Ethiopia’s humanitarian requirements for this year have more than doubled, as 16.5 million people are now in need of emergency food and non-food assistance, said the UN on Tuesday.

The revised plan issued by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) raised the number of people in need from 7 million.

“The revised requirement of US$1.65 billion (of which $506 million is for COVID-19) seeks to address the food and non-food needs of 16.5 million people, 9.8 million of whom are targeted for COVID-19-related interventions,” it said in a statement.

According to OCHA, the spike in humanitarian needs is mainly due to COVID-19-related multi-sector impact, especially among the vulnerable sectors of society; food insecurity and livelihood loss as a result of the spread of the desert locust infestation; and new displacements due to conflict and flooding, among others.

At present, there are at least 1.8 million IDPs across the East African country.

“Considering the $288.3 million international contribution thus far, the revised requirement faces an urgent gap of $1.36 billion,” it said. “Some critical, life-saving sectors have received no or minimal funding, including emergency shelter and non-food items, protection, logistics, emergency education, agriculture and health.”

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