Update on Response to Floods of Gode Zone,Region 5

05 June 1995UN-Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia


Unusually severe flooding of the Shabelle River toward the end of April and the first week of May 1995 combined with intense local rainfall brought distress to the people around Kelafo, Mustahil, Ferfer and Burukur in the Gode Zone of Region 5. Twenty seven victims were claimed and an estimated population of 93,875 living in 168 villages suffered to varying degrees from the immediate effects of the flooding. Roads and bridges were seriously damaged and many villages were cut-off for many days. The local administration together with the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission of the Government of Ethiopia with assistance from the international community made a rapid assessment of needs in early May and helped initiate a response to meet the most immediate needs of the affected population.

Now that the floods have receded, people are returning back to repair the damage to their homes and property and to resume their normal lives. With immediate relief and shelter needs of the affected population met it is necessary to begin addressing the issue of rehabilitation and recovery. Many farmers lost their crops in the floods and in the absence of assistance would be vulnerable to acute shortages of food in the coming months. At the same time, the inundation of farmland along the Shabelle River has created an opportunity for flood-recession agriculture - a practice which led to bumper harvests in the area following similar flooding in June 1993.

Efforts to assist the flood victims with the basic materials to resume their normal lives have already begun: upon the recommendations of an assessment mission conducted in early May, seeds, tools, food, shelter materials and medical supplies are being delivered to the flood zones. The following is a summary of estimated needs, the response to date, and the status of the supplies to be provided.


An assessment mission on 11-12 May 1995 conducted jointly between RRC, UN-EUE, WFP, the Gode Zone Health Department and two local NGOs identified and prioritised needs to be met following the disaster. In summary these included:

1. Seeds and hand tools2. Food3. Medical supplies, especially to combat malaria, diarrhoea and respiratory tract infections4. Plastic sheeting, household utensils, clothing and blankets

Response to Date

Efforts to assist the flood victims are moving forward. A summary of activities by priority follows. Estimated needs are based on the report of the initial assessment mission.

Seeds and Hand Tools

Estimated need:

1300.4 MT of seed 115,020 hand tools.

Response to date:

1Approx. 100 MT of seed

DHA has provided US$ 25,000 for the purchase of seeds, to be channelled through UN-EUE. An additional US$ 5,000 for the same purpose has been pledged by WFP Country Office in Addis Ababa. In consultation with the RRC, UN-EUE has contracted the services of SERP as an implementing partner in the purchase, handling and distribution of seeds. These funds will allow for the purchase of an estimated 100 MT of Maize seed of the variety locally known as Kelafo. SERP is expected to begin selection and purchase of this seed locally sometime this week.

ADRA has contributed US$ 10,000 to the RRC for the transport of seeds. Additional transport and administrative costs will be borne by the RRC.

Emergency Food Requirements

Estimated Need:

11,173.4 MT of grain and 234.7 MT of supplementary food (1 month ration)13,520.3 MT of grain and 704.1 MT of supplementary food (3 months ration)

Response to date:

11,373 MT of cereals120 MT of supplementary food (FAMIX)

The RRC has released 1,173 MT of sorghum from their Dire Dawa stores which are en route to Gode. WFP has added a further 200 MT of cereals for which $ 10,000 dollars have been made available by WFP to the RRC for transport. About half of this food has already been despatched to Gode.

UNICEF has delivered 20 MT of FAMIX supplementary food to Dire Dawa. The RRC has intermixed these items with the sorghum being transported to Gode so that supplies of both general and supplementary food will arrive in Gode at the same time.

Medical Supplies

Estimated Need:

19 Emergency Medical Kits (WHO standard) Response to date:

15 Emergency Medical Kits (WHO standard)120,000 packets ORS1Supplementary anti-malarial and essential drugs from MoH

The Japanese government is expected to deliver WHO Emergency kits by airlift to Addis Ababa. Upon arrival these kits will be brought to Jigjiga for onward transport to Gode zone.

Additional supplies (anti-malarial medicines and essential drugs) have been made available by the Ministry of Health in Addis Ababa. They will be combined with the Japanese donation for transport via Jigjiga to the flood zone.

UNICEF has delivered 20,000 packets of ORS to Dire Dawa for transport by RRC to Gode.

Plastic sheeting, household utensils, clothing and blankets

Estimated Need:

1113 rolls (4 x 50m) of plastic sheeting15,633 blankets111,265 sets of adult clothing116,898 sets of children_s_ clothing

Response to date:

190 rolls of plastic sheeting18,030 blankets117 tents14,000 plastic cups11,000 plastic jugs11,000 jerry cans

SCF(UK) has donated 40 rolls of plastic sheeting to the RRC stores in Dire Dawa. RRC will undertake transport and distribution of the sheeting. A further 50 rolls have been donated by the Japanese government, and have arrived by airlift in Addis Ababa.

The Japanese airlift includes 3,030 blankets. UNICEF has also already delivered 5,000 blankets to the RRC in Dire Dawa.

A total of 17 tents have been donated: 7 by UNICEF to the RRC in Dire Dawa, and 10 with the Japanese airlift.

UNICEF_s contribution to the RRC includes the household utensils listed above.

The Japanese government have apparently agreed to cover the costs of transport for their donation from Addis Ababa to Gode. The RRC is examining options, but would seem to favour airlift.


Existing flood prevention and mitigation measures, and the use of small, temporary dykes hurriedly thrown up by local inhabitants proved to be seriously inadequate, and the floods have resulted in considerable damage to infrastructure along the Shabelle River: the vital Kelafo bridge has been severely scoured; the road to Kelafo has been washed away in three places and ten small bridges/fords on the road are also reported to have been destroyed; nearly one third of the Kelafo-Gode route has been damaged.

UN-EUE has entered into preliminary discussions with the RRC concerning the use of the British ODA contribution of Pound250,000 for the repair of damaged infrastructure and to improve flood prevention and mitigation measures throughout the flood zones.

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    Editor: Ali B. Dinar, (aadinar@sas.upenn.edu)