UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
by Yves Guinand, UN-Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia
But in recent years climatic hazards such as erratic or failing rains coupled with pest infestations and crop diseases have been hampering crop production to the point that part of the population has become highly vulnerable to food insecurity. Furthermore, high pressure on land is progressively narrowing farmers, agro-economic decisions and forcing part of them to encroach and cultivate previously unused marginal or pastoral grazing lowland areas. Farmers have been and still are pushing crop cultivation into lowland areas of obvious climatic and biophysical limits and hence putting themselves at high risk. After subsequent unsatisfactory and failed meher and belg rains in 1997 and 1998, severe food insecurity forced people to sell off wealth assets such as oxen and other livestock. Furthermore, food shortage caused large stress and labour migration in October 1998 among the population living in the south-eastern lowlands of East Hararghe. Stress and labour migration continued well into 1999 because early warning mechanisms failed to predict and react timely to the disaster situation and furthermore, another belg rain failure in 1999 further aggravated the food security situation. It was not before the middle of last year, that food and other relief operations reached the size to match the crisis and the emergency situation could be controlled by bringing to a halt stress migration and allowing people to return to their homes.
Nevertheless, Hararghe, particularly its northern and southern lowlands,
is one of the most drought-affected areas of the country with an officially
estimated 370,000 needy people.
Whereas in parts of the highlands usually pockets of high vulnerability
always exist due to well known structural development problems,
people living in mid- and lowland areas, especially those making a living
from agro-pastoralism, are the most vulnerable to food insecurity. There
are a number of factors to be discussed below, which make them more vulnerable
to food insecurity than other segments of the population in Hararghe.
At the time of the evaluation mission to Hararghe from mid to end of
March 2000, not one drop of the expected belg rains had then fallen
onto farmers, fields. The vegetation in general and in particular on farmed
fields, has become completely dry. Rain fed perennial vegetation including
the major cash crops chat and coffee, are in poor physical condition
with dry and in many cases without any leaves at all. Even drought tolerant
shrubs and tress such as acacia species lost many of their leaves and look
physically poor. The few available water sources are intensively used for
cash crop irrigation in the highlands and to water animals in the lowlands.
It is very likely that similarly to the belg growing areas in Welo
and North Shewa, this season's belg rains may fail yet again, further
aggravating the already prevailing critical emergency situation in the
The mission held discussions with West and East Hararghe Zonal Administrations, the Zonal Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Departments (DPPD) and the Zonal Agricultural Offices. Additional consultations with NGOs operating in drought affected areas led to field visits to Babile and Fedis weredas in East Hararghe and to Daro Lebu, Anchor-Goba Koricha and Mieso weredas in West Hararghe. For the field visits to Fedis wereda in East Hararghe, Hararghe Catholic Secretariat (HCS) representatives accompanied the mission. In West Hararghe the mission joined forces with the World Food Programme (WFP) and members of the Zonal Early Warning Committee to visit Daro Lebu wereda and confirm recent wereda administration reports on stress migration and urgently needed relief assistance.
In the light of the severe drought and humanitarian crisis actually striking neighbouring Somali Region and parts of Borena and Bale zones of Oromyia Region, the mission investigated probable inter-action and competition for water and grazing land between Somali pastoralists and Hararghe agro-pastoralists settled in the southern lowlands.
Field visits and discussions held with knowledgeable key informants
revealed that Hararghe agro-pastoralists living in the lowlands, between
and along perennial rivers such as Ramis and Wabe Shebele in the West and
along Fafen and Jerer Rivers in the East, are among the most vulnerable
population segments. They also have been hit hardest by the ongoing drought.
Therefore, this report concentrates on these agro-pastoralists and tries
to find hints and reasons why they have to be considered more vulnerable
Agro-pastoralists, livelihood ratio can be described roughly as 40%
agriculture and 60% animal husbandry. Most agro-pastoralist families are
polygamous. Labour within the family is usually divided as follows. The
men take care of the animals. The women cultivate and take care of the
household, and additional family members such as able-bodied youngsters,
may be sent to search for daily labour in nearby villages. They may even
go as far as to the state and private enterprise farms along Awash river.
The later has been reported form Anchor-Goba Koricha and Mieso weredas
of West Hararghe Zone.
Putting into relation the Hararghe agro-pastoralists, livelihood conditions and their wealth status with their fellow high- and midland farmers and even with the neighbouring Somali pastoralists, they undoubtedly figure at the far end of the ranking list. Their primary and often sole coping strategy for dealing with drought and food shortage is selling off more animals than usual to buy food, as do farmers and pastoralists. But this coping strategy is limited due to the fact that they cannot afford to keep large numbers of animals like pastoralists. Consecutive droughts in 1997 and 1998 left many of the poorer families without plough oxen and with just a few or even without any animals in 1999 when the belg rains failed again. Living mostly in remote areas without or very limited road access, charcoal burning and fire wood selling as an additional coping strategy, is not a viable option for everybody such as it is for the highlanders living near main roads.
Labour migration too does not seem to be a viable option. As mentioned before, families may send able-bodied male members to look for work. But in times of drought, nearby wereda villages and zonal towns become crowded with people looking for daily labour. Hence, many will not find work, and those few who are fortunate to find work are paid wages far below normal rates. Furthermore, family members sent for labour elsewhere, are alleviating the family's burden only in the sense that there is one mouth less to feed. Migrant workers are hardly ever able to bring back cash savings for their families, benefit.
Concerning agricultural practices, in particular cash crop production, conditions for chat and coffee are unfavourable in the lowlands. Even though chat is rather drought tolerant and grown in a number of fields, the drought has seriously hampered production, which eventually came to a standstill. And chat is difficult to market in remote areas with limited access. Hence, it is mostly produced for home consumption and therefore income generation is rather limited, even in normal times.
According to a non-representative case study by the international NGO Save the Children Fund United Kingdom (SCF UK) undertaken in the lowlands of Girawa, East Hararghe, approximately 50% of the households were classified as "poor" and "very poor" out of four wealth categories. Households from these categories had lost virtually all of their livestock by mid-1999 due to forced selling or to death (Mathys, 2000). Even though the data presented is non-representative, it can be assumed that the picture does not vary much in other lowland areas of West and East Hararghe. And as a matter of fact, most of the stress migrants encountered in Harar, Babile, Jigjiga and around the refugee camps in Somali Region at the end of 1998 and in the beginning of 1999, belonged precisely to the poor agro-pastoralists, wealth groups who became destitute after having sold off and lost most or all their livestock. Even though last year's emergency operation managed to return most of these destitute stress migrants to their homes, they have since found themselves in a rather fragile livelihood situation depending entirely on relief food distributions they earn through EGS activities.
One indication for serious food shortage in Daro Abona is the number of malnourished children brought to the health post. In January 2000, 15 patients were registered weekly. In March the number rose to weekly 50 kwashiokor and marasmus cases among children. The primary school of the same place registered 182 first grade children at the beginning of the school year in 1999 of whom 48 remain in March 2000. Similarly for second grade pupils: 60 enrolled in September 1999 and at the time of the mission's visit only 22 were attending classes. Most children dropped out at the end of January or beginning of February 2000. The number of school drop-outs gives an indication of children's physical weakness and also for stress migration of whole families. Daro Lebu wereda administration requested immediate relief assistance for 5000 people in four kebeles (Bilika, Chobi, Wenchebe and Rimeti) in February 2000, after having received reports of unusual and significant population movements away from these localities.
In Fedis wereda, along Gobele river, the cactus plant, Opuntia ficus-indica, is not available. The mission inquired therefore on alternative wild food plants. People interviewed by the mission mentioned a number of such plants and three species were found in the field. But unfortunately the drought has reached a stage where even these wild food plants are parched or carry neither fruits nor any other edible parts. Even leaves have dried and fallen off.
The encroachment of farmed fields by elephants in two kebeles of Girawa
wereda, Kufa Kas and Hafeie, near Gobele river, is another drought indicator.
Normally elephants do not come out of the bush to encroach on farmed fields
for food along the river. Apparently encroachment of farmed fields by elephants
happened also last year in Fedis wereda. The German NGO, Menschen für
Menschen, (MfM), which is working in 7 kebeles along Erer river in the
eastern part of the wereda, reported that farmers faced problems with elephants
in 1999. The population tried to frighten the elephants away by blowing
horns all day and night. So far, elephants have not troubled localities
along Erer river or created any problems among the farming population.
In general, the food security situation is presently under control in the Hararghe highlands, where most farmers will have enough food stock until the end of May and the beginning of June. Nevertheless, chronic food insecure pocket areas remain in the highlands of Anchor-Guba Koricha (25,000 people) and Doba wereda (30,000 people) in West Hararghe and Meta (15,000) Goro Gutu (6,000), Kersa (13,892 people), Jarso (22,700 people), Kombolcha (24,000 people) and in Fedis wereda (50,100 people). Most of these areas face permanent structural problems such as lack of basic infrastructure facilities, overpopulation, remoteness and the like.
The food security situation looks more precarious in the mid- and lowland areas of the two Hararghe zones. Currently most food stocks are being emptied. On March 16 the mission attended two food distributions in Boku and Fechatu villages of Fedis wereda in East Hararghe. In both sites the Hararghe Catholic Secretariat (HCS) organised the food distributions for their Employment Generation Scheme (EGS) activities. These were the last distributions and the warehouses are empty by now. Empty warehouses were indicated also in Asbe Teferi, the zonal capital of West Hararghe as well as most stores and depots at wereda level.
As of DPPC's (Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission) 1999 pre-harvest assessment, the total number of beneficiaries has been estimated at around 370,000, that is 112,500 for West Hararghe and 257,500 for East Hararghe. In all the weredas of West Hararghe the distribution of relief food has been scheduled from April onwards for a duration of six months. In East Hararghe most food distributions for the 15 affected weredas have been scheduled before May, yet it has been confirmed that no food has arrived for the scheduled April distributions in neither of the two zones. A further and significant increase of the beneficiary numbers is inevitable with the prospect of yet another failed belg season.
Seed procurement and distributions have been satisfactory last year.
For 2000, the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has already bought
more than 2000 MT of cereal seeds to be distributed to drought-affected
areas in Tigray, Amhara Region and the Hararghe Zones of Oromyia Region.
Even though the mission was unable to get a clear picture of the seed provision
situation in Hararghe, a number of organizations have already pre-positioned
seed in their warehouses. Furthermore, FAO deliveries should not delay.
In general, seed provision does not seem to cause major problems for 2000.
As a matter of course, beneficiaries are not compensated for lost, skipped
or late deliveries. They are expected to cope with the situation as much
as they can. And surprisingly, the relief efforts undertaken, despite their
unreliability and inadequacy, helped to control the situation and resulted
in the normalisation of the emergency towards the end of December 1999
and the beginning of this year. But the situation remains fragile and may
change anytime from now. Most of the Hararghe lowland areas would have
needed to receive relief food from April 2000 onwards. Yet most warehouses
are empty and none of the mission's interlocutors, except CARE in Asbe
Teferi, knew about the arrival of the expected and needed food. CARE in
Asbe Teferi will be getting some relief food for their EGS activities.
Some weredas such as Meta near Dire Dawa and Gola Oda have some food stocks
left from last year. But these stocks are small and will not last for more
than a couple of weeks. Similar to last year, delayed, missed or skipped
food distributions will undoubtedly once more lead to increased and perhaps
even massive stress migration, not only among the lowland agro-pastoralists
but possibly also from highland areas.
The potential for conflict builds up when Somali pastoralists challenge EGS food distributions destined to compensate those who worked to get the food. In Fedis and Babile wereda, cases of provocation have been reported where pastoralists threatened aid workers who refused to include them in the food distribution. The German NGO, Menschen für Menschen, (MfM) wants to maintain a minimal working culture and is therefore against free food distributions. It does not seem fair, that in Somali Region for the Somali pastoralists, food distributions are organised freely and in the neighbouring Babile and Fedis and other weredas of Oromyia Region, people have to work to get basically the same rations and kind of food.
In Babile, rather peculiarly two administrative systems exist side by
side: the Oromyia wereda administration and the Babile, Somali Region district
administration, both administering the same area. This set up has a historical
and political background, which will not be discussed further. The Oromyia
wereda administration and involved relief and development NGOs such as
the Italian CISP (Comitato Internationale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli) are
confronted with similar problems like in Fedis. For an official estimated
total population of approximately 47,000, listed beneficiaries are approximately
three times as high (~120,000). But the officially accepted number of beneficiaries
for this year is around 27,000 (DPPC, 2000). Wereda Development Agents
and other humanitarian actors organising food distributions are unable
to control the number of people claiming food rations. To prevent disturbances,
tumults and the like during food distributions, all food is distributed
to everybody present. But the mission heard serious and bitter complaints
from wereda officials about the impertinence of the Somali pastoralists
and the lack of support and understanding from official regional and federal
authorities. The Somali administration officials met in Babile town told
the mission that they received from Somali Region DPPB a certain amount
of relief food late in December 1999 (the amount of food could not be recalled).
However, 50kg monthly food rations per four household members (12.5kg/person/month)
were distributed freely to, poor, Somali pastoralist households. The Somali
administration in Babile town stated that they would only provide food
for the Somali pastoralists and only to the ones they will be registering
(currently the Somali Region Administration requested the Babile administration
to register families who have nothing to eat). On the other hand, the Oromiya
administration would provide food for the Oromo agro-pastoralists and destitute
farmers of Babile wereda. Free food distributions by the Somali Region
DPPB to Somali pastoralist are meant to ease the pressure on Oromyia Region
EGS food distributions. But the quantity distributed does not seem to have
any impact on the pastoralists, interference on EGS food distributions
in Babile and Fedis weredas.
Another reliable key informant, who recently travelled from Babile through Fik, Hamero and Imi to Gode town, reported that literally thousands of camels are being watered around Fik town every day. There are big animal concentrations in two different locations of Somali Region: south-west of Fik town, between the Wabe Shebele and the Erer and Mojo rivers, in an area called "Salahad" and south of Jigjiga town, between Fafen and Jerer rivers. These two localities received some rain in October and November last year and hence can still provide animal fodder. Cattle and camels seen walking along the Fik - Hamero track still seem to be in an acceptable physical condition. But as the water wells in the area are getting salty and dry, the situation may deteriorate from one week to the other.
Free relief food distributions have been organised in February 2000
in Fik, Hamero and a number of other places in Fik Zone. In Fik town, food
was distributed to 35,000 people of whom 12,000 were originating from neighbouring
Korahe Zone, of which its zonal town Korahe is located 250 - 300 kilometres
southeast of Fik town. This is a clear indication that herders are moving
towards the north.
To prevent a repetition of the massive stress migration seen in previous years, a continuous and steady flow of assistance using mechanisms such as EGS activities and timely food ration distributions will be crucial. Many families have lost all their wealth assets in previous years and remain virtually destitute. The response of these families to any interruption in food deliveries will unquestionably be migration. Knowing that the long kiremt rains usually isolate areas that are barely served by neglected dry-weather tracks, pre-positioning of the planned and necessary relief items for the coming months will be crucial. But when facing a situation where the timely arrival of relief supplies is difficult to manage and delayed or cancelled distributions are the norm rather than the exception, it is doubtful whether pre-positioning of food and other relief items in affected areas will be possible at all. Presently food deliveries face unexplained bottlenecks at federal and regional level. Transport availability at zonal and wereda level is another often mentioned, well-known and unresolved issue. Lack of sufficient transport capacity created delivery interruptions and was one of the causes for stress migration in 1998 and 1999.
The actual beneficiary numbers listed at wereda level being by far higher than officially accepted at federal level (particularly for Fedis and Babile weredas) may cause serious shortfalls in food requirements and deliveries in the coming months, more so if there is no rain.
Unfortunately there is little that can be done to save dying livestock and replenish exhausted water resources in the lowlands. Their remoteness and inaccessibility prevents the delivery of adequate relief assistance.
As more and more Somali pastoralists are concentrating in just a few
places and are coming up to Babile and Gursum weredas, future relief operations
should take this fact into account. If the rains do not commence soon these
people will require urgent food and water assistance. Identifying a viable
solution regarding how to handle the serious targeting problems in East
Hararghe lowlands where Somali pastoralists request food destined for EGS
workers remains unresolved. This is a sensitive and complex issue, especially
in the current context in the weredas of Babile and Fedis, and is a matter
requiring close attention from the concerned authorities. Currently, there
seems little alternative other than increasing food deliveries to meet
local requests. Nevertheless, the potential for conflict between the Somali
pastoralist communities and the Hararghe agro-pastoralists will remain
high but will hopefully not be aggravated through competition for limited
Ahrens J D (1998a) West and East Hararghe After the Meher Harvest: Significant Yield Reductions, UN-EUE Field Mission Report, 20 to 25 January, Addis Ababa
Ahrens J D (1998b) Food Shortages Force Oromos of East Hararghe into Migration, UN-EUE Field Mission Report, 19 to 27 October, Addis Ababa
CARE Ethiopia (2000) Post-harvest crop assessment report; East Shewa, East & West Hararghe, report prepared by the CARE Ethiopia Food Information System (CEFIS), Addis Ababa
DPPC (1998) Food Supply Prospect 1999, Report published by the Early Warning System Department, December, Addis Ababa
DPPC (1999a) Emergency Relief Needs in Ethiopia, Inadequate Donors Response Against Increasing Needs, Report published by DPPC, 8 April, Addis Ababa
DPPC (1999b) (No title), Trip report on Belg season production and general food security, unpublished internal report on a multi-agency mission, 1 - 12 June, Addis Ababa
DPPC (1999c) Assessment report on non-food requirements in East Hararghe Zone, internal report on a multi-agency mission, 17 - 23 June, Addis Ababa
DPPC (1999d) 1999 meher season pre-harvest assessment in East Hararghe Zone (Oromiya Region), unpublished DPPC zonal report, assessment mission 19 November to 1 December, Addis Ababa
DPPC (1999e) Pre-harvest zone level report, West Hararghe (Oromiya Region), unpublished DPPC zonal report, assessment mission, November, Addis Ababa
DPPC (2000) Food supply prospect in 2000, Volume 3 of 3, Early Warning System Report, Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission, January, Addis Ababa
Getahun A and Krikorian A D (1973) Chat: Coffee's Rival from Harar, Ethiopia. I. Botany, Cultivation and Use, in Economic Botany 27, October to December issue, p. 353-377
Guinand Y F (1999a) North Welo - Food Security Situation: Effects of Consecutive Crop Losses on Farm Households in Selected Areas, UN-EUE Rapid Assessment Mission, 15 to 20 March, Addis Ababa
Guinand Y F (1999b) Mission Report - East and West Hararghe, UN-EUE Field Mission Report, 20 - 28 April, Addis Ababa
Guinand Y F (1999c), North and South Gonder - Food Security Assessment in Part of the Tekeze River Watershed, UN-EUE Assessment Report, 26 May to 7 June, Addis Ababa
Guinand Y F (1999d), Underdeveloped, drought prone, food insecure: reflections on living conditions in parts of the Simien Mountains, UN-EUE Assessment Report, 18 to 29 September, Addis Ababa
Hammond L (1999a), Belg Labour Dependency, Contributes to Food Shortage in Wag Hamra, UN-EUE Assessment Report, 25 May to 9 June, Addis Ababa
Hammond L (1999b) Localized areas of extreme vulnerability and targeting problems persist in East Hararghe, UN-EUE Field Mission Report, 25 - 29 July, Addis Ababa
Hammond L, Eggenberger W (1999) Food deliveries to South Welo increased, but targeting remains a problem, UN-EUE Field Mission Report, 22 - 27 August, Addis Ababa
Klingele R (1998a) West & East Hararghe Zones at the End of the Belg Season, UN-EUE Field Mission Report, 18 - 23 May, Addis Ababa
Klingele R (1998b) Hararghe Farmers on the Crossroads between Subsistence & Cash Economy, UN-EUE Study, Addis Ababa
Krikorian A D and Getahun A (1973) Chat: Coffee's Rival from Harar, Ethiopia. II. Chemical Composition, in Economic Botany 27, October to December issue, p. 378-389
Mathys E (2000) Assessment of the impact of food aid on household economies of North Wollo, South Wollo and East Hararghe, Ethiopia, Save the Children (UK), Food Security Unit, Consultancy Report, February, Nairobi
Sharp K (1997) Targeting food aid in Ethiopia, consultancy report for Save the Children Fund (UK), Addis Ababa
Yesus A H (1996) Field Trip Report to East and West Hararghe Zones of the Oromiya Region (Region 4), UN-EUE Field Mission Report, April, Addis Ababa
CISP Comitato Internationale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli
(International Committee for the Development of People)
DPPC Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (at
DPPB Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (mostly at
DPPD Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Department (mostly at
EGS Employment Generation Scheme
FAO Food and Agricultural Organisation
HCS Hararghe Catholic Secretariat
ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross
LWF Lutheran World Federation
MfM Menschen für Menschen
NGO Non-Government Organisation
SCF/UK Save the Children Fund United Kingdom
UN-EUE United Nations Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia
UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF United Nations Children Fund
WFP World Food Programme
Ethiopia's Belg Rains Defined
In spring, a strong cyclonic centre develops over Ethiopia and Sudan. Winds from the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean highs are drawn towards this centre and blow across central and southern Ethiopia. These moist, easterly and southeasterly winds produce the main rain in southeastern Ethiopia and the little spring rains to the east central part of the northwestern highlands. The little rains of the highlands are known as belg rains, referring to the second most important sowing season of the region. (Source: FEWS)
Ethiopia's Baga Season Defined
Since Ethiopia is in the tropics, physical conditions and variations in altitude have resulted in a great diversity of climate, soil, and vegetation. Rainfall is seasonal, varying in amount, space, and time. There is a long and heavy summer rain, normally called the big rain or kiremt, which falls from June-September. It is followed by the baga hot, dry period from October through February. In some areas there are short and moderate spring rains in March and April known as the little rains or belg. These rainy periods correspond to Ethiopia's primary and secondary agricultural seasons, known as the meher and belg. (Source: FEWS)
|Very poor HH||Poor HH||Middle HH||Better off HH|
|Description||very small land and animal holdings
|labour migration||ox owning
|Animal holdings in, normal, years||0-1 oxen
0 pack animals
0-1 pack animals
0-2 pack animals
2-3 pack animals
|Animal holdings in 1999||0 oxen
0 pack animals
0-1 pack animals
3-7 cows 3-6 shoats 0-1 pack animals
1-2 pack animals
|HH size in, normal, years||3-4||5||6||6|
|HH size in 1999||3-4||5-6||5-6||5-6|
File administration: archive\reports\reports2000hara1804.doc
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.
18 April 2000
UN-EUE Tel.: (251) (1) 51-10-28/29
PO Box 5580, Fax: (251) (1) 51-12-92
Addis Ababa e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
 For further reading on this mild narcotic drug, refer to the following articles and reports which are listed at the end of this report: Getahun & Krikorian, 1973; Krokorian & Getahun, 1973; Guinand, 1999; Klingele, 1998b;
 For detailed account and evaluation of 1997 and 1998 belg and meher performances and relief activities see Ahrens, 1997, 1998a, 1998b; Klingele, 1998a.
 See Guinand, 1999b and Hammond, 1999b.
 Unofficially and adding up wereda and zonal level data, the number of needy people is way beyond double the official number.
 For example in Anchor -Goba Koricha and Doba weredas of West Hararghe Zone, and Meta, Goro Gutu, Kersa, Kombolcha and Jarso weredas of East Hararghe Zone.
 The Midega Kebele Administrator who accompanied the UN-EUE mission affirmed that we were the first visitors from outside the kebele to visit and to use the newly opened track.
 See the annexed table for more details on the wealth groups and their assets, taken from the SCF UK report.
 For an actual update on the current agricultural situation, including market prices and trends, terms of trade and yield expectations for major crops in East and West Hararghe, please refer to CARE Ethiopia's most recent post-harvest assessment report published in March 2000 (CARE Ethiopia, 2000).
 These beneficiary numbers include only needy people from the highland areas of the mentioned weredas, excluding mid- and lowland beneficiaries.
 Zonal and regional estimates from the pre-harvest assessment 1999 suggest 269,481 and wereda estimates suggest 349,406 eligible beneficiaries (DPPC pre-harvest assessment zonal report: DPPC, 1999d & 1999e).
 The track which leads from the Daro Lebu wereda capital Mechara to the affected lowland areas is very rough and even for Land Rovers and similar four-wheel-drive vehicles it can take up to four hours for the one way 100 kilometre trip. Furthermore, the track is only practicable during the dry season and its narrowness does not allow any 5 ton and heavier lorries to operate on it.