Joint Statement by Ambassador Shiferaw Teklemariam, Commissioner of the Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management Commission and Dr. Ramiz Alakbarov, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia on unprecedented floods
30 November 2023
Joint Statement on unprecedented floods.
In recent weeks, an estimated 1.5 million people in Ethiopia have been affected by ongoing floods and 600,000 displaced, intensifying the suffering of communities yet to recover from five consecutive seasons of severe drought in the Horn of Africa.
A delegation led by the Commissioner of the Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management Commission, and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, in which key UN and NGO representatives participated, conducted field visits to affected areas between November 24 and 26 to assess the situation and explore options to scale up relief efforts.
Currently, the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners are providing multi-sector lifesaving assistance to affected communities; however, the assistance remains sporadic and insufficient due to limited resources and response capacity in some areas. In Somali region out of more than 1 million affected, and around 500,000 newly displaced, only 10 per cent have been assisted. It is crucial to note that partners were already dealing with limited funds to respond to the previous drought and its lingering impact. As a result, vulnerable communities, still grappling with the aftermath of drought, face exacerbated challenges with subsequent flooding, worsening the ongoing climate crisis, and making recovery an uphill battle.
The impact of the flooding spans across 23 zones, affecting 85 districts in seven of the country's twelve regions. In some areas, communities report this as the worst flooding witnessed in years.
The most affected regions, including Somali, South East, Gambela, Oromia, Afar and Sidama underscore the severity of the situation. Somali region alone accounts for 80 per cent of those affected, with Shabelle, Afder, Liban, and Dawa zones experiencing the most substantial impact.
The floods have caused extensive damage, affecting lives, displacing populations, and devastating crops, livestock, and vital infrastructure. Houses, shops, schools, and agricultural lands are submerged. Additionally, health risks have surged, leading to increased cases of cholera, malaria, and dengue fever due to damaged water and sanitation facilities and a surge in mosquito populations.
In addition to the ongoing lifesaving operations the Government has deployed its national defense force helicopters and boats for rescue operations, but also to support transportation of relief aid to hard-to-reach areas.
Urgent action is needed to swiftly bolster the response by mobilizing additional resources and logistical capacity, both locally and globally. Accessing affected areas for humanitarian supply delivery poses the most significant challenge and while the government has mobilized land and air assets, significant gaps remain. Due to inaccessible roads, entire villages have been cut off rendering markets non-functional. Consequently, communities heavily rely on humanitarian deliveries.
It is also imperative to address funding needs beyond the immediate humanitarian response to ensure that predictable, multi-year funding can expedite life-saving assistance, while addressing root causes and supporting communities to adapt to climate change and become more resilient to future shocks.
For more information, please contact:
• Muluneh Woldemariam, Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management Commission (EDRMC), +251-910318103, email@example.com;
• Hayat Abu-Saleh, UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, +251-911218934, firstname.lastname@example.org .