Operation: Opération: Ethiopia



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Key Figures

2017 year-end results
1,000,000 primary health care consultations were conducted in refugee camps of which 10.5% were for members of the host community
570 birth certificates were issued to newly born refugee children 
17.2 litres of water were made available per refugee/day; 11 out of 26 camps met the minimum standard of 20 l/p/d
10% increase in access to primary education when compared to 2016
5 The under 5 mortality and crude mortality rates were maintained at 0.2 and 0.1 deaths/1,000/month respectively
2018 planning figures
189,000 women will receive sanitary materials
149,500 children will be enrolled in primary education 
28,500 households will benefit from constructed sanitary facilities 
4,500 transitional shelters will be provided to people of concern 
11.2 Prevalence of global acute malnutrition (6-59 months)

People of Concern Personnes relevant de la compétence du HCR

Increase in
2017 1,970,983
2016 794,133
2015 739,156


[["Refugees",889412],["Asylum-seekers",2609],["IDPs",1078429],["Returned refugees",3],["Others of concern",530]]
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2017 {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"budget":[193.15087926,283.71879953,311.641954085,279.32741856,330.548038811,327.80467587],"expenditure":[105.80377323,175.31367849,152.1095677,135.61655247,144.92837149,null]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[192.99460025,283.71879953,311.641954085,279.32741856,330.548038811,311.17581387],"p2":[0.15627901,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,16.628862]} {"categories":[2013,2014,2015,2016,2017,2018],"p1":[105.7491314,175.31367849,152.1095677,135.61655247,144.92837149,null],"p2":[0.05464183,null,null,null,null,null],"p3":[null,null,null,null,null,null],"p4":[null,null,null,null,null,null]}
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  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018

Operational context

Ethiopia is host to the second largest refugee population in the Africa region. With ongoing violent conflict and political instability in the region, the number of refugees in Ethiopia continued to increase throughout 2017 - with some 110,000 new arrivals registered.  95 per cent of the refugee population remains camp-based.
Ethiopia became a roll-out country for the implementation of the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF) in November 2017, in alignment with the nine pledges made by the Government at the Leaders’ Summit in 2016. Multi-stakeholder dialogues allowed for a common understanding of the CRRF approach in Ethiopia.
Despite considerable donor interest, the need to respond to competing priorities continued in 2017; the ongoing emergency response for the South Sudanese, which includes increasing the reach and quality of services provided in the camps; seeking to maintain the minimum humanitarian standard of service delivery within existing camps, while making prudent investments to move from emergency to transitional infrastructure; in addition to enabling interventions that align with the CRRF; including in registration, educational enrolment, and wider investments in coordination and national capacity.
There are more than one million internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ethiopia. In the east of the country, the September 2017 attempt to demarcate the border between the Somali and Oromiya regions resulted in widespread communal violence. Some 300,000 people were reportedly internally displaced in these two regions during the month of September alone. Monitoring by UNHCR and partners revealed significant gaps in the enjoyment of IDPs’ rights. UNHCR has engaged in the response as the lead agency of the Protection Cluster and was coordinating with the UN Country Team on protection related issues. 

Population trends

Throughout 2017, UNHCR provided protection assistance to close to 893,000 refugees and asylum-seekers residing in Ethiopia. Refugees were mainly from the neighbouring countries of South Sudan (421,900), Somalia (253,900), Eritrea (164,700), Sudan (44,400) and Yemen (1,800), with the remaining refugee population of 16 various nationalities.
Out of the total refugee population, 50.5 per cent were female while 49.5 per cent were male. The refugee population increased by 12 per cent when compared to 2016, mainly due to continued conflict and instability in the region.

Key achievements

In 2017, UNHCR:
  • Updated the Framework for the Protection of Children, Education Strategy, and Action against Sexual Gender-Based Violence Strategy;
  • Began the roll-out of the Infant and Young Child Feeding Framework to enhance the prevention of malnutrition and undertook two Nutrition Causal Analysis to understand the underlying causes of malnutrition;
  • In line with the Multi-Year Multi-Partnership strategy, completed the proclamation draft, with several explanatory regulations related to vital events registration;
  • Supported the creation of the CRRF governance structure, including the establishment of a national Coordination Unit which has provided an enabling environment for the implementation of the pledges - with a workshop initiated to support the formation of technical committees in education, access to services, local integration, livelihoods and self-reliance, out-of-camp, and civil documentation.

Unmet needs

  • Onward movement continued, though information outreach campaigns have had positive effect, explaining to people the potential dangers posed with irregular migration. The expansion of related activities will be required in 2018 and beyond.
  • While there has been a substantial 10 per cent increase in school enrolment rates, additional investments will be necessary to ensure refugee access in particular to secondary and tertiary education.
  • Additional investment will be required to mitigate and respond to instances of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and to combat traditional harmful practices.
  • Thousands of unaccompanied children were in ongoing need of foster care services, however, there is an insufficient number of foster care opportunities currently available.
  • Health service provision continues to be impacted by gaps in health facility coverage, with presently 44 heath facilities functioning in the refugee camps, with one facility supporting an average of 16,900 refugees, far above the minimum standard of 10,000 refugees per heath centre.
  • Global acute malnutrition (GAM) prevalence remains above the emergency threshold of 15 per cent in 11 out of 26 camps.
  • Only 32.6 per cent of households have a family latrine.
  • The risk of communicable disease outbreaks remained high due to insufficient WASH services, poor hygiene practices and continuous influx of new arrival from countries with low vaccination coverage. 

Working environment

The Government of Ethiopia has an open door policy for refugees. It, however, maintains reservations to the 1951 Convention regarding the right to work and freedom of movement for refugees living in Ethiopia.  In 2016, localised security incidents affected the operation in Gambella region. Violent protests that erupted in the Amhara and Oromia regions led to the declaration of a six month State of Emergency across the country in October 2016. Ethiopia is also experiencing one of its worst droughts in decades and the negative impact is anticipated to reverberate into 2017. 

Key priorities

In 2017 UNHCR’s operation will focus on:
•    safeguarding the institution of asylum, mainstreaming protection into all programmes; 
•    support access into services for people of concern; 
•    active pursuit of durable solutions and provision of alternatives to onward movements; and
•    development of innovative, more cost-effective and sustainable ways to deliver basic services, including life-saving activities.

Critical gaps include:
•    Some 50 per cent of school-age refugee children are estimated to be out of school on average (i.e., 46 per cent at primary level and 93 per cent at secondary level).
•    Due to limited resources, 15 additional health facilities, which are needed to provide sufficient coverage, will not be constructed. 
•    50 per cent of the refugee population is without adequate household latrines. In most of the camps, provision of minimum 20 litres of water per person (standard) cannot be achieved.
•    Malnutrition rates remain high, because contributing factors are not adequately addressed (provision of sufficient clean water, sanitation, food rations, household energy).
•    95 per cent of refugee youth will remain without access to targeted nutrition programmes.