The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners today launched the Ethiopia Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP) for 2018. The HDRP seeks US$1.66 billion to reach 7.88 million people with emergency food and non-food assistance, mainly in the southern and south-eastern parts of the country.
This is the nineteenth year of Ethiopia’s Commissioner for Disaster management, Ato Mitiku Kassa, overseeing annual humanitarian appeals for Ethiopia and he is convinced the time is right for a shift in approach to a response plan that incorporates disaster prevention and resilience building. “I have personally overseen eighteen annual humanitarian appeals. This appeal is my nineteenth. Humanitarian assistance save lives, but it is not sustainable, now is the time to move from dependency to investing in recovery, sustainable livelihoods, and the resilience of vulnerable populations.” Says Commissioner Mitiku.
Moving away from years of isolated short-term response in a context of mostly predictable humanitarian needs, Ethiopia’s 2018 Humanitarian Requirements Document, now newly named the Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan (HDRP), represents a first step towards the development of a multi-year planning framework that will seek to increase the quality and predictability of delivery; and mitigate future needs.
“We know drought is here and getting stronger, so why do we respond with short-term unsustainable measures. Why do we continue to transport water to drought affected areas instead of digging emergency boreholes which is more sustainable? Why do we transport fodder to pastoralist areas instead of producing the fodder in the communities? Medium to long term intervention is the key.” Says Commissioner Mitiku.
The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia, Mrs. Ahunna Eziakonwa-Onuchie, echoed Commissioner Mitiku’s concerns. “The Government of Ethiopia and partners are hopeful that through highlighting the need for longer-term investments, while advocating for timely response to current urgent needs, that affected and vulnerable communities can get the support they need to build back their lives following three years of back-to-back droughts,” Says Mrs. Eziakonwa-Onuchie.
The message is loud and clear: drought does not have to trigger humanitarian needs. The key is investment in long term development interventions that support the recovery of affected communities, and build vulnerable populations’ resilience to future shocks.