More than 22 million people were estimated to need humanitarian assistance in Ethiopia in 2022. Many faced the tragic consequences of conflict, particularly communities in the regions of Afar, Amhara, Tigray and Southern Nations (SNNPR).
At the same time, natural disasters pushed people’s coping mechanisms to their limits. Communities across the vastness of the Somali region experienced what is reported as the worst drought in 40 years, and when floods struck the Gambella region, more than 180,000 people were displaced from their homes, and health facilities suffered extensive damage.
Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) responds to emergency medical and humanitarian needs of people in all these regions, including those impacted by deadly neglected tropical diseases endemic to Ethiopia. MSF staff share what they have seen about the necessity and impact of humanitarian action in Ethiopia.
Stabilising people with malnutrition in Sitti zone, Somali region
“For three months, between July and September, we responded to a terrible emergency in Sitti Zone in the Somali region of Ethiopia, an area cyclically afflicted by a combination of drought and floods, loss of livelihoods, as well as nearby conflict and displacement,” says Anna, MSF’s project coordinator.
The challenge was to find a way to respond to the enormous needs of communities scattered across a huge area. MSF ran mobile nutrition stabilization clinics in several locations that carried out screenings and a first response to malnutrition with therapeutic food. The project was aimed at children, but severely malnourished adults were also provided with medical care and patients with complications were transported back to the inpatient therapeutic feeding facility MSF supported in Asbuli for more advanced care.
“Over the course of three months, almost 2,600 people received medical consultations. We know that our activities were limited, as we could only respond to the needs of people we could reach or who could reach us,” says Anna. “However, I consider the intervention successful because it was launched at the right time and, together with the work of regional authorities and other organisations, undoubtedly saved lives and helped bridge the hunger gap for people until the rains finally came along.”
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Médecins sans frontières (MSF).