shockingly, 1.7 million individuals have been affected by malaria, resulting in the loss of 200 lives as of 30July, 2023.

Furthermore, Ethiopia is grappling with a severe crisis of acute malnutrition among its children. More than 1.2 million children across the country are currently affected. Humanitarian organizations are working to address malnutrition concerns in various regions, such as Afar, Amhara, Oromia, Sidama, and Tigray. OCHA has stated that over 30 United Nations agencies, as well as international and national non-governmental organizations, are actively supporting the response against malnutrition in Ethiopia.

Despite these pressing needs, the current humanitarian appeal for 2023 amounts to $4 billion, but only 27% of the funding has been secured so far, as reported by OCHA. This indicates a significant shortfall in funding, which poses challenges to effectively addressing the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia, according to the UN agency. AS

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