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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
© UNICEF, 2019


Ethiopia has significant humanitarian needs due to overlapping crises – conflicts, natural hazards and epidemic outbreaks. The protection of people affected by conflicts across the country is deeply concerning.

The 2-year conflict in northern Ethiopia, which ended in November 2022, triggered a dire humanitarian situation. Hundreds of thousands were reportedly killed and millions displaced. Further conflicts are now affecting the regions of Amhara, Oromia, and other areas.

Since September 2023, several regions are affected by unprecedented floods with devastating consequences. This follows a prolonged drought, the worst in the region for 40 years, that has led to soaring food and nutritional insecurity and loss of income opportunities.

What are the needs?

The conflict in northern Ethiopia has led to massive and acute humanitarian needs in Afar, Amhara and Tigray, which are still only partially addressed. Some vital infrastructure such as health facilities, water installations and schools have been destroyed.

In other areas such as Amhara, Oromia, Sidama, Somali and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNP) ongoing, violence and other inter-communal tensions continue to threaten the lives of many. As a result, humanitarian needs increase, and people face prolonged displacement.

In addition, eastern and southern Ethiopia have experienced an unprecedented, prolonged drought following 5 consecutive failed rainy seasons, which left nearly 12 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in drought-affected areas.

Animal carcass lying in the desert
This woman lost all her livestock to the drought. Another Oromia resident had 300 livestock heads and is now left with 27. In Borena zone alone, 573,000 livestock heads have perished due to the depletion and subsequent exhaustion of pasture and water.
© European Union, 2022 (photographer: Silvya Bolliger)

Extreme weather patterns are becoming the norm, further fueled by El Niño climate pattern.

Recent floods have caused death and destruction and affected some 800,000 people in the regions of Somali, Oromia, Gambella, Afar, and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's region. So far 371,000 people have been displaced and more are expected to flee in the weeks to come.

Ethiopia hosts over 950,000 refugees, mainly from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan. They rely almost entirely on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs.

Epidemic outbreaks remain a major public health threat. A cholera outbreak which started in August 2022 has spread nationwide.

Ethiopia country map

How are we helping?

In 2023, the EU has allocated €60.5 million to humanitarian projects in Ethiopia, topped up by another €22 million, and an additional €2 million to address the cholera outbreak and the impact of floods.

This brings the total of EU humanitarian funding to €84.5 million to support conflict- and climate-affected populations.

The EU helps vulnerable people in Ethiopia by contributing to:

  • rapid, multi-sectors life-saving humanitarian response to conflict-affected people
  • vulnerable people affected by natural shocks, including drought, floods, epidemic outbreaks
  • assistance to refugees, asylum-seekers and internally displaced people.

Through its humanitarian actions, the EU supports the provision of (i) protection, (ii) food aid, (iii) safe water, (iv) shelter, (v) basic essential items, (vi) nutritional assistance, (vii) health care, (viii) disease prevention, (iv) logistic support to humanitarian operations, and (v) education in emergency for children caught up in humanitarian crises.

Last updated: 29/11/2023

Facts & figures

Over 950,000 refugees, mostly from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan (UNHCR)

4.4 million are internally displaced (UNHCR)

Over 15 million estimated to be food insecure(OCHA)

Over 20 million people need humanitarian assistance (HRP, 2023)

EU humanitarian funding:
€84.5 million in 2023.