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Ethiopia: Food Assistance Fact Sheet – Updated January 5, 2018



  • Due to the lingering effects of the 2015-2016 El Niño-induced drought and multiple consecutive droughts, an estimated 8.5 million people in Ethiopia require emergency food assistance, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). An additional 4 million chronically food-insecure people, who are supported by the Government of Ethiopia-led Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP), also require humanitarian assistance.
  • Large areas of southeastern Ethiopia will continue to face Emergency (IPC 4) acute food insecurity through mid-2018, with some worst-affected households, particularly displaced pastoralists, at risk of moving into Catastrophe (IPC 5), according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET).* Severe drought has decimated livestock herds, sharply reduced crop production and led to widespread disease outbreaks. Large-scale, sustained food assistance in Somali Region is needed to mitigate very high levels of acute malnutrition and the threat of loss of life.
  • The drought in Somalia and conflict in Sudan, Somalia, South Sudan and Eritrea have resulted in an influx of refugees into Ethiopia, which hosts approximately 894,000 refugees in total. Approximately 106,000 new refugees have arrived in Ethiopia in 2017. Most of these refugees are from South Sudan, bringing the total of South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia to 420,000.
  • The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is a standardized tool that aims to classify the severity and magnitude of food insecurity. The IPC scale, which is comparable across countries, ranges from Minimal (IPC 1) to Famine (IPC 5). A Famine classification applies to a wider geographical location, while the term Catastrophe (IPC 5) refers to an extreme lack of food at the household level even with full employment of coping strategies. Famine is determined when more than 20 percent of households in an area are classified as experiencing Catastrophe, when the global acute malnutrition level exceeds 30 percent and when the crude mortality rate exceeds two people per 10,000 persons per day.


  • In partnership with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Food for the Hungry (FH), Relief Society of Tigray (REST) and World Vision (WV), the USAID Office of Food for Peace (FFP) targets food-insecure Ethiopians with long-term development interventions through the PSNP to reduce chronic food insecurity. PSNP is also the first line of response in targeted areas during any food security crisis. With an annual contribution to the PSNP of approximately $125 million, FFP addresses the basic food needs of approximately 1.56 million chronically food-insecure people through the regular seasonal transfer of food and cash resources, while supporting the creation of assets that generate economic benefit to the communities as a whole.
  • FFP partners with the UN World Food Program (WFP) and CRS to provide relief food assistance that saves lives and reduces human suffering of those affected by climatic and other shocks, as well as contributes to meeting the basic energy requirements of refugees. In addition, FFP provides specialized nutrition commodities for the treatment of acute malnutrition to WFP, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the USAID Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance’s health and nutrition partners. In Fiscal Year 2017, FFP also provided resources to WFP for local and regional procurement of cereals, pulses and specialized nutrition commodities.

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