UNCT: Relief Action Plan and Appeal for Severely Drought Affected areas of Ethiopia, 07/99

UNCT: Relief Action Plan and Appeal for Severely Drought Affected areas of Ethiopia, 07/99



Having sold one ox to buy seeds, a farmer in North Wello uses a cow/ox pair to plough his dry field


UN Country Team Relief Action Plan and Appeal for

Severely Drought Affected Areas of Ethiopia


Heavy rains in some areas and shortage in others, late in 1998, an extremely poor belg season in 1999, poor responses to appeals for food assistance in previous years and delayed responses to this year's appeal from the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) have led to increasing concerns about the food security situation in a number of areas in Ethiopia. Particularly badly affected are South Tigray, Wag Hamra, North and South Wello, North Shewa, East Harerge, Konso Special Wereda and areas of Welayita (North Omo Zone). In some of these areas the situation has deteriorated to such an extent that, in addition to increased food distributions, special interventions such as targeted supplementary feeding programs must be implemented immediately. Other critical needs include expanded EPI coverage, malaria control, additional medical and health supplies, logistic support, seeds, and fodder for livestock.

This paper outlines actions the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) has already undertaken, future immediate actions to be funded from existing or re-programmed resources within the UN system and an appeal to the donor community for additional funds totalling $7.5 million to meet critical, high priority needs. The proposed activities and programs outlined here will be further developed and refined in conjunction with the DPPC and/or appropriate line ministries, local administrations and, where appropriate, NGOs. Urgent assistance is required in many areas if a major humanitarian crisis is to be avoided and a number of arrangements are available to the donor community to handle donations:

* Additional food aid pledges are urgently needed and donors can pledge food directly to the DPPC, NGOs or to WFP in support of its Emergency Operation (6143).

* As outlined in this paper, several UN agencies have developed specific action plans for this emergency and urgently need additional funding if the highest priority programs are to be implemented immediately.

* The UNCT, through UNDP, can receive funds in support of the activities outlined in this Action Plan and then re-allocate these resources to meet the most urgent needs.

* Many NGOs working in the affected areas will need additional funding to expand their regular programmes for emergency response.

Recognising the seriousness of the situation, the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia pledged 20,000 M/T of food aid to help meet the most immediate needs. This food is currently being borrowed from the Emergency Food Security Reserve and will be repaid in 2000 through a local purchase program. This new commitment is in addition to over US$ 5 million allocated by the government to cover internal transportation costs and diversion of development resources from the US (25,000 M/T) and the Dutch Government (10,000 M/T) in favour of emergency relief.

Ethiopia is currently facing a crisis in many areas and urgent action is needed now. All donors are urged to review the needs outlined both in this Action Plan and in the various DPPC appeals and to make available emergency humanitarian assistance to help alleviate the plight of ordinary Ethiopian citizens. Although more detailed information is provided in other sections of this document and the various annexes, specific, urgent needs and recommendations identified by the most recent missions to the affected areas include:

* Additional food aid pledges, made either directly to the DPPC, to NGOs, or to the WFP Emergency Operation (6143), are urgently needed if the target of distributing roughly 50,000 M/T per month over the next three months is to be met.

* Efforts should continue to pre-position as much food as possible in areas that will be cut off in the rainy season.

* Significant quantities of supplementary food are needed immediately.

* Although not envisaged at the moment, contingency plans should be prepared for possible therapeutic feeding programs if the situation deteriorates.

* Plough animals are the backbone of peasant agriculture in Ethiopia and an immediate, short-term supply of fodder is needed if the alarming trend in animal deaths is to be reversed.

* Problems of chronic malnutrition from prolonged food shortages have now been compounded in some areas by acute malnutrition, with the result that weakened children are particularly vulnerable to disease. Likewise, the adult population is weak and its vulnerability to disease is greatly increased. Therefore,

* EPI programs need to be expanded;

* Health staff need to be trained in the treatment of severe malnutrition and diarrhoea cases;

* Additional drugs and medical supplies are needed;

* On-going malaria control programs should give priority to drought-affected areas and lowland migration centres;

* An effective and adequate health fee waiver system needs to be implemented in health facilities serving the most severely drought-affected areas;

* National, regional and zonal authorities should take steps now to allocate or re-assign, on a temporary basis, additional health personnel to the most severely affected areas.

* With access to water so critical in certain areas, immediate steps need to be taken to rehabilitate selected water points and to provide emergency water supply in areas where access is severely limited.

* In many cases families have to walk long distances to collect their food rations and, because of their weakened condition, face great difficulties in taking their rations home. Some areas are cut off from the distribution centres during the rainy season and will need temporary warehouses to store pre-positioned grain. Where feasible, additional final delivery point storage facilities need to be provided and additional transport funds may be needed.

* Many farmers have consumed or lost their grain seeds and have been forced to sell agricultural tools and oxen to buy grain. Although late in the agriculture year, it is still possible to plant pulses, potatoes and sweet potatoes for the meher season; additional seeds and potato cuttings are urgently needed for immediate distribution. In addition, initial steps must be taken now to develop programmes for seed, tool and oxen distributions for next year's belg and meher crops.

* Blankets are needed for the most destitute families.

* If the emergency continues, for the coming academic year, the possibility expanding school-feeding programs should be explored to ensure that all schools in the most vulnerable areas are targeted.

Over the past few months there have been a number of assessment missions to the most severely affected areas of the country, the most recent (June 17 to June 25) being a joint DPPC/UN[1] mission of four teams to the most severely affected areas in the north and south. Although these teams were primarily concerned with assessing the non-food needs in connection with the drought, all missions reported that the most critical area was food supply, including urgently needed supplies of supplementary food.

According to DPPC and WFP, as of 12 July the relief food requirement, pledges and gaps are as follows:

Table : Current emergency food aid status - 1999 drought (cereals only)


June - December Requirement

]Less internally displaced requirement

]June - December drought food requirements


Estimated available donor contributions/pledges as of 30 June 1999

EU (balance from original 50,000 M/T)



Canada (CIDA through WFP EMOP 6143)

]WFP (re-programmed from project 2488)

USAID (response to the DPPC appeal)

USAID (replacement to the DPPC)

USAID (replacement to the DPPC)

USAID (Title III switched by the GoE to relief)

Government of Ethiopia/DPPC

Danish Church Aid

Total Contributions/Pledges

Unmet needs as of 12 July 1999

Source: WFP Ethiopia in consultation with donors and DPPC.

Without additional food aid pledges and special interventions, the worst drought affected areas risk a major humanitarian disaster characterised by large-scale population migrations and displacement, a major increase in child and maternal mortality levels due to malnutrition and disease and the possible need to open hundreds of feeding centres. The effects of such deterioration may well take years of special rehabilitation efforts to overcome, effectively erasing modest developmental gains made this decade.



Though the main season (meher) harvest last year was considered to be one of the best in recent years, with total cereal and pulses production of some 11.69 million metric tonnes estimated by FAO[5], in some critical areas of North and South Wello, Wag Hamra, Tigray, and northern Shewa performance fell well below pre-harvest expectations. This appears to have been largely due to a period of unusually heavy rain that fell in the central highlands late in the main growing season, damaging cereal crops over a large area just before harvest. Also contributing to the emergence of a food security crisis in these areas and areas like East Harerge and parts of Welayita, however, was the virtual failure of the belg rains (short rainy season) this year and in previous years, which reduced local food availability and hampered land preparation for the meher crop.

The appeal issued in December 1998 by the Federal DPPC indicated that 2,157,080 drought affected people would require food assistance for some period (ranging from 3 to 9 months) during 1999, added to which was another one million whose situation was considered marginal and requiring close monitoring. Following the conclusion of technical assessments in the lowlands in February/March, the number of drought-affected people needing food assistance was raised by a further 700,238. Including a total of 396,983 people displaced in Tigray and Afar as a result of the conflict with Eritrea, the total revised number of people requiring emergency food aid assistance was put at 3,254,301.

On April 8, the Federal DPPC issued an update on emergency relief needs in Ethiopia. The document highlighted growing concern regarding the early emergence of critical food needs in a number of areas of the country, drawing attention to the fact that this was happening at a time when there had been a less than favourable donor response to the government's December appeal. The low carry-over stocks from last year combined with the low-level of pledging (around 100,000 metric tonnes as of mid-April), was seriously hampering government and aid agency efforts to deliver food aid to communities where the need was urgent. Indeed, the DPPC reported that it has been forced to reduce the quantity and distribution frequency of rations in some cases.

According to a revised relief appeal released on May 27 by the Federal DPPC, the failure of the short (belg) rains this year has greatly contributed to the emergence of a major food crisis in virtually all belg areas and increased the vulnerability of a large number of rural families in other parts of Ethiopia. This appeal updated figures given in the national appeal launched in December 1998 and consolidated revised figures given in February and April with the results of the belg pre-harvest assessment conducted in some but not all belg producing areas. According to this appeal, the total number of people requiring relief assistance due to natural and man-made disasters was estimated at a minimum of 4.6 million (384,858 displaced people and 4,218,620 drought victims, including pastoralists), an increase of 1.4 million over and above the previous estimate released in April. Most recently, in early July the DPPC again revised the figures upwards to a total of 5.3 million (including 4,993,813 drought affected) and placed the total food needs at 425,144 M/T.

Table : Population needing assistance & relief food requirement (June - December, 1999)

Beneficiaries due to:

Relief requirement (M/T) (cereals only)
1998 meher failure



Meher & belg related
Addis Ababa
Other Regions


Source: DPPC Early Warning Department, July 12, 1999.

Host country institutional framework

The National Policy on Disaster Prevention, Preparedness and Management, promulgated in November 1993, provides the legal and institutional framework for the Government of Ethiopia's response to this emergency. The main government counterpart for co-ordinating the UNCT response is the Federal DPPC, which works in close co-operation with the administrations of the affected regions, the technical line ministries, principally the Ministries of Health, Water and Education, and non-governmental organisations. The Federal DPPC also plays a central role in organising and co-ordinating joint needs assessments with the UNCT, NGOs and donors, and is responsible for preparing consolidated appeals for international assistance and managing the allocation and delivery of relief resources.

UN Country Team framework

Under the overall leadership of the UN Resident Co-ordinator, the UN Country Team in Ethiopia has developed a co-operative framework for the design, implementation and monitoring of an integrated humanitarian response to the Ethiopian Government's appeal for international assistance to meet the needs of drought affected civilians.

Under the authority of the UNCT, this present Relief Action Plan has been formulated as a joint, inter-agency exercise aimed at providing a flexible mechanism for the rapid utilisation of a variety of funding sources and arrangements, including donor emergency funding given in direct support of the UNCT multi-sectoral humanitarian program. The practical implementation of the programme will be achieved by the operational agencies (primarily WFP, UNICEF, WHO, FAO, UNDP, and UNFPA but other agencies may also participate) using established operational mechanisms and modalities. As a UNCT initiative, however, the programme comes under the UN Resident Co-ordinator while decisions concerning co-ordination, planning, monitoring and reporting will be handled co-operatively within the mandate of the UN Disaster Management Team (UN-DMT), which comprises the senior management of the operational UN agencies.

While the operational agencies will be responsible for monitoring and providing technical reporting on the implementation of the different sectoral components of the program, generic/contextual reporting on the humanitarian situation as well as general narrative reporting to donors on the programme will be managed by the UN-DMT, supported by the UN Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (UN-EUE).


Problem to be addressed

Drought conditions have affected 4.9 million people in Ethiopia. Of these, households in South Tigray, North and South Wello, North Shewa, East Harerge, Welayita and Konso Special Wereda are, for a variety of reasons, particularly badly affected. In addition to increasing relief food distributions other urgent interventions include the provision of supplementary foods, expanded EPI coverage and other medical interventions, emergency water and sanitation, seed distributions and special programs for livestock.

The UNCT humanitarian programme is intended to strengthen federal and regional government efforts to assist populations affected by the drought, using an approach which is consistent with the overall development priorities of the Government of Ethiopia and which emphasises support to the existing social and relief services infrastructure.

Target beneficiaries: the present situation

In mid-June the DPPC organised four assessment missions for the most severely affected areas of the country. Most of the information on these critical areas contained in this document has been taken from the mission reports; however, it should be noted that these missions were not able to visit all of the severely affected areas and there may well be other areas where needs are equally urgent. The UN system, in co-operation with the DPPC and local officials, will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments to this Relief Action Plan as necessary.

While efforts are being made to preposition and distribute food resources that are already available, according to the 27 May DPPC appeal the inadequate international response to the DPPC's previous appeals for food assistance has severely undermined the effectiveness of the emergency response to date. In parts of North and South Wello, Wag Hamra, South Tigray, and East Harerge, unusual migrations of whole families searching for food or employment opportunities, a phenomenon not seen for a number of years, have taken place, leading to concentrations of rural people in some urban areas. Although these stress migrations have abated with the arrival of additional relief supplies, there are still concentrations of destitute people in some urban centres. Levels of malnutrition are rising and a significant fall in livestock prices has been recorded. Other indicators of increasing stress noted by the DPPC and other observers include the consumption of wild plants, increasing rates of malnutrition, a decline in school attendance and a rise in mortality and morbidity.

A brief review of each of these critical areas is given below.


Exacerbating an already precarious food security situation in the agriculturally marginal northern areas, the late commencement of this year's short rains (due in January/February) seriously delayed planting of the belg crop which, in some areas, accounts for more than 40 percent of total production. Though the rains finally commenced in March, helping with ploughing and land preparation for the meher season, it was too late in most areas for the planting of short-cycle belg crops. As predicted by national meteorologists, the rains withdrew again in April and it has become clear that this year's belg season was almost a complete failure. According to government estimates, around one million people were dependent on a favourable outcome to the belg harvest and these will now require urgent relief support until at least the meher harvest in November/December.

The federal government had highlighted the critical vulnerability of Wello and Tigray to food shortages as early as last December. As recent monitoring reports from the UN Emergencies Unit and WFP have recorded, with household food reserves exhausted, people from parts of North Wello Zone started leaving their homes and migrating in search of labour opportunities (a fairly common practice in these chronically food deficit areas) in December. The failure of the belg rains resulted in a collapse in the agricultural labour market and in the months that followed, more people began to migrate to urban areas in search of relief assistance.

A rapid assessment of the North Wello Zone undertaken by the DPPC and WFP in March revealed worrying signs of increasing malnutrition. The phenomenon of out-migration was evident in all seven weredas visited and reports of people foraging for wild plants were not unusual. The teams recommended the urgent implementation of an expanded programme of relief food distributions, targeting an estimated 388,000 beneficiaries throughout the entire zone. Earlier assessments by the UN Emergencies Unit pointed to a gradual erosion of rural assets, a downward spiral of increasing impoverishment and an exhaustion of people's normal coping mechanisms, a process accelerated by a series of consecutive poor harvests. This gradual impoverishment of people has been ameliorated to a certain extent, but not arrested, by food-for-work (FFW) and other employment generating efforts in the highlands. Many farmers in Wello reported that they perceived themselves to be as poor and as vulnerable to famine now as they were at the onset of the 1984-85 famine. It should be stressed, however, that the overall situation has not deteriorated to the levels seen then; timely action can still prevent such a disaster from developing.

To further illustrate the seriousness of the threat in the north of the country, on April 22 and 23 the DPPC organised a helicopter assessment of food insecure areas of Tigray, Wello and North Shewa for a group of selected donor ambassadors (US, UK, Canada, Norway), the head of the European Union delegation to Ethiopia and the WFP Representative and Country Director. The situation in the highlands of Wello, in particular, was described as "grim" with large numbers of malnourished children and adults observed. In most areas it was clear that the belg harvest would be a complete failure, affecting upwards of a million people who could expect no production until at least the meher season harvest in November/December. Food aid distributions were increased in North Wello as a result of these assessments utilising supplies from WFP and the European Union (EU).

North and South Wello

The most recent joint UN/DPPC assessment mission to North and South Wello returned on 25 June and reported that although food distributions had increased, the situation remained extremely precarious. In North Wello the team was informed that the most severely affected weredas included Gidan, Bugna, Delanta Dawnt and Gubolafto. Of these, Gidan was in the worst condition, with all 30,000 belg producing farmers having suffered a complete harvest failure and nearly 90,000 meher producing families having had poor harvests.

The same team noted that the situation in South Wello was even more severe with the zonal authorities estimating that 891,000 people out of a total population of about 2.4 million have been affected by the failure of the belg. Prior to June, the zonal administration estimated that about 400,000 had received food assistance. For June and July, the Federal DPPC was able to provide assistance to 2.3 million people in Amhara region, the total number said to be affected. The government's ability to continue to provide this assistance beyond July is dependent upon the receipt of additional food pledges.

The worst affected weredas in North Wello are: Dessie Zuria, Ambassel, Legambo, Tenta and Mekdela. In addition, 11 other weredas are also said to be affected. Stress migration, although it has tapered off and people have begun to return to their homes with the arrival of relief food, started as early as January and February and the Zonal authorities estimated that by April over 12,000 people had migrated from their home weredas.

The team also reported that the condition of livestock was alarming with, at least around Gimba in Legambo wereda, more than 80 animal carcasses lining the road. The Zone estimates livestock deaths of over 38,000 between January and April, which also appears to be an underestimate as both Legambo and Tenta weredas have each reported over 20,000 livestock deaths. Although recent rains have brought some relief to other areas of the country, South Wello was still dry at the time of the mission's visit - so dry in fact that domestic animals, together with baboons, were seen to be scratching in the dried fields in an attempt to find a few un-germinated seeds.

The mission report goes on to state:

"[T]he condition of surviving livestock is alarming. Equines, which are used as plough animals in some lowland areas, are emaciated, and few oxen remain. Some farmers who have sufficient cash were observed travelling back to their kebeles with new animals they had purchased in lowland weredas for as little as 100 birr (US$12). Most people, however, are clearly not able to afford to buy new animals at this time."

Livestock are the backbone of Ethiopian agriculture and if more animals are lost, recovery efforts will be even more difficult. Farmers have already sold their best livestock and are now trying to plough bone-dry land with weakened oxen or even cows, donkeys or horses. Many farmers have resorted to using the thatch from the roofs of their houses to feed their animals. One local farmer, when asked by another mission to South Wello why he was attempting to plough when the land was so dry and his oxen were in such poor condition, explained that he had to plough now as his animals would, one way or the other, die soon. And even if the rains do eventually come to South Wello, livestock are now in such poor condition that many will die of pneumonia and other diseases brought on by the cold and wet weather.

In an innovative effort to address the acute shortage of fodder, the zonal authorities have begun to transport the by-products from beer production donated by the Kombolcha Brewery to the worst affected areas: five truck loads of fodder were reported to be moving to Legambo wereda at the time of the mission. However, additional funds for transport will be required if this programme is to be sustained.

The assessment team for North and South Wello identified the following critical interventions:

* Relief rations need to be increased and distributed regularly.

* So far only grain has been available for distribution. Pulses and oil are needed.

* "Famix" or other supplementary food for children should be available as part of the regular ration as well as for targeted distributions through health facilities.

* EPI coverage should be expanded.

* Health staff need to be trained in the treatment of severe malnutrition.

* Drugs and medical supplies are needed to control epidemics.

* In selected areas, water point rehabilitation and maintenance work is needed.

* There is an immediate need for fodder for livestock.

* Seeds, particularly pulses, should be distributed to farmers who have lost all this year's seeds for immediate planting.

* Although not an immediate priority seeds, primarily barley, will be needed for next year's belg crop.

Wag Hamra

Wag Hamra zone has three agro-climatic zones (highland, midlands and lowlands) and three weredas (Sekota, Dehana and Ziquala). As with many other areas of northern Ethiopia, Wag Hamra is chronically food deficit and is characterised by small landholdings (0.75 ha/household to 1.63 ha/household), highly degraded soils and poor per hectare production. Although not a belg producing area, it has suffered from several successive years of poor meher harvests. The poor performance of the 1999 belg season has, however, had a significant impact on the population as many of the poorer families depend on labour opportunities in the surrounding belg producing areas to the north, east and south of the zone. Although covering a relatively short period of time, these traditional employment opportunities come during the farmers' leanest time and during a period when there is little activity on their own land. As early as January of this year, traditional labour migrations began to be replaced by stress migrations as whole households started to move when they realised that their harvest would not cover their needs until the next season and there were not sufficient local labour opportunities.

Other indicators of a deteriorating situation include a decline in nutritional status, identified by the SCF/UK Nutritional Surveillance Program, UN-EUE reports of increased sales of firewood, charcoal and dung, decreases in school attendance and increasingly poor terms of trade between livestock and grain, with oxen and cow prices falling over the last few years from 700/600 birr per animal to around 400 birr. Since the May SCF/UK survey ox and cattle prices have declined even further and the recent DPPC/UN and UN-EUE missions noted that some oxen were being sold for as little as 200 birr. There has also been a dramatic increase in grain prices over the same period and SCF/UK reports that mean cereal prices have risen from 135 birr/quintal to 142 birr/quintal (May 1999). Interestingly, and of some relief to the farmers, shoat prices have remained relatively constant as livestock traders from Tigray have been buying up sheep and goats. However, even though shoat prices have not declined, high grain prices have meant that many farmers must sell three shoats in order to buy 50 kgs. of grain.

Of the three weredas of Wag Hamra, Dehana was reported to be the most severely affected with the zonal authorities estimating that 85% of the population is affected in all 26 kebeles. Health officials also told mission members that they have been seeing increasing cases of malnutrition in the various health facilities.

As the mission's recommendations for Wag Hamra and South Tigray are similar, they have been listed under the South Tigray section.

South Tigray

Most South Tigray weredas are located in highland areas and rely on a combination of belg and meher crops. A poor meher harvest followed by the failure of this year's belg has affected six weredas and of these the DPPC/UN mission was told that Ofla, Alamata and Raya Azebo are considered the most severely affected. Local officials predict that even the current (27 May) DPPC beneficiary figures may have to be increased.

Water shortage in these three severely affected weredas was also noted to be a problem, with some communities even having to ration water supplies. There is a need for rehabilitation of some existing water supply schemes and the construction of a few new wells or boreholes in areas where ponds have dried up.

Generally, the capacity of the health staff to treat and monitor patients appeared to be higher than in Wag Hamra. Unlike Wag Hamra, EPI coverage in South Tigray seems good in all the visited weredas although some essential equipment was reported to be lacking. Health officials also informed the mission that they have been seeing an increasing number of cases of malnutrition and diarrhoea in the most severely affected weredas.

The assessment team for Wag Hamra and South Tigray identified the following critical interventions:

* There is a need for increased and more regular food distributions, including pulses and oil.

* There should be support to, and expansion of, the EPI programme in Wag Hamra zone and provision of limited supplies and transport facilities to the EPI programme in South Tigray;

* Additional medical supplies need to be prepositioned.

* Health staff should be trained in management of severe malnutrition and diarrhoea cases as well as in nutritional assessment and growth monitoring methodologies, particularly in Wag Hamra.

* There is a need for rehabilitation/maintenance of selected water points in the most severely affected areas.

* Where feasible, pulse seeds and/or sweet potato cuttings should be provided for immediate planting.

East Harerge

As early as October 1998 the UN-EUE reported unusual migrations out of East Harerge as families moved south to Jijiga in search of relief food distributions. This same report indicated that the situation in Fedis wereda was "very serious" and recommended that distributions to this area and to other severely affected areas be increased. Although this flow was eventually stemmed, a follow-up UN-EUE mission at the end of April noted that stress migrations had started again with people moving not to Somali region as before but rather to urban centres. The most recent DPPC/UN mission found that there was still considerable movement of people with some returning home and others remaining congregated around distribution centres and urban areas.

Initially, food insecurity problems were most acute in the lowland areas of East Harerge but with the poor performance of the belg rains other areas of the zone began to face increasing hardship. Although the exact number of people needing relief assistance remains unclear, the DPPC 27 May beneficiary figure of 572,000 appears to be a minimum number. The DPPC/UN mission reported that local officials and farmers had perceived that the limited availability of food during the previous three or four months has had a negative impact on the population. Predictably, children and mothers have been particularly affected and increased rates of malnutrition were observed in all the weredas visited.

Another area of deep concern raised by the mission was whether some farmers would even be able to undertake agricultural activities at all this year. If food distributions can be regularised and families know that their basic needs will be covered for the next few months then they will probably return to their land. However, if relief distributions are erratic then many families may continue to search elsewhere for support (urban areas, distribution sites, daily labour centres, etc.). Also, even if farmers do go back to their land, the 1999/2000 meher production is likely to be reduced, as long-cycle high-yielding crops will have to be replaced with lower-yielding short-cycle crops.

The assessment team for East Harerge identified the following critical interventions:

* There is a need for increased and more regular food distributions, including pulses and oil.

* Targeted supplementary feeding rations are required for roughly 1/10 of the needy population.

* Additional medical supplies must be prepositioned to control the spread of epidemics.

* A rehabilitation/maintenance programme must be instituted for water points in the most severely affected areas.

* Consideration should be given now for a seed and tool distribution programme for next year.


Another area of concern is Welayita, an area of North Omo Zone in southern Ethiopia. Fertile but heavily over-populated, Welayita is considered to be one of the most food insecure areas of the country. Households traditionally have virtually no food stocks and if one harvest fails, families are immediately vulnerable, as coping mechanisms are very limited. While the meher season in the south was generally satisfactory last year, the short rains in October/November were poor and disrupted the planting of the sweet potato crop in Welayita. Along with enset (false banana), sweet potatoes are an important staple in Welayita, normally filling the major part of the food gap during the hungry season that precedes the belg harvest in July/August. Unfortunately, following the bad start, this year's crop of potatoes has largely failed and little harvest is expected. An assessment conducted by SCF-UK in March/April revealed a rapid decline in the nutritional status of children, showing a trend not dissimilar to the same period in 1994. Past experience has shown that food security in Welayita is extremely precarious and the current situation is becoming a matter of considerable concern. Of the new needs indicated for the Southern Region (SNNPR), 251,000 people are considered to be at special risk in North Omo Zone and in need of food relief support until at least the end of 1999.

The DPPC/UN non-food assessment mission that visited Welayita noted that children and mothers were suffering from malnutrition as traditional practices (local customs) give priority to the males. The mission also reported that the most severely affected weredas, listed in order of severity were: Humbo, Bolosso Sore, Kindo Koysha and Damot Woyde while other, slightly less affected weredas were: Goffa, Kucha, Damot Gale and Zala Ubamale. Signs of severe stress included the absence of any food stocks at the household level, deteriorating terms of trade, sale of assets (including the dismantling of houses to sell the timber in order to buy grain), increased dropouts from schools and numerous cases of chronic and acute malnutrition. This mission, as with the other three missions, noted that increased regular food distributions and supplementary food were essential, stating that "this requirement will override all other non-food needs". The team also recommended that supplementary food should be targeted in conjunction with increased regular food distributions in order to avoid the utilisation of supplementary food by adult members of the family.

As the team's recommendations for immediate interventions were similar for both Welayita and Konso, the recommendations are given under the Konso section.

Konso Special Wereda

Konso Special Wereda (also in North Omo Zone) has a population of about 186,000 in 29 PAs, of which 22 are reported to be affected (10 seriously, 8 moderately and 4 mildly.) Konso has a sophisticated agriculture system with significant terraces and extensive use of inter-cropping. Unlike Welayita, Konso is not quite as densely populated and there are many more opportunities for collecting wild foods as a coping mechanism when faced with poor harvests. However, Konso has suffered successive years of drought and poor harvests and the continual reliance on "famine foods" is now beginning to take its toll as many of these foods cause digestion problems and none can serve as a replacement for normal grain. This year the rains were particularly erratic, either being excessive or, in the case of this year's belg, almost a complete failure. The DPPC/UN mission reported that mature maize and sorghum was completely dried and withered with virtually no prospects of a harvest this year.

The same mission reported that conditions were severe with many malnourished children and that the wereda had little food to meet the immediate crisis. (Because of very limited stocks, only about 6 kgs. of grain per household has been distributed twice since the beginning of the year.) Although this was a "non-food" assessment, the mission recognised that the highest priority was to increase basic ration distributions. Not only is it essential to increase the overall nutritional status of the population but also, without increased basic rations, any supplementary foods will be consumed by the general population and will not benefit the most affected children and mothers.

In addition to the significant increase in the consumption of wild foods, other signs of stress included many cases of chronic and acute malnutrition and the sale of productive assets.

The assessment team identified the following critical interventions for Konso and Welayita:

* Distribution of supplementary food to children under five and pregnant and lactating mothers in the most severely affected weredas should be undertaken immediately.

* Training in the management of severe malnutrition should be given to health workers.

* EPI coverage should be expanded.

* Malaria control programs should be expanded.

* Additional medical supplies are needed in many health facilities.

* As much of the population is weak and debilitated, to the extent possible, mobile clinics should be established.

* Many of the poorest families are without sufficient clothes and blankets and the provision of blankets would help reduce the risk of pneumonia and other upper respiratory infections.

* Additional logistical support is needed in order to implement and monitor programs.

Resource mobilisation

This emergency will require a number of quick interventions using a variety of funding mechanisms and approaches if the highest priority needs are to be met. In view of the urgency of the situation, the UN Country Team has decided on the following strategy:

* Heads of UN Agencies should make requests to their respective headquarters for funding from the various agency special emergency funds that exist.

* Where possible and in agreement with government, some UN programmes could be re-targeted to the most vulnerable areas or resources reallocated to undertake specific interventions. Examples of this approach include prioritising existing EPI programs in the vulnerable areas, reallocation of additional WFP development food aid to help meet relief food needs (10,000 M/T has already been reallocated), re-orienting UNDP and UNICEF water point maintenance programs to repair water facilities in the most affected areas, etc.

* Where critical interventions cannot be met from the above sources the UN Country Team, through this document, is appealing to the international community for additional resources and pledges through either of the following two mechanisms:

* Donors can fund the Government, individual UN agencies, or NGOs directly through their regular channels.

* Donors can provide funds to the UNCT for this emergency and the Disaster Management Team, acting on behalf of the UNCT and in collaboration with the Government, will then allocate the funds to priority interventions. This type of intervention is based on the UN response framework and the consolidated Relief Action Plan for Assistance to War Affected Civilian Populations in Tigray and Afar, developed in June 1998, provides a formal basis for the utilisation of emergency funds provided to the UNCT by various donor governments. The Action Plan summarises the overall objectives, operational strategies, reporting responsibilities and budgets of the UN agencies that will be most directly concerned with the implementation of the program.

In addition to incorporating a summary of the operational plans of individual agencies, the Action Plan referred to above covers the various institutional arrangements for internal and external co-ordination, monitoring the implementation of the programme, and information sharing.

Implementation arrangements

This programme is a collaborative effort of the Government and UN Country Team in Ethiopia. The programme has been designed to make the optimal use of the management capacities, expertise and resources available from the operational and technical agencies working in the country, while avoiding any duplication of effort and making the best use of existing working arrangements with government and other partners.

WFP, which already has an emergency operation for food assistance to the drought affected (EMOP No. 6143 for 93,600 M/T of grain, 6,033 M/T of blended foods and 3,620 M/T of pulses)[7], will be taking the lead in providing relief food assistance, including supplementary food, and logistics. FAO will be responsible for support to the farming and livestock sectors while UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA will cover health issues. UNICEF will apply its extensive programme and operational experience at national, zonal and wereda levels in revitalising EPI in low coverage areas; expanding access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation; ensuring appropriate targeting and distribution of supplementary foods and blankets to children under five as well as pregnant and lactating women, and reducing drop-out rates from primary schools. WHO will assist in improving access to essential drugs for the destitute. In the process, all agencies will work with each other and with national, regional and wereda level Government counterparts and NGOs.

Other UN agencies may also be involved either directly or through support to the operational agencies. The UN Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (UN-EUE), which acts under the authority of the UN Resident Co-ordinator, will assist with operational support services to the agencies working in the field as well as general monitoring, information management and overall reporting.

For essential and technical services - health, nutrition, education, agriculture, water and sanitation, protection - the individual specialist agencies already enjoy well-established working relationships with the relevant line ministries and governmental agencies, several of which are already collaborating with the UN on national programmes for development as well as for emergency response and rehabilitation. These linkages have proven to be particularly well-developed in Tigray and Amhara regions where the regional administration is relatively sophisticated and technically competent. As much as possible the UNCT will work through the established line ministries and co-ordination mechanisms, expanding existing programmes where possible and providing additional capacity building support as needed.

For food distributions, WFP works in partnership with DPPC and the DPP offices at regional, zonal and wereda levels. This is particularly effective in Tigray and Amhara regions where the existence of WFP sub-offices ensures regular and productive contact with officials in the zones and weredas. However, owing to a lack of human and institutional capacity, particularly at those levels nearest to the beneficiaries, timely, accurate and relevant information has not always been available.

The emphasis on national execution in Ethiopia, which is established government policy, means that the number of NGOs working directly as implementing partners with the UNCT has diminished in recent years. With a deepening of the humanitarian crisis, however, the adoption of a more flexible approach will be advocated in order that the needs can be addressed in a timely fashion.

Co-ordination and collaboration arrangements

It is important that, upon an agreed action plan with the Government, the overall response of the United Nations to this crisis in Ethiopia be managed under the UN Country Team with the UN Disaster Management Team, which meets weekly, playing a lead role. Comprising the heads of the operational agencies, their emergencies officers and staff of the UN-EUE, this forum is an opportunity for the senior UN staff to share information on developments, establish priorities and responsibilities and recommend appropriate inter-agency action.

At the Government's request, the UN Resident Co-ordinator and Heads of Agencies are also available to meet with the Commissioner of the DPPC. This is a forum where issues concerning policy, resource mobilisation and operational co-ordination can take place.

Sectoral co-ordination will be ensured through the UNCT system with each agency held accountable through the UN-DMT mechanism for ensuring that there is free flow of information regarding their individual plans and activities, and that maximum co-ordination with Government is maintained. At the operational level, the agencies involved in field operations will be responsible for ensuring that their activities are co-ordinated with other partners - government and NGOs - to avoid duplication of inputs and efforts and to maximise available resources.

Reasons for UN Country Team assistance

The collaborative approach being advocated in this Relief Action Plan is largely derived from the UN Secretary General's on-going reform process and in continuation of earlier joint approaches taken by the UNCT in Ethiopia on the issue of the internally displaced. This places a strong emphasis on decentralisation of authority and the achievement of a unity of purpose among the specialised UN agencies at the country level.

Apart from the potential organisational advantages of a collective response to this emergency, the UNCT approach was also seen as the best way to maximise the potential impact of the UN's contribution to the overall humanitarian effort. Too often in the past, the UN response has been seen as fragmented and diffuse with considerable overlap and duplication with the activities of governmental and non-governmental actors. The pooling of expertise and resources under the joint authority of the UNCT is expected to greatly improve overall co-ordination and provide the basis for a more coherent and cost-effective response.


The overall objective of this programme is to alleviate the human, social and material consequences in the most severely drought affected areas of the country, focussing primarily on support to the following sectors: food relief assistance, health and supplementary feeding, water and environmental sanitation; education and special protection needs. Linked to the overall implementation strategy, a secondary objective is to further the development aims of the federal and regional governments by linking the provision of relief assistance to the strengthening of the existing services infrastructure.

Within the framework of this Relief Action Plan, the humanitarian activities of the UN Country Team are therefore intended to be implemented along traditional lines, emphasising local partnership, capacity building and support for long-term development objectives.

As in the initial emergency response, as much as possible the UNCT will continue to work through the established line ministries and co-ordination mechanisms, expanding existing programmes where possible and providing additional capacity-building support as needed.

Given the complex and urgent nature of this crisis, programme and contextual monitoring and reporting are included as important elements of this Relief Action Plan. The primary objective here is to ensure that the delivery of assistance is undertaken in an efficient and well co-ordinated manner based on a thorough knowledge and understanding of the status of the program.


Relief food assistance and logistics

WFP launched an appeal for Emergency Operation 6143 on June 1st to assist almost 1.2 million people with 103,253 M/T of mixed commodities, 90 percent of which is cereals. Of this, the only formal pledge received to date is from Canada, for a quantity of 9,000 M/T. While indications of potential pledges have been received from other donors, a shortfall of 94,253 M/T remains.


Overall objective

The overall objective of the project is to support the government's efforts in saving lives and livelihoods and improving the nutritional status of those affected by crop failure over the next seven months, with particular focus on women and young children.

Specific objectives:

* Meet the minimum food requirements of subsistence farmers who have experienced insufficient crop yields in 1998 and a poor belg in 1999, and whose traditional coping mechanisms are unable to sustain them.

* Contribute to preserving household assets thus ensuring that the long-term vulnerability of households does not increase.

Proposed activities and interventions requiring funding

Some 103,253 M/T of cereals will be distributed to 1,195,541 beneficiaries in eight regions between June and December. While all beneficiaries will receive a cereal ration, four zones in Amhara region that are particularly severely affected will receive 6,033 M/T of blended food and 3,620 M/T of pulses in addition to cereal rations. This operation will be implemented through the DPPC.

While WFP has included 6,033 M/T of supplementary food in its EMOP, it is now clear that the total needs are beyond this amount. Therefore, an additional amount of 1,952 M/T of "famix" and 370 M/T of oil is required for targeted groups in 39 weredas in Tigray, Amhara, Oromiya and SNNPR regions, with the details of cost below:

Table : Budget summary for additional supplementary foods


Qnty M/T
Cost M/T USD
Total Commodity


Transport Cost M/T USD
Total Transport

Cost USD

Total Cost USD
Supp. Food
Note: The transport cost for supplementary food assumes that "famix" will be purchased locally while oil will be imported.


This additional supplementary food requirement will be resourced and transported by WFP while UNICEF, in collaboration with DPPC and the Ministry of Health, will be responsible for the co-ordination of distributions through utilisation of health centres or NGOs operational on the ground. This modality of implementation will ensure that the strengths of both agencies are optimised. (See also section on nutrition and supplementary feeding )

Efforts will be made to secure the supplementary food locally, although the internal capacity to produce this amount over a short period of time may not be feasible. In addition, it should be noted that the current market situation has resulted in a recent increase in transport costs, making it difficult to give an accurate estimate of costs at this stage.

In addition to food aid, provision has been made for the supply of ten Relief Food Outlets (small warehouses), which is in keeping with the Government policy of delivering food as close to the beneficiaries as possible, thus reducing the long distances that some beneficiaries are obliged to walk to collect their rations. WFP will be responsible for the delivery and installation of these temporary warehouses.


Since the outbreak of hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea, Assab and Massawa ports have been closed to any cargo destined for Ethiopia. This situation has also changed transport prices and altered the primary transportation corridors and infrastructure used to deliver food from the port of entry to secondary distribution hubs.

The WFP Country Office moved quickly to assess the capacity of the port of Djibouti and to organise clearing and shipping operations to ensure maximum efficiency. In response to the issues involved in transferring all port operations to Djibouti, a co-ordinated Food Aid Transport System (FATS) was developed. As a result, a fleet of 250 dedicated trucks is currently operating with WFP (leased from 10 trucking companies), with an option to bring the total up to as high as 340 trucks at 15 days' notice. FATS is backed with field staff in new locations and Patrol Officers who secure the smooth flow of trucks. In addition, an arrangement has been made with Ethio-Djibouti Railway to transport up to 3,000 M/T of food aid per month.

Being centrally co-ordinated in this manner, multilateral and bilateral agencies as well as NGOs are assured of being able to access a system which will facilitate the movement of commodities from port to destination in the shortest time possible.

In support of the UNCT Relief Action Plan, WFP will also assist other UN agencies in both internal logistics arrangements as well as cargo movements from Djibouti.

Budget summary

Commodities US$ 16,123,200

Transport/Logistics US$ 21,321,765

Direct Support Costs US$ 763,332

Indirect Support Costs US$ 2,292,498

Overall Total US$ 40,500,795

Note: Additional information on the WFP Emergency Operation (EMOP 6143) and copies of this EMOP as well as the EMOP for the displaced can be obtained from the WFP office.

Health, medical supplies and EPI

WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA will all work together in the health sector and kits will be supplied from the respective central warehouses maintained by each agency. In general UNFPA will be responsible for reproductive health, WHO for basic medical supplies and UNICEF for EPI. The agencies will work in consultation with the Government in targeting distribution of these kits and supplies.


Medical support

* To support the most affected population of the 6 zones and one special Wereda with emergency and reproductive health kits enough for three months.

* To supply health institutions serving the affected population with selected medical equipment, reproductive health kits and supplies.

To support related training and operational costs for selected activities.

Expanded EPI coverage

* To strengthen/ reactivate EPI programs with emphasis to control of epidemics such as measles in low coverage areas.

* To support the control of epidemics.

Proposed activities and interventions requiring funding

Medical support

* Emergency health kits will be targeted to hospitals, health centres and health stations to support disease outbreak response, particularly malaria, diarrhoea and respiratory tract infections. Endemic diseases such as intestinal parasites, scabies and other infections will also be combated through access to drug supplies at the local level. Reproductive health kits will also be provided.

* Disease surveillance and reporting systems will be enhanced through deployment of additional health staff, selected refresher training for case management and other related health problems as well as operational support including motorcycles for areas difficult to access during the rainy season.

* Temporary reassignment of staff will be supported.

Expanded EPI coverage

* EPI capacities in affected weredas will be strengthened to expand coverage against vaccine-preventable diseases, especially measles, through the distribution of cold chain equipment and vaccines.

* The expanded EPI coverage will be further enhanced through refresher training and operational support for outreach including motorcycles for difficult to access areas.

In determining the budget for the health component the UN Country Team has worked on the following assumptions:

* One standard emergency health kit for 20,000 people for 3 months to supplement and support the regular MOH programme and to ensure that the most urgent needs of the affected population are met. (The total population of the affected areas is roughly 10 million and of this number slightly under 3 million are considered to be "high risk" because of the current crisis. The emergency health kits will cover roughly half the total requirement for this three-month period.)

* All kits are standard WHO, UNICEF and UNFPA kits.

* The cost is based on 1998 WHO manual and includes freight charges.

* Requirements are calculated based on the number of most affected population and number of health units in the most affected weredas.

Budget summary

Table : Health sector budget


Cost in US$
Emergency health kit (basic & supplementary)
Reproductive health kits (UNFPA)
Surgical set & supplies
Laboratory kits and reagents

Operational costs (programme support, freight, etc.) for medical support



Measles vaccines (doses)[8

Refrigerators with spares
Steam sterilizer
Vaccine carriers
Burner set for kerosene fridges
Ice packs
Syringes and needles
Motor cycle with spare parts and tyres

Operational costs (programme support, freight, etc.) for EPI




Note: For a detailed list of requirements by zone please see Annex II. Additional information on the overall health sector programme can be obtained from the WHO office in Addis Ababa.

Nutrition and supplementary feeding


* To minimise child and maternal mortality and to avert further deterioration of nutritional status of vulnerable groups (children under five, pregnant and lactating women).

* To ensure that distribution and targeting mechanisms are effective, thus enabling the desired improvement in the nutritional status and overall health of beneficiaries

Proposed activities and interventions requiring funding

* Provision of daily rations of blended supplementary foods (150g Famix or CSB per day/550 kilocalories and 50 g edible oil per day/450 kilocalories) for 30% of all children under five, pregnant and lactating women in the worst affected 24 weredas and 15% in the 15 lesser affected weredas, delivered by WFP for a three month period based on simultaneous access to general food rations. (See Section 5.1.3, Table 3 for details.)

* Targeting and distribution of blankets to destitute persons qualifying for supplementary rations.

* Establishment of wereda level targeting, screening, monitoring and reporting mechanisms for distribution of supplementary food (based on MUAC measurements below 70%) and blankets through recruitment of two field monitors per wereda with established weekly and monthly reporting mechanisms to zonal, regional and national offices.

* Establishment of an in-built assessment system of the overall condition of vulnerable groups to determine justification for termination or extension of the programme after three months.

* Regular planning, co-ordination and review meetings with DPPC/MOH (national) and regional authorities to ensure efficiency and effectiveness of implementation; regular field missions conducted by UNICEF Addis Ababa Emergency and Health personnel to co-ordinate and facilitate implementation and monitoring.

Budget summary

Table : Nutrition/Supplementary Feeding Budget


Cost USD
Supplementary ration distribution targeting, co-ordination and monitoring
2 or more wereda-based monitors for 39 weredas supported by DPPC/MOH and UNICEF technical staff
Blankets for most vulnerable
Operational costs (transport and programme support)


Water and environmental sanitation

UNICEF, in consultation with the Ministry of Water Resources, will take the lead on water and sanitation interventions but will work closely with UNDP and other agencies involved in the water sector. Due to recurrent drought many affected weredas have seen water tables drop, seasonal streams and ponds remain dry and springs cease flowing. As a result, water output of deep and shallow wells has either fallen considerably or ceased altogether. This has severely affected communities, many of whom have no choice but to trek ever farther distances. For mothers and girls in particular this has created added burden and hardship, disrupting an already precarious level of survival. Also, the effect of drought on livestock has been significant with high numbers of animal deaths observed as competition for available water threatens both human health and livelihoods. This project seeks to rehabilitate and, where no alternatives exist, construct, quick impact, durable water sources.

In Konso, five plastic tanks will be provided for emergency water storage. In East Harerge to meet the critical water shortage, ponds will be dug for water catchment and shallow wells will be drilled. Shallow well drilling is also proposed for affected weredas in Wag Hamra, South Tigray, and North Wello. Inoperative water schemes will be rehabilitated in North Omo, South Tigray and South Wello. Where no viable alternatives exist, UNICEF proposes supporting deep well drilling in Dehana wereda of Wag Hamra zone and for four locations in South Tigray and North Wello. Operational support costs will be provided to several areas, including Dehana wereda (Wag Hamra) which has 18 hand pumps available but lacks resources to finance installation. In urban centres of North Wello zone, i.e. Lalibela and Woldiya, where stress migration compounded with lack of water and sanitation exacerbates an already poor public health environment, funds will be provided to dig latrines, spray for pest control and provide basic waste disposal.


To reduce the morbidity of drought affected populations in the worst affected areas by expanding access to safe drinking water through timely and durable approaches.

Proposed activities and interventions requiring funding

* Short-term tankering and digging of ponds in East Harerge

* Provision of water storage tanks in Konso

* Rehabilitation of non-operating water schemes

* Deepening of shallow wells or limited deep well drilling

* Support to urban sanitation in North Wello

* Support to operational and maintenance costs

Budget summary

Table : Budget summary for water and sanitation


Cost -USD
Plastic water tanks (Konso)
5 tanks
Digging of ponds (East Harerge)
15 ponds
Drilling of shallow wells

and installation costs (East Harerge, Wag Hamra, South Tigray, North Wello)

106 wells
Rehabilitation of water schemes (North Omo, South Wello and South Tigray)
113 schemes
Deep well drilling and motorised scheme (Dehana, North Wello and Alamata)
15 boreholes
Sanitation activities for select North Wello urban areas
4 locations
Operational costs (transport, local staffing, programme support, etc. in all areas)


Note: To expedite programme delivery, it is expected that most supplies and equipment will be borrowed from existing stocks and reimbursed through sea freighting.


It is noted that needs in the education sector have not yet been fully assessed. However, the purpose of this section is to highlight the expected outcome of activities initiated in the coming weeks towards a quantified Plan of Action to be shared thereafter with interested donors.


To reduce by 90% school drop-out rates for children in the affected weredas by identifying schools in the most affected weredas not currently benefiting from WFP school-feeding assistance, quantifying needs and developing a Plan of Action by 1 August in time for opening of schools in mid-September.

Proposed activities and interventions requiring funding

* Identify schools in most affected weredas not currently benefiting from WFP school-feeding assistance, quantify needs and develop Plan of Action for the next academic year.

* Establish and quantify essential education material requirements for those schools and others facing serious shortage in affected areas.

Budget summary

A budget summary will be provided after the assessment is completed.

Agriculture sector support


The objective of the FAO intervention is to allow drought affected rural families to resume their normal agricultural activities and reduce their dependency on food aid through the provision of agricultural inputs.

Proposed activities and interventions requiring funding

Through a Belgian-funded relief operation amounting USD 840,000 FAO is currently distributing wheat and teff seeds for this meher season in five drought affected zones of Amhara region (Wag Hamra, North Wello, South Wello, Oromiya and North Shewa). This on-going programme involves the distribution of 1,172 M/T of wheat seeds, 342 M/T of teff and 53,821 pieces of basic farm tools (ploughs, plough hooks and sickles) to over 40,000 farm families.


This year, requests for seeds for Amhara and SNNPR, valued at over USD 5 million, were received by the central government. Although the meher agriculture season is well advanced and additional grain seed programs are no longer feasible, two interventions are still possible.

* In the north-eastern highlands and in certain other areas chickpeas can still be planted. At a planting rate of 10 kgs per 0.1 ha for 50,000 families 500 M/T of chickpea seeds would be required at a total cost of USD 180,000.

* In addition, potatoes and sweet potatoes can be planted or re-planted if sufficient shoots and cuttings are available. This programme would target 50,000 of the most vulnerable rural families in East Harerge and Welayita and 50,000 families in the most severely drought affected areas of South Tigray zone and Wag Hamra and North and South Wello of Amhara region. In East Harerge and Welayita each family would receive a 50kg sack of sweet potato vines for planting between July and September while in the northern highlands Irish potatoes would be distributed. The cost for this aspect of the programme would be approximately USD 428,000.

In addition to these emergency interventions, FAO will work together with the Ministry of Agriculture to identify priority seed, tool, and restocking needs for the next belg season so as to begin to take steps well in advance of the planting season.


The main constraint to increasing livestock output is fodder and this is particularly crucial for draught animals during the dry season. Lack of pasture and grazing because of the failure of the belg has already led to livestock deaths in North and South Wello and there is an urgent need to provide fodder and/or locally available residues, as mentioned above. The Agriculture Department of South Wello zone has already started a small programme of transporting by-products from the Kombolcha brewery to feed livestock at the community level in the most severely drought affected areas; additional financial assistance is needed to cover transport costs and to finance additional fodder substitutes such as hay, molasses and urea. It is anticipated that this programme will have to continue until the end of August at which time sufficient pasture should be available. The total cost for a two-month intervention would be USD 400,000.

Budget summary

Purchase, delivery and distribution of 500 M/T of chick pea seeds 180,000

Purchase, delivery and distribution of potato and sweet potato cuttings 428,000

Support to Livestock (fodder, transport, etc.) 400,000

Total 1,008,000

Monitoring, reporting and information management

Providing background analysis and reporting on the humanitarian situation in drought affected areas of the country has been a major preoccupation of the UN Emergencies Unit for many years. The Unit will therefore expand its current work to provide the following services within the context of the UN Country Team program: (1) Analysis and reporting on the wider humanitarian and social consequences of the drought; (2) Monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the UNCT programme in the field; and (3) Preparation of periodic and final narrative donor reports for donors contributing to the UNCT.

Monitoring and reporting on field activities

Individual agencies will be responsible for monitoring and reporting through their normal mechanisms.

WFP has national field monitors based in each sub-office (Mekelle, Tigray Region, and Dessie, Amhara Region), under the overall co-ordination of an international sub-office head. Standard checklists have been developed, and act as a guide for gathering and cross checking data. This information is channelled to the Country Office on a monthly basis, or more regularly if the situation warrants a more immediate response. In the case of Oromiya, Programme Officers undertake monitoring visits from the Country Office using the same checklist. The key indicators are food availability, food access and nutritional status.

Through additional field monitoring, the capacity of the UN-EUE to follow events in the field and provide detailed background analysis for both its internal and public reporting will be considerably enhanced. Using information coming in from the field, regular situation reports will be prepared as public domain documents intended to describe any changes in the humanitarian picture, highlight important developments and flag unmet relief needs. More specialised briefing papers and detailed studies of specific issues will also be prepared as required by the UN Resident Co-ordinator and donors to the UN Country Team fund.

Complementing the regular technical monitoring activities of the specialised UN agencies, the UN-EUE will be responsible for the broader, strategic monitoring of developments and operations in the areas affected by the drought. Where additional specialist expertise is required, however, the UN-EUE will seek resources to recruit consultants locally on a short-term basis.

Budget summary:

UN-EUE Monitoring USD

Two local consultants as temporary field officers for 3 months, salary & per diem 5,400

Rental of 2 field vehicles for 3 months, including operating costs, drivers & per diem 10,000

Rental of computers and equipment for 3 months 1,000

Reporting and Sundries 1,600

Total 18,000


Table : Overall budget summary

Food and Non-food Requirements

I. Food

Food Requirement (WFP EMOP 6143)*
94,253 M/T
II. Non-food

Supplementary Food
USD 1,500,584
Water and Sanitation
to be provided following assessment
UN-EUE Monitoring
USD 7,449,272
* Note: The total DPPC food requirement for assistance to the drought affected is 230,716 M/T.


While the UN Country Team Relief Action Plan for immediate interventions in support of the drought affected is aimed at the most crucial, critical and highest priority interventions, it is also important to continually bear in mind the urgent need to address some of the longer-term issues of these highly vulnerable areas. For Amhara region, for instance, many of these issues are addressed in the sectoral development programme for food security. Although this is a massive programme involving millions of dollars in projects in a wide variety of sectors, there are also other interventions that should be considered as part of a strategy of "buying time" for these very vulnerable areas.

Unlike 1984/85, for many if not all of the really vulnerable areas of Ethiopia the basic problem is often not food availability per se but rather lack of purchasing power - i.e. the lack of off-farm income generating possibilities. The affected areas are chronically food insecure and their level of vulnerability leaves them unable to withstand the impact of repeated crop failure. The effects of several years of poor harvests has increasingly strained traditional coping mechanisms - coping mechanisms that are in one way or another sources of additional income to the poorest families.

* The relatively "rich" families who traditionally provided many employment opportunities through the rental of pack animals, herding opportunities, employment within the household and wage labour in the fields etc. are now among the poor.

* As whole villages become impoverished, social structures and mutual support systems are being strained to the point that many people are not able to borrow from their neighbours and kin.

* Productive assets are sold rendering the poor incapable of recovering from hard years.

* Increasing pressure on the land during crisis times leads to yet further deforestation as more and more families turn to woodcutting, charcoal production, and dung collection to eke out an existence. This also has a negative impact on the Government's intensive natural resource conservation schemes and other ongoing rehabilitation efforts, which have been striving for many years to reverse the trend of soil and water resource depletion.

* Labour migration becomes more fraught with uncertainty as whole families move in search of incoming earning possibilities or relief distributions.

* Terms of trade between value of animals, a "social security system" for many families, brought to the market for sale and the purchase price of grain slip as more and more animals in poorer and poorer condition are dumped on the market in a desperate attempt by farm families to buy grain.

While keeping in mind the longer term sector programs for food security, the international community should also look to a more flexible and innovative approach to these very poor and vulnerable areas.

Vulnerability profiles

The Vulnerability Profiles being developed by DPPC in conjunction with USAID will provide the government and donor community with a much better understanding of the problems facing the poorest areas of the country. As the issues of vulnerability and, in some areas, increasing destitution are of particular concern, this programme should be expanded to cover as many high-risk areas as possible.

The purpose of food aid

There has been much debate in recent times regarding those in Ethiopia who suffer from food insecurity with the argument that there should be a differentiation between the chronic (transitory) and acute food insecure. However, regardless of the category into which an area or community may fall, there is little doubt that food aid can and indeed, must, be used to ensure the wellbeing of vulnerable groups in Ethiopia. Very broadly, the objectives of food aid can be divided into three categories:

* At the most basic level, food aid is intended to save lives;

* At a slightly more sophisticated level, food aid is designed to preserve productive assets;

* Lastly, food aid can build assets.

Thus, food aid interventions can be pitched at any of these levels and ultimately, should strive towards the preservation of existing assets and the creation of new assets. This has been the goal of most interventions in recent years, with the utilisation of Food-for-Work (FFW) and Employment Generation Schemes (EGS). FFW or programme food aid is used in a development context and is targeted at chronic food insecure areas, while EGS are designed to use relief food to provide assistance in times of shocks while also striving towards the creation of sustainable community assets. The effectiveness of both FFW and EGS to meet their intended goals has been limited by a lack of sufficient resources. In addition, it has proven difficult to integrate EGS relief plans into longer term planning.

Over the last several years donor pledges for food aid relief have fallen well below the amounts appealed for, with an average of 56 percent of that appealed for being received.[9] As there has not been a major crisis, the donor community may have become complacent, feeling that hard-pressed families are somehow coping effectively. These families have been able to avert life-threatening food shortage over the last few years but they may have done so at the expense of their productive assets, further deforestation and the utilisation of their last reserves. The accumulation of successive years of hardship has resulted in the progressive erosion of traditional coping mechanisms in many areas to the point that people now face a major crisis.

The donor community and government need to re-visit the whole issue of food aid to Ethiopia in order to develop more coherent approaches and policies that take into account the following two important themes:

* For the most vulnerable areas of the country, saving lives is not enough and food aid must, at a minimum, be designed to preserve productive assets.

* Longer-term food aid commitments are needed so that there is a basic guarantee of employment in the most vulnerable and impoverished areas.

Ethiopian Social Rehabilitation and Development Fund (ESRDF)

Consideration should be given to ensuring that the most vulnerable areas of the country are given priority in ESRDF projects and are given a much higher "share" of the available resources.

Also, some of the major problems encountered in implementing EGS schemes include: lack of suitable projects, limited technical resources, few tools, insufficient funds for materials, limited monitoring facilities and dubious project sustainability. Where appropriate, EGS food resources could be combined with the ESRDF resources and expertise.

The Road Investment Programme and Employment Generation Schemes

The National Policy on Disaster Prevention and Mitigation emphasises linking relief food interventions with longer-term development through Employment Generation Schemes. For many of the chronically food deficit areas of Ethiopia the problem of drought and/or low productivity is combined with massive unemployment or underemployment. This is particularly true for the highland areas of Tigray, parts of Amhara region, East and West Harerge and many other areas of the country. This problem is exacerbated by a 3% population increase, increasing deforestation, low productivity and, more recently, by displacement because of the conflict with Eritrea.

The Government of Ethiopia, with assistance from the World Bank and a consortium of donors, has embarked on a very large 10 year Road Investment Program. Many of these road projects specifically target the traditionally food deficit areas in order to facilitate relief deliveries and to enhance economic development opportunities. This programme also emphasises the use of expensive heavy equipment rather than labour.

Where appropriate, a specific component within the Road Investment Programme for labour intensive rural public works would help provide effective EGS opportunities, while reducing unemployment and under-employment by providing long-term employment opportunities (and training) for the able-bodied in the most vulnerable areas of Ethiopia.

If such a linkage could be established, labour under this component of the project could either be paid as food for work, cash for work or a combination of the two. (Cash for the cash for work component could come from monetized food, and food expenses should come from donations rather than road construction budgets.)

Between 1981 and 1987, the ILO helped the Ethiopian Transport and Construction Authority in establishing labour-based rehabilitation brigades. The technical assistance component of this work was funded under the World Bank road sector credits. The results of this experience were very positive and received strong support from the Government and the World Bank.

Currently, the ILO is involved in the implementation of a labour-based road rehabilitation project in both Amhara and Tigray regions with funding from the Italian Government. Training and capacity building are the important elements of the $3.9 million project which will also serve as a testing ground for labour-based routine maintenance by local contractor.

It is also of interest to note that Amhara region is currently implementing eight labour-based road rehabilitation projects which have resulted in the creation of almost ten thousand jobs. The same cost-effective labour-based approach is also being used by the Rural Road Authorities in Southern, Oromiya and Tigray Regions.

List of Abbreviations

CIDA Canadian International Development Agency

CSB Corn-Soya-Blend

DFID Department for International Development

DPPC Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (Federal

Government level)

EGS Employment Generation Schemes

EMOP Emergency Operation (term used by WFP)

EPI Extended Programme of Immunisation

ESRDF Ethiopian Social Rehabilitation and Development Fund

EU European Union

FAO Food and Agricultural Organisation

FATS Food Aid Transport System

FFW Food -For-Work programmes/projects

IDP Internally Displaced Person

ILO International Labour Organisation

MoH Ministry of Health

MUAC Middle Upper Arm Circumference

NGO Non-Governmental-Organisation

REST Relief Society of Tigray

SCF/UK Save the Children Fund United Kingdom

SNNPR Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region

UNCT United Nations Country Team

UN-DMT United Nations Disaster Management Team

UNDP United Nations Development Programme

UN-EUE United Nations Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia

UNFPA United Nations Population Fund

UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

UNICEF United Nations Childrens Fund

USAID United States Agency for International Development

WFP World Food Programme

WHO World Health Organisation




North Wollo:



Delanta Dawnt


South Wollo:

Dessie Zuria





+ 11 other lesser affected weredas

Wag Hamra:


South Tigray:



Raya Azebo

+ 3 other lesser affected weredas

East Harerge:


Gola Oda





Most affected:



Bolosso Sori

Kindo Koysha

Damot Woyde

Slightly less affected:



Damot Gale

Zala Umbale

Konso Special Wereda

Most severely affected Pas (out of 29 total):

10 seriously

8 moderately

4 mildly

[1] The four non-food assessment missions also included participants from the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Water Resources and, at the local level, regional, zonal and wereda officials. SCF/UK also joined the South Wello mission. From the UN side WFP, WHO, UNICEF and the EUE participated in the missions. For the sake of convenience, however, these four non-food missions are referred to as the "DPPC/UN" mission.

[2] Revised total given by DPPC, based on total figure of 5.3 million in need of assistance (drought affected and displaced), July 1999.

[3] As this Action Plan and Appeal focuses on the current drought, relief needs for the internally displaced have not been included; however, these needs also remain significantly under-resourced and additional pledges are needed for the WFP EMOP 6080 for the displaced.

[4] WFP's Emergency Operation for drought victims (EMOP 6143) is for a total of 93,600 M/T of grain plus 3,620 M/T pulses and 6,033 M/T supplementary food. As of 30 June the only confirmed pledge is from the Government of Canada. Donors are urged to respond to this appeal as a matter of urgency.

[5] FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission to Ethiopia, 21 Dec. 1998

[6] The figure of 2,261,150 includes the relief needs of the pastoralists.

[7] Emergency Operation Ethiopia 6143 - Relief Food Assistance to Victims of Meher and Belg Crop Failure. Copies of this EMOP, which is still badly under-resourced, can be obtained from WFP in Addis Ababa or Rome.

[8] These vaccines are intended to assist the Ministry of Health to expand its measles immunisations to North and South Wello and to supplement its ongoing EPI programme.

[9] WFP Donor/NGO Liaison Unit, Ethiopia, 1998