Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, October 7, 2020 — COVID-19, flooding and the locusts outbreak are creating a humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia with many people unable to meet their daily food needs. Recent heavy rainfall has led to flooding, resulting in destruction of crops, loss of livestock and displacement. Swarms of multiplying desert locusts have also been destroying pastures and crops, leading to further food insecurity. Some areas are recording admissions for severe acute malnutrition at 50% higher than for the same period last year. A massive twelve fold increase in Covid-19 cases between June and September is further compounding needs as families have been unable to obtain income or access food due to movement restrictions. Ethiopia currently holds the highest Covid-19 caseload in East Africa.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is working to safeguard the lives of affected and at-risk communities from the COVID-19 pandemic by raising community awareness on COVID-19 risk factors, providing personal protective equipment, and building and installing water points to help people practice preventative methods. The IRC is assisting desert locust and flood-affected households with multi-purpose cash transfer and non-food items to fill food security gaps and provide relief.