RELIEF BULLETIN: Weekly Humanitarian Highlights in Ethiopia, 24, April 2003


The DPPC reports that the multi-agency assessment identified an additional 1,227,077 people in need of emergency assistance. The total population in need has risen to 12.5 million from 11.3 million out of a population of 69 million resulting in the need for an additional 79,122 tonnes of food or 944,280 tonnes total for the May to end Dec. 2003 period. The increase stems from the significant reduction in on-farm production, exaggerated estimates of meher production, decline in purchasing power of rural communities, low crop harvests that usually compensate for food gaps (i.e. sweet potato) and poor targeting of beneficiaries at grass root level.


SNNPR Situation Update

DPPC and UN-EUE fielded a joint mission to SNNPR from 13 March - 19 April 2003 to assess food and emergency operations. The team visited Walayita, Dawuro, Hadya, Kambata and Tambaro, Gamu Gofa and South Omo zones and Konso Special Woreda of SNNPR. The general situation in Walayita, Dawuro, Kambata and Tambaro and Hadya Zones and Konso Special woreda has deteriorated and is critical despite ongoing relief food distribution by the Government and NGOs. The mission reported that the situation deteriorated partly due to an increase in the number of needy population who are forced to re-share their food resources. This has seriously diluted the emergency and recovery efforts especially in Walayita Zone. In Konso Special Woreda unless targeted distribution of supplementary food is immediately undertaken, severe deterioration of the situation is likely to develop. Therapeutic feeding centers are being established in Damote Gale woreda (Boditi by MSF-Switzerland), Soddo Zuria woreda (in Soddo Hospital, by World Vision Ethiopia), in Damote Woyide woreda (by Concern) in response to the low status of health and high malnutrition level. Serious malnutrition cases were observed in Kambata and Tambaro Zone in Kadida Gamela Woreda. The joint mission also looked at the distribution of seed in the region. It reported that the seed distribution by government, NGOs and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is on going. However, there is large number of needy population who did not receive the required seeds. Moreover in most cases improved seeds including hybrids seeds are distributed without fertilizer and most farmers cannot afford the purchase of chemical fertilizers. Therefore, even if the weather condition favors crop production, it should be noted that the use of improved seeds without fertilizers would highly reduce productivity and production of the next harvest. Most recently, good amount and distribution of rain is witnessed since beginning of April in the visited areas.


Deteriorating situation being reported from Fik zone, Somali region

In Somali Region, the seasonal Gu rains began on 15 April, easing water shortages and improving the pasture situation for pastoralists. The rains are seen as encouraging for crop production in Jijiga zone, but pastoralist Shinille zone in the northern part of the Region remains of special concern, as does difficult-to-access Fik zone, where the food security situation is reported to have seriously deteriorated. According to Save the Children UK nutritional assessment report in March the Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) in Fik zone is 33.9%. Rain distribution across the region will be closely monitored.


Food pledges amount to 1 million tonnes 

Contributions towards WFP needs for 2003 (EMOP 10030.1 and EMOP 10030.2) now total 318,322 tonnes (280,860 tonnes cereals, 33,462 tonnes blended food and 4,000 tonnes vegetable oil) or nearly US$ 120 million, representing 51% of total WFP requirements for the year of 619,137 tonnes. At the national level, pledges to NGOs, WFP and the government currently stand at 1,055,000 tonnes towards total needs of 1,462,000 tonnes (i.e. 72% resourced), although requirements will now be adjusted to reflect increase of additional needs of 79,122 tonnes (see top section). Donors are being encouraged to confirm current pledges and make new commitments so that needs beyond mid-2003 can be covered, and so that consideration can be given to increasing the cereal ration to the planned 15 kg of cereals/per person/per month for worst affected areas. The current ration is 12.5 kg of cereals, and when available, as a targeted ration to children under five, pregnant women and nursing mothers, 4.5 kg of protein-rich blended food and 0.75 kg of vegetable oil.


UNICEF organized training on management of severe Malnutrition 

UNICEF has organized two training sessions on the management of severe malnutrition in the SNNPR in Butajira Hospital (4-6 April) for a total of 34 health workers, and in Awassa (17-19 April) for 37 health workers. Three more training workshops on management of severe malnutrition are planned for senior medical staff from the Government, NGOs and University medical faculties In May - June.