EMERGENCIES UNIT FOR ETHIOPIA
Situation Report for Region 1 (Tigray)
4 - 13 April, 1994
A field trip was made with the following objectives:
- To obtain an overview of the general situation of Region 1;
- To obtain the latest figures of people in need of relief food assistance, particularly in the most affected Eastern and Southern zones;
- To collect information on the various relief agencies regarding their current activities in the four zones of Region 1;
- to visit some of the woredas hardest hit by drought in the Southern zone and where there has been an almost complete failure of the Belg rains.
2. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The almost complete failure of the Belg (short) rainy season in the Southern zone of Region 1 (Tigray) and the absence of rainfall in the remaining zones has further aggravated the already critical conditions in large parts of the region. The Eastern and Southern zones are worse than two months ago and in the Central and Western zones the situation is also becoming critical. Normally, small rains are expected throughout the entire region at this time of the year. Although these rains are not sufficient for growing crops, they are very important for the water supply for human and animal consumption and at the same time they are necessary for land preparation.
Severe malnutrition is increasing in the Eastern and Southern zones, whereas signs of mild malnutrition were reported to the regional health bureau in Mekelle from the other zones. Outbreaks of measles are also occurring, particularly in drought-affected areas.
According to the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), the incidence of various livestock diseases are increasing. Rinderpest (PPR) is the most common disease followed by Anthrax, Blackleg and Pasteurellosis. The animals are more exposed to these diseases during periods of drought due to lack of water and fodder. In the Eastern and Southern zones farmers tend to migrate with their animals to grazing land in Region 2 (Afar) where the animals become susceptible to other transmittable diseases not normally encountered in the highlands. The MoA is trying to alleviate the problem with vaccination campaigns, although insufficient drug supplies and logistical constraints are hampering their efforts.
Food prices remain very high and food availability in the markets has decreased. Prices for livestock are low, due to low purchase capacities and that more and more livestock are being affected by diseases as a result of the current drought.
Considering the prevalence of less favourable conditions over the past months in most of the region, the recently released Government estimate of over one million people in Region 1 now in need of relief assistance is not felt to be exaggerated.
Due to low stocks and an uncertain pipeline, the relief agencies face a very difficult task making sure that the most needy in the affected population receive food in time.
Local drought committees have been established in each zone and, together with the regional bureau of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), are monitoring conditions very closely. This way they hope to allocate available relief food stocks in the most efficient way.
Apart from the immediate problem of insufficient food supplies for the population, the current drought has slowed down development activities. Some Food-for-Work (FFW) programmes have had to be suspended, as many people are too weak to participate.
Relief food distributions have somewhat slowed down the migration to towns and other regions observed previously.
The outlook for the coming months is very bleak; hoping for rain, the farmers are now busy plowing and preparing their drought-ridden land everywhere in the region. Comments about the peasants having become lazy and sitting around waiting for relief food instead of working their land must be dismissed.
3. RELIEF AGENCIES CURRENTLY OPERATING IN REGION 1
Presently, relief operations are covered by the following agencies:
Western and Central zones: REST
Eastern zone: REST and RRC**
Southern zone: JRP and IFRC/ERCS
** Since REST did not have sufficient stocks to cover the beneficiaries in the three zones, the regional bureau of the RRC (RRB) had to intervene and carry out relief distributions to about 230,000 beneficiaries in the Eastern zone.
At the beginning of March, the RRC received almost 5,000 MT of wheat grain from the World Food Programme (WFP) for immediate distribution. The consignment was transported to the RRC stores in Adigrat, Wukro, Alamata and Maychew.
The breakdown of the 5,000 MT of wheat grain distributed in March and stock position at the end of March 1994 is given in the table below:
Wheat grain - RRC Quantity Place Distributed 2,325 MT Eastern Zone 223 MT Southern Zone** Stock end of 500 MT RRB Wukro RRB Adigrat RRB March 295 MT 450 MT Alamata RRB Maychew 963 MT Total quantity 4,756 MT distributed or in RRB warehouses Balance 244 MT Expected from RRC Nazareth in April
** Loan to JRP for Chercher woreda in March 1994
According to the RRB in Mekelle, around 1,500 MT of grain were pre-positioned in the Southern zone in case JRP or the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) should have difficulties with their pipeline. Should the need arise, the RRB would be able to fill the gap.
In March 1994, between 40 and 80 percent of the beneficiaries registered by the RRB and the administration received food rations. Due to shortage of stocks the rations were reduced in the Eastern, Central and Western zones in order to reach more needy people.
4. NUMBER OF PEOPLE IN NEED OF RELIEF FOOD ASSISTANCE
AND ACTUAL NUMBER OF BENEFICIARIES HAVING RECEIVED
RATIONS IN THE 4 ZONES OF REGION 1 IN MARCH 1994
The following information regarding relief food distributions and number of beneficiaries was collected from the RRB, local administrations, REST, JRP and IFRC. Detailed figures for each woreda could not be collected in all zones. Some agencies have figures per distribution point (which may include several woredas) and others did not have the latest figures available yet.
4.1. SOUTHERN ZONE
In the Southern zone, figures for drought-affected people will increase for the month of April due to the failure of the Belg rains. The number of beneficiaries for each woreda for March and April identified by the RRB and the local administrations as well as the actual number of beneficiaries having received food by JRP and IFRC/ERCS are as follows:
WOREDA BENEFICIARIES BENEFICIARIES RELIEF AGENCY MARCH 1994 APRIL 1994 Alamata 35,000 51,000 JRP/Wollo Chercher 14,899 22,327 do. Korem 10,492 18,000 do. Mehoni 23,000 32,468 JRP/ECS Indamehoni 18,500 29,725 do. Nekseg 1,794 4,500 do. Alage 9,000 13,380 do. Bora 2,500 3,000 do. Sloa 1,500 4,932 do. Didiba 12,000 21,500 do. Inderta 15,115 27,111 do. Samre 4,000 7,605 do. Saharti 1,500 5,361 do. Maymado ----- 1,000 do. Mekelle 30,000 37,091 do. Adi Gudom 12,500 17,000 IFRC/ERCS Hintalo 11,200 16,000 do. Wajirat 15,000 22,000 do. Total Benef. 218,000 334,000
The actual number of beneficiaries that have received food in the Southern zone in March is as follows:
118,609 beneficiaries by JRP/ECS
62,341 " " JRP/Wollo
55,000 " " IFRC/ERCS
JRP ration size: 12.5 kg wheat grain, 900 g oil, 1.0 kg suppl.
IFRC ration size: 12.5 kg wheat grain, l.0 kg oil, 3.0 kg beans
Taking into consideration the number of drought-affected people registered by the RRB (290,774 persons), around 80 percent have received relief food in March 1994.
In March, IFRC/ERCS distributed food to the increased number of beneficiaries in the three woredas of Hintalo, Adi Gudom and Wajirat.
The JRP/ECS office in Mekelle has accepted figures for the increased number of beneficiaries for April, but may not be able to cover all their beneficiaries due to a shortage of food.
Food distributions by JRP in Alamata, Chercher and Korem are still coordinated by the Lutheran World Federation/Mekane Yesus (LWF/EECMY) relief office in Dessie. Since the above-mentioned woredas are now part of Region 1, discussions are underway to shift the coordination to the JRP/ECS office in Mekelle.
4.2. EASTERN ZONE
Due to lack of sufficient stocks, REST was not in a position to cover all the woredas in the Eastern zone for the period of March. The majority of the relief food was distributed by the RRB. In order to reach more beneficiaries with the limited stocks available, rations were cut to 10.0 kg of wheat grain or sorghum plus 2.0 kg chickpeas or rice, 1,5 kg CSB and 450 g of oil.
The following data concerning relief food distributions in March was provided by the RRB and REST Mekelle:
WOREDA NUMBER OF RELIEF AGENCY BENEFICIARIES Wukro 13,000 RRB Tserae 28,000 do. Doga Geralta 18,000 do. Bizet 10,000 do. Subha Saesie 24,029 do. Gulo Mekeda 14,000 do. Atsbi 25,739 do. Kilte Belessa 28,450 do. Wumberta 23,740 RRB / REST (12,940 / 10,800) Ganta Afeshum 46,000 RRB / REST (35,800 / 10,200) Tsaeda Emba 28,429 RRB / REST (12,469 / 15,960) Erope 15,000 RRB / REST (10,035 / 4,965) Adigrat 20,000 REST Assefe Sebeya 18,000 do. Kolla Geralta 15,613 do. TOTAL 328,000 Beneficiaries
Additionally, World Vision International (WVI) is distributing FFW rations in Atsbi and Wumberta woredas. The average number of beneficiaries per month amounts to 4,250. With the daily payment for FFW activities of 3.0 kg of wheat grain and 120 g of oil, it is estimated that they are providing food for 22,000 persons.
Comparing the number of drought-affected persons registered by the RRB (500,000) with the number of beneficiaries having actually received food in March (REST/RRB 328,000 plus WVI 22,000 = 350,000), around 70 percent of the affected population of the Eastern zone have received reduced rations.
How the distributions are going to be carried out in April is not yet decided. It depends on the stocks available to REST and the RRB.
4.3. CENTRAL ZONE
In February/March 1994 105,731 beneficiaries of the former Adwa awraja woredas Indabatsahama, Rama, Enticho, Adwa and Adi Abun received relief food. In the badly affected Nadir woreda (former Axum awraja) 6,000 beneficiaries were given food rations.
In the Tembien woredas distributions were underway. Due to the shortage of relief food stocks, REST had to distribute the food which was pre-positioned in their Hagere Selam store for development activities.
As in the Eastern zone, the rations were reduced.
The way the distributions will be carried out in April depends on the availability of relief food as well as the outcome of the monthly assessment of the conditions in the various woredas.
Negotiations between REST and SCF (UK) for another Internal Purchase Programme for the Central zone for 1994 are underway.
According to the zonal administration in Axum only approximately 50 percent of the drought-affected population (233,781 persons; assessed by the zonal administration and RRB) was covered by food distributions in March.
4.4. WESTERN ZONE
REST as the only relief agency in the Western zone, has distributed reduced food rations (10.0 kg of wheat grain or sorghum, 450 g of oil and 1.5 kg of CSB) for the month of March as follows:
WOREDA NUMBER OF BENEFICIARIES Badime 3,782 Shiraro 9,938 Adi Hageray 966 Adi Awala 6,644 Dima 6,335 Inda Selasie 1,942 Adi Nebreid 2,893 Tsembela 949 Total number of benefici- aries in 33,449 March 1994
Roughly 40 percent of the affected population (86,000 persons registered by RRB) was covered by REST's distribution.
As the situation is still deteriorating in the worst affected woredas, REST has a plan to increase the number of beneficiaries to 40,000 for the month of April.
GTZ will start an Integrated Food Security Programme in the four woredas of Adi Aro, Adi Nebreid, Adi Hageray and Adi Awala. In the first three woredas 420 MT and in the latter 140 MT of sorghum have already been stored in the woreda towns. The programme is linked to FFW activities.
5. CURRENT SITUATION IN THE SOUTHERN ZONE
With the almost complete failure of the Belg rains, the seven woredas normally producing Belg season crops will face difficult months ahead. Since the Meher season also failed last year the farmers prepared all the available land in order to compensate for last year's insufficient crop production. Although the Mehoni plain looks nice and green from a distance, the sown teff is already starting to wilt and the fields will be re-ploughed and planted with sorghum for the Meher season.
The zonal MoA provided the figures for the area of arable land, actually prepared and cultivated in Belg producing woredas for 1994. The following table shows the actually prepared land exceeding the area of arable land for Belg crops in all the woredas. All available land was prepared for the Belg season in order to make up for losses due to the failure of last year's Meher season. Finally, when the Belg rains did not start in time, only 12,573 hectares were actually planted and cultivated.
Area of arable land for Belg season, actually pre-
pared and cultivated (hectares)
WOREDA arable land for actually pre- pared cultivated belg Mehoni 7,090 15,745 6,715 Chercher 9,457 9,037 195 Alamata 7,050 8,709 4,063 Wajirat 1,000 1,808 780 Indamehoni 1,800 2,330 355 Alage 370 380 115 Korem 4,000 5,250 350 Total 30,760 ha 43,252 ha 12,573 ha
The figures below represent the total amount of rainfall for the month of March:
Indamehoni 59.0 mm
Mehoni 58.0 mm
Chercher 64.0 mm
Alamata 76.0 mm
Korem 17.4 mm
Alage 13.0 mm
Wajirat 10.8 mm
There were only three days of rain during the first half of the month; two light showers with 2-4 mm of rain and one day of heavy rainfall. For the past three weeks it has again been completely dry and the sown crops (mostly teff) are wilting. According to the MoA, for a good harvest yield an average of 400-500 mm of rain are required.
During this field trip the newly opened Mekelle College for Dryland Agriculture and Natural Resources was visited.
Some years ago it was felt that the existing agricultural universities and colleges were neglecting agricultural training in arid and semi-arid parts of the country.
Among five possible locations for the establishment of such an institution (Alemaya, Awassa, Bahir Dar, Kombolcha and Mekelle), Mekelle was chosen as it is centrally located in a frequently drought-affected area.
The college is situated on the outskirts of the town. It was established in a former army camp and many buildings were rehabilitated, while other new buildings were added.
In November 1993 the first 40 students started their 4 year courses. Currently they are trained in soil and water conservation, crop and animal science. There are already plans to expand and include geology and mechanical engineering.
The courses strongly emphasize practical aspects and students are expected to spend 6 months in the field at the end of the third year.
The college has been funded by the World Bank and further funding is requested for the planned expansion.
The Dean is also trying to establish connections with overseas universities for staff training and staff exchange.
The MoA will establish a Rural Technology Promotion Center in Mekelle. The center will develop improved agricultural technology (plough shares, beehives, carts, etc.) and offer agricultural training programmes.
UNICEF is assisting the Ministry of Health (MoH) in family planning and health related matters concerning mother and child care.
The MoH fears that as of June (beginning of the rainy season) they will not have enough medicine against Malaria.
They are looking urgently for a donor to provide community health workers and midwives with first aid and delivery kits (500 each). These two items are of great importance in the rural areas, but the MoH is lacking funds to provide the equipment.
7. PERSONS CONTACTED
Mekelle: Ato Aragawi, Head of Regional RRB
Ato Alemayu, Relief Dept. RRB
Abo Hagos, Relief Coordinator JRP/ECS
Ato Berhane, Head of REST Tigray
Mr. David Staple, IFRC Delegate
Ato Hagos, Branch Secretary ERCS
Ato Berhane, Head of Regional Bureau MoA
Ato Tekle, Head of Regional Bureau MoH
Ato Telahun, Vice Dean of Mekelle College
of Dryland Agriculture
Adigrat: Ato Muja, Head of RRB Eastern zone
Ato Jonathan, Representative of WVI
(WVI office is in Atsbi, near Wukro)
Ato Kidane, Head of MoA Eastern zone
Axum: Ato Teklay, Head of Social Services of
Inda Selasie: Ato Kassahun, Secretary of the Admin.
of the Western zone
Ato Woldu, Representative of REST
Maychew: Ato Kassay, Head of RRB Southern zone
Ato Futsum, Acting Head of MoA Southern zone
Ato Hagos, Head of Zonal Finance Dept.
Mehoni: Ato Samson, Agricultural Extension Expert
Chercher: Ato Tewolde, Woreda Administrator
Ato Taame, Agricultural Extension Expert
Alamata: Ato Alemayu, Woreda Administrator
Dessie: Ato Dereje, Relief Coordinator, JRP/EECMY
Field Officer for Regions 1 & 3
Addis Abeba, April 20, 1994
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Editor: Ali B. Dinar, (email@example.com)