HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN News Briefs [19990910]

HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN News Briefs [19990910]

HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN News Briefs, 10 September

ETHIOPIA/ERITREA: Ethiopia rejects some aspects of peace plan

Ethiopia on Monday expressed dissatisfaction with elements of the OAU-led peace plan to end the war with Eritrea. A foreign ministry statement said the "technical arrangements" to resolve the war did not make it clear whether Eritrea would withdraw from all disputed territory. A framework agreement accepted in principle by both sides in February provided for Eritrea's withdrawal from "Badme and its environs" to territory it held before the war. Ethiopia is now questioning whether Eritrea will "withdraw" from two other fronts at Zalambessa and Bure, news organisations reported.

Eritrea responded to Ethiopia's latest statement by describing it as "tantamount to a declaration of war" and a rejection not only of the technical arrangements, but of the entire peace plan. In a statement, the Eritrean foreign ministry warned it may have "no choice but to resort to legitimate acts of self-defence".

Religious leaders call for peace

Meanwhile, religious leaders from both countries urged a cessation of hostilities and an end to media propaganda by the two countries. In a joint statement issued after a meeting in Oslo, Norway, the religious leaders noted the "destructiveness" of the war, stressing that neither country would benefit, Eritrean radio reported on Wednesday.

ETHIOPIA: Extreme vulnerability persists in parts of East Haraghe

A recent multi-agency mission to the East Haraghe zone of Oromiya state found that localised areas of extreme vulnerability still persist. A report issued by the UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (UNDP-EUE) said that while the situation was difficult to generalise about, the present nutritional condition of people living in the highlands appeared to be relatively better than those at lower altitudes. There were pockets of extreme food insecurity, particularly in the lowlands and midlands, but it was difficult to know the extent of these problems since they are located in isolated areas. In ideal circumstances, it might be possible to expect a reduction in requirements by September, when the last belg and first meher crops would normally be expected. However, this scenario was unlikely this year, the report said. In the meantime, the effectiveness of food aid could be enhanced by improving field monitoring, targeting, and food distribution systems to ensure that the most vulnerable were adequately served.

Concern over food situation in North Omo

UNDP-EUE also expressed concern about the food situation in the Wolayita area of North Omo zone, stressing that due to the delayed belg rains and prolonged dry period, the 1999 harvest season could be very minimal. Meher cropping in the lowland areas of North Omo also looked bleak as the area had not received enough precipitation, UNDP-EUE said in a report. It called for mobilising additional food relief, together with supplementary foods and drugs for the most seriously affected areas.

SOMALIA: Cholera outbreak in Bosaso claims 15 lives

WHO says 6,964 cases of cholera have been reported in the country as of 31 August. In a statement it said the disease is appearing in new areas such as Bosaso, where 15 people have died. A total of 190 cases have been admitted to Bosaso hospital. Over 90 percent of cases are from the same residential area where residents have been drinking from wells adjacent to pit latrines. Three control committees have been set up in Bosaso town for social mobilisation, water and sanitation and case management, WHO said.

UNICEF nutritional survey in Baidoa

A recent nutritional survey carried out by UNICEF in Baidoa found that 21.6 percent of 903 assessed children were moderately or severely malnourished with oedema. The survey was carried out after community leaders and the Rahanwein Resistance Army (RRA) administration reported high malnutrition rates in the town. The survey concluded that diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections were the main causes of malnutrition, and its recommendations included the continuation and expansion of general food distribution in the town and surrounding villages to reduce the potential impact of a large influx of people to Baidoa.

Situation improves in north Mogadishu

Fighting has subsided in north Mogadishu and the security situation has improved over the past few days as a result of "anti-banditry operations", the 'Qaran' newspaper reported on Thursday. It said the operations, spearheaded by groups of traders and clan leaders, targeted key points such as roads and bandit hideouts. Traffic flow had also greatly improved, especially along the main road connecting south and north Mogadishu, the newspaper said.


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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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