United Nations Country Team Support Office, Awassa

Phone:  06-20 70 64/5, Fax:  06-20 70 63, E-mail: unawassa@telecom.net.et

 Weekly Situation Update SNNPR 

28 July - 3 August


§Post Belg Assessment and Pre Meher Assessment Review and new beneficiary figures; need for reassessment in SNNP Region

§With the onset of Kiremt rains Malaria and TB increasing; rains adding to logistic challenges of the emergency response

§Problems with supply and availability of drugs and access to seeds with fertilizer   

§New institutional structures to approach coordination of humanitarian emergency response

Post Belg Assessment and Pre Meher Assessment Review and 

new beneficiary figures; need for reassessment in SNNP Region

Preliminary beneficiary estimates for SNNPR as per Belg preharvest assessment results put figures for SNNPR at 1,443,193 from August to September and 784,130 from October to December with 211,922 for close monitoring.  Three out of the total of 14 teams in this year's Belg and pastoral area assessments (launched on 22 June 2003) were assigned to complete rapid pre-harvest assessments in SNNPR. The three teams comprised of DPPC WFP and USAID experts assessed South Omo Zone, Dirashe SW, Konso SW, Dawuro Zone, Gamu Gofa Zone, Walayita Zone, Gurage and Silti Zones. The teams gave a regional level pre-harvest debriefing in Awassa on July 11 followed by debriefings in Addis on July 18. 

Based on the findings of this assessment, beneficiary estimates for 58 woredas in 15 zones and Special Woredas of SNNPR have been finalised and new beneficiary figures released identifying needs in the region until the end of 2003. The regional debriefings on July 11 presented findings of their assessment to the SNNPR Regional Partners Co-ordination meeting and comments were made in response to the debriefings and findings at this time. In addition, the findings and comments were further discussed at the Regional Partners Co-ordination Meeting of 25 July 2003.  In summary, emergency partners general reaction to the assessment at regional level highlights concerns as to the timing of the assessment, which was felt to be either inappropriate for Belg or too early for Meher. The need for a reassessment in SNNPR was stressed. Additionally, the forecast and figures of the assessment did not take into proper consideration the impact of variables such as poor weather conditions and pest infestation on the predicted crop harvest. The impact of farmers’ access to seeds and fertiliser following crop loss due to unpredicted calamities was also an issue not factored in by the assessment. In the search for correct beneficiary figures a reassessment in the SNNPR region was of vital importance for consideration at federal level.

Kiremt rains and problems with supply and 

availability of drugs increase Malaria and TB 

Good Kiremt rains are reported throughout the region improving livestock grazing conditions and supporting the optimistic Meher crop forecast. However, the rains have increased malaria and pneumonia cases and caused concerns for meningitis as well as general water and sanitation conditions. In a region with chronic infrastructure challenges the rains have exacerbated existing logistic and structural problems affecting delivery of assistance and beneficiary access to food distribution sites. Some seasonal flooding was reported as a result of the rains. The structural and administrative delays and lack of institutional capacity to ensure timely anti-malarial spraying and delivery of malaria drugs is having serious consequences.  

New TFCs continue to open with SCF-US opening up sites in Morocho July 24 and Melgano Kebado on 1st August in Sidama Zone. More new sites are planned but additional sites are being identified that were not previously planned such as Tunto in Kembata Tembaro. With the lack of capacity to do a blanket regional nutritional assessment the emergency response based on reports of pockets of malnutrition is viewed as needing better systemization. In areas such as Kemba Woreda in Gamu Gofa Zone, drought stricken since 1998, Kwashiokor and Marasmus are reported in six kebeles. A nutritional assessment is planned but overall it is the opening up of a TFC and the large numbers turning up for admission that reveals the extent of nutritional problems in pocket areas. A newly formed Health and Nutrition Taskforce is expected to establish a more systematic approach for conducting assessments and coordinating the RBOH, NGOs and UN into an integrated process that enables better use of limited human resources and better coverage of the zones.   

With an average capacity of 100 children, TFCs are opening up in pocket areas with large numbers of children with high malnutrition rates. These TFCs lack space to respond to needs. Operating beyond capacity, with high admission rates, the lack of space is reducing the effectiveness of the TFC and the wet feeding programs delaying timely discharge for those admitted. Furthermore, not enough supplementary food is available for children discharged from the TFCs. Although OXFAM has plans to open eight supplementary food distribution sites by the end of August, more supplementary food distribution sites need to be opened throughout the region. 

Providing water to TFCs has highlighted the chronic and structural water and sanitation problems in SNNPR. Potable water for both human and livestock consumption is a critical problem in affected areas. Previous drought years, mismanagement and lack of monitoring and maintenance affected the system in place.  

Critical areas of SNNPR are Dawouro, Wolayta, Sidama and Hadiya Zones, where a combination of malnutrition, malaria and unsafe drinking water are having a negative impact especially on children who are turning up in large numbers whenever TFCs are opened. The response to the ongoing malaria epidemic and availability of drugs is hampered in some places by destitute patients and beneficiaries of food aid being requested to pay for treatment. The unavailability of drugs at woreda level due to logistics and financial constraints is also having adverse effects. 

Problems with supply, availability and access to fertilizer   

In this crucial and short planting period when farmers who have prepared land and received seeds urgently require fertilizer, there are reports of very limited stocks available throughout the region. In some cases prime wheat seeds distributed in large numbers are affected by the total lack of fertilizer despite farmers' willingness to sell assets and acquire them by paying cash for direct purchase of fertilizer. 

New institutional structures to approach 

coordination of humanitarian emergency response

The importance of information exchange in the planning and coordination of the emergency response is acknowledged by the DPPO, currently initiating the establishment of zonal level forums in partnership with UN OCHA. So far, with UN OCHA and UNICEF support, Zonal Coordination Meeting forums have been established. UNICEF’s newly appointed zonal field monitors record and disseminate minutes of the discussions held during these meetings. With UN OCHA facilitation, the Zonal Partners' Coordination Forums have now been established in Haidya, Wolayta, Kembata-Tembaro, Alaba Special Woreda, Dawouro, Sidama and Gurage zones. The Silti Zonal Partners Coordination Meeting (ZPCM), inaugurated with the support of a UN OCHA field officer, was held on 31 July (minutes will be initiated when UNICEF field monitor is in place). The Gamu Gofa ZPCM is expected to take place shortly. At the regional level, in Awassa, a Health and Nutrition Taskforce has been established and efforts are underway to coordinate and integrate nutritional assessments in the region. UN OCHA is planning to support and/or initiate efforts to introduce and establish sectoral coordination forums. 



The designations employed and the presentation of material in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the UN concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

13 August 2003


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