IRIN News Briefs [19991007]

IRIN News Briefs [19991007]

HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN News Briefs, 7 September


ETHIOPIA: Farmland destroyed by floods ETHIOPIA: Reduction in maize output expected ETHIOPIA: Rebel groups accuse government of "atrocities" ETHIOPIA: Disappointment with UN ERITREA: Call to stop Ethiopia's "war preparations" DJIBOUTI: Opposition candidate jailed SOMALIA: Seven killed in fighting SOMALIA: National food aid estimated at 70,000 mt

ETHIOPIA: Farmland destroyed by floods

Flooding, particularly in the Afar region of northeastern Ethiopia, has destroyed some 9,500 hectares of cropped farmland, both private and state-owned. A UN-Emergencies Unit (UN-EUE) assessment mission to flooded areas along the Awash river found it was difficult to assess the number of affected people, but they ran into tens of thousands. The total area flooded this year was also unknown, a mission report said.

The mission noted that a number of human settlements, especially within the affected commercial crop farms, had been inundated and some others were surrounded by water and inaccessible by road. The health situation may become an "issue of concern" once the water level regressed, the report warned. Stagnant water left behind in the crop fields could become breeding grounds for mosquitoes. So far, health, security and relief coordination committees had been established in Zones 1 and 3 of the region. Evacuation and transport facilities to stranded villages in Zone 3 had been made available, protective dykes built and some eight mobile clinics established in Zone 3 to supplement local health centres.

ETHIOPIA: Reduction in maize output expected

Meanwhile, a recent USAID-FEWS visit to Ethiopia's maize belt in western Oromiya and parts of the southwest found the area planted to maize reduced by about nine percent. This reduction in the planted area, combined with other factors including below-normal main season rains, inadequate land preparation, heavy weed infestation and low application of fertiliser was likely to result in a "large reduction in maize production compared to last year", a report from FEWS said. It said in addition to the north and south Gondar Zones of Amhara region where needs may have been underestimated, there had been problems with disruption of food aid deliveries.

ETHIOPIA: Rebel groups accuse government of "atrocities"

A joint committee of the rebel Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the Sidama Liberation Front (SLF) have accused the government of "atrocities" against the people of Ethiopia. Rebel 'Voice of Oromo' radio quoted a joint statement which accused the government of refusing to implement the OAU peace plan to end the war with Eritrea. "Besides spending millions of dollars on the war, it is also spending twice as much on efforts to stifle the liberation struggle being waged by the oppressed peoples," the group said.

ETHIOPIA: Disappointment with UN

Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin has expressed disappointment with the UN and the international community, particularly over their reaction to the border war with Eritrea. "Africa has received little effective international cooperation, in particular from the UN, for sorting out its difficulties in the area of peace and security," he told the UN General Assembly. Claiming Ethiopia was the "victim of aggression" by Eritrea, he said the UN "pretended, even though it knew better, that there was no aggression". "Once the tone was set by the Security Council, others found it easy to overlook the injustice light of this experience, it is indeed difficult to keep intact our trust in the UN and in international cooperation," he said.

ERITREA: Call to stop Ethiopia's "war preparations"

For his part, Eritrean Foreign Minister Haile Weldensae told the General Assembly his country would fight to "safeguard its sovereignty and dignity". "Once again war clouds are looming ominously over our region," he said. "By its shrill war hysteria, the government of Ethiopia is making it clear that it is poised to invade our country yet another time." "Eritrea believes that this Assembly has the duty to uphold the decision of the OAU which was recently endorsed by the UN Security Council, and calls upon it to denounce Ethiopia's renewed preparation for war against Eritrea," he said.

DJIBOUTI: Opposition candidate jailed

The Djibouti government on Wednesday sentenced the only opposition candidate in last April's presidential elections, Moussa Ahmed Idriss, and 19 of his supporters to four months' imprisonment. They were charged with "violence and hindrance to state authority", Radio France Internationale reported.

SOMALIA: Seven killed in fighting

At least seven people were killed and several others injured when militiamen from Hussein Aideed's faction clashed with those of the Digil Salvation Army (DSA) in Qoryooley in south-central Somalia on Monday. A Somali newspaper 'Qaran' quoted a DSA spokesman, Asad Abdi Muhammad, as saying his forces launched an attack and succeeded in driving Aideed's militia out of the town. He said his forces later withdrew from the town to their base at Sinkadheer near Qoryooley.

SOMALIA: National food aid estimated at 70,000 mt

A joint FAO-WFP crop and food supply assessment mission recently estimated Somalia's national food aid requirements for the period August 1999-July 2000 at 70,000 mt, a USAID-FEWS report said. According to the mission, some 63,000 mt of food aid are already committed for this period, leaving an unfulfilled food aid requirement of 7,000 mt between now and mid-2000. So far, the total food aid committed to the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) emergency appeal issued in July is approximately 20,000 mt. Seeds requested for the upcoming deyr (secondary) season have also been committed.


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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

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Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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