United Nations Country
TABLE OF CONTENTS
|The Tigray Mission|
|The Afar Mission|
The border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea resulted in the displacement of civilian populations along the northern border area in Tigray and, to a lesser extent, along the north eastern border in Afar region. In response to the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) Appeal for these displaced and the briefing session with donors on 15 June the United Nations system, in conjunction with the DPPC, organised two joint assessment missions. One mission, which was composed of representatives from IOM, UNDP-EUE, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, WHO and DPPC visited Tigray region between 19 and 24 June. The other mission included representatives from UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, WHO and DPPC and visited Afar region between 19 and 23 June.
The Government granted both teams access to all the main areas of interest and the local authorities were helpful and co-operative throughout both visits. Time constraints for the Tigray mission and an almost complete absence of roads into the interior of Afar region caused some limitations but overall both missions felt that they were able to get a good "feel" for the plight of the various displaced populations.
In Tigray virtually all the displaced are being accommodated in the local communities and the Government has a specific policy of not setting up camps. Although the UN fully supports this policy, one of the few drawbacks is that it makes it extremely difficult to get an accurate picture of numbers. However, the Tigray mission felt that the registration and screening system that had been set up by the local authorities was comprehensive considering the circumstances and concluded that numbers in the DPPC appeal were reasonable. Additional displaced continue to arrive at various communities and at the time of the mission the latest figures from the Tigray administration were 168,000 displaced. In spite of these increases the original DPPC planning/contingency figure remained unchanged at 300,000.
In Afar, because the Afar nomadic population is widely dispersed, it was equally difficult to establish numbers. The non-Afar displaced population, which numbers 1,013 have, by the end of June, all been moved to Loggia because of the easier access to water. In terms of immediate food needs the mission recommends food assistance for the 1,013 non-Afar displaced plus the 1,000 Afar displaced located at the time of the mission. The Afar mission has requested the local administration to gather additional information on the location and specific needs of an estimated 14,000 Afar who are scattered in various locations in the interior. As was the case in Tigray, the mission was impressed with the screening and registration process being implemented at the various locations along the main road.
Both missions were also impressed with the local co-ordinating mechanisms that had been set up in Tigray and Afar and felt that at the field level these co-ordinating systems had greatly facilitated the distribution of initial relief supplies to the displaced.
Not only did the displaced people in Tigray and Afar leave their homes with very few personal possessions but in Tigray they have also lost their means of livelihood. The northern areas of Tigray rely on rain-fed agriculture with 90% of their production coming from the main rainy season, the meher. In addition to agriculture, livestock also plays an important part in the household economy and most of the displaced not only lost their assets such as tools and livestock but, unless they can return home in the very near future, they will also loose any possibility of producing a crop during this rainy season. The host communities, although they still have their assets, are equally poor and are not in a position to assist the displaced with food. Consequently, the Tigray mission has recommended a full daily ration of:
In addition, the mission recommends a supplementary ration for under-5 children, pregnant women and lactating mothers of 150 grams of "Famix" (a locally produced corn/soya blend) per day. This supplementary ration would provide an additional 640 kcalories, 15 grams of protein and 6.6 grams of fat to the basic ration of 2,000 kcalories, 70 grams of protein and 28 grams of fat. For immediate planning purposes the mission estimated a displaced population of 168,000 of which 25% or 42,000 would also be entitled to the supplementary ration.
In Afar the situation of the nomadic population is a little less clear as the mission was unable to determine the proportion of nomads that may have escaped with their herds. However, at least 1,000 Afar displaced have already been identified along with the non-Afar displaced population of 1,013 and the mission recommended that, like the displaced in Tigray, both these groups should be entitled to the full ration outlined above and children, pregnant women and lactating mothers should receive the supplementary ration. The Afar mission also recommends a contingency plan for an additional 18,000 people (14,000 Afar plus 4,000 people whose livelihoods have been severely affected by the de facto closure of the Assab road).
Health services in both areas are already badly over-stretched and, although they have been able to cater to the most immediate needs of the displaced, supplies are running out and in some cases budgets have already been exhausted. In both areas the missions recommended strengthening the existing health services, expanding immunisation programmes and re-supplying the health facilities with emergency kits, and reproductive health kits.
Water is a particularly acute problem in Afar region and the existing tankering operation will have to be expanded. Also particularly important will be water for those displaced nomads who still have herds. In Tigray the arrival of the displaced is already putting the existing water systems under stress and the mission has recommended that where feasible existing systems be repaired, rehabilitated or expanded, smaller water sources be protected and new sources be developed. Purification tablets will also be needed in many locations. In both Afar and Tigray the distribution of additional jerry cans would also ease the burden on both the displaced and the hosting/affected communities.
The missions also pointed out the need for shelter materials, particularly blankets and plastic sheeting. The rainy season has just started in Tigray and although many of the displaced are housed with relatives and friends, space is extremely limited and additional shelters need to be constructed in compounds and other free areas within the communities. As nights are cold in these highland areas, blankets are also very important. In the Afar region the non-Afar displaced population is currently housed in schools and other public buildings and these groups will also need additional shelter materials and blankets when the schools begin again. Many of the displaced Afar nomads may also need shelter materials but further more specific information on the location and status of these people is needed.
Although the administrations and relief committees in both locations have done a commendable job with limited resources, there were, however, a number of issues that were raised during the course of the missions that will need further clarification:
A simmering border dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea flared up into a major armed clash in the first half of May. Subsequently, the confrontation gained momentum involving armed forces of both sides on the ground and in the air. Currently, the three main areas of friction along the 1,000 kilometres long border, are: Badme and Shiraro in the western border section, known as the "Yirga Triangle" between the Tekezze and Mereb rivers (Western Tigray Zone), Zala Ambasa and Alitena in the central border section (Eastern Tigray Zone) along the main road leading to the Eritrean capital Asmara, and Bure in the eastern border section (Zone 1 of Afar Region) on the main road to the Eritrean Red Sea port of Assab.
While various international mediation efforts and peace proposals to date have failed, the conflict escalated to an extent that air raids were carried out on the Ethiopian cities of Mekele (capital of Tigray Region) and Adigrat (eastern Tigray, some 30 kilometres from the border) and on the Eritrean air base at Asmara, both causing causalities. During the conflict Ethiopia ceased to have access to Assab port, through which the bulk of her imports (including relief food) and exports were shipped.
Early after the first clashes had occurred in border areas along the Tigray section, claims emerged that Eritrean forces had penetrated "several dozen kilometres" inside Ethiopian territory. According to Ethiopian government sources, Eritrean forces now occupy Badme town and parts of Shiraro district (Tahetay-Adiyabo Woreda of West Tigray Zone) while the towns of Zala Ambasa and Alitena (Golomeheda and Erob Woredas respectively of East Tigray Zone) are contested. Obviously, civilians living in or near the conflict areas fled their homes. (Note: the administrative structures include Regions, Zones and Woredas).
The Ethiopian Government, through the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC), launched on 15 June 1998 an international appeal entitled "Assistance Requirements for Population Displaced by the Eritrean Government’s Act of Aggression". This appeal identifies a total "displaced population needing assistance" of 143,000 (in Tigray Region 126,000; in Afar Region 17,000). While the appeal states that "so far, a total of 143,000 victims are being provided with assistance of one form or another in the two regions", a planning figure in terms of food needs of 300,000 is used (27,000 MT for six months). Shelter materials, household utensils, clothing, medicines and medical equipment were requested for 150,000 people. This current appeal, relating to war displaced people, stands against a background of 4.3 million people nation-wide needing 573,000 metric tons of food relief assistance due to crop failure, of which only 265,518 metric tons (46%) of the requirement has been pledged so far.
In response, the United Nations in Ethiopia fielded, with the co-operation
of DPPC, one technical assessment mission to each of Tigray and Afar regions.
The missions were to conduct a rapid assessment (19 to 24 June) of the
condition and needs of displaced people in terms of food, shelter, access
to water and sanitation, health, household/personal effects and special
needs of women and children. A qualitative approach was followed by the
missions, relying on collecting information from key informants and groups
THE TIGRAY MISSION
TIGRAY REGION – SOME BASIC INFORMATION
Tigray Region comprises four zones (Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Zone) with a total, predominantly sedentary, population of about 3.4 million. The region is situated in Ethiopia’s North, sharing a short border with Sudan, in the West, and with Eritrea all along its northern boundaries. Culture, religion and language (Tigringna) are shared to a significant extent with the majority population group of the northern neighbour. The regional capital is Mekele, located some 800 kilometres (by road) north of Addis Ababa.
Of Tigray’s total population, the majority is settled in rural areas, depending predominantly on farming and related agro-economic activities. Of the total annual crop production 90 per cent is produced during the long meher season (June – September) with the rest (mainly in Southern Tigray) being provided during the short belg season (February – May). Agriculture is, by and large, rain-fed making this sector dependent on variable rainfall patterns. As such, even in years of average rainfall a large proportion of the rural population is exposed to vulnerability and food insecurity. The estimated needy population of the region for 1998 stands at 1,201,000 or 41 per cent of the rural population (DPPC Appeal of November 1998, requesting food assistance for 4.3 million people nation-wide). Drought prone areas include woredas along the northern frontier, now partly affected by the fallout of military conflict. The "Relief Plan of Operation for 1998" (DPPC, April 1998) presents the following beneficiary numbers for woredas bordering Eritrea: Tahatay Adiyabo 51,800 and Laelay Adiyabo 13,000 (both Western Zone); Mereb Lehe 68,000 (Central Zone); Golomeheda 48,000 and Erob 19,500 (Eastern Zone). Among the border woredas, only Kafta-Humera and Enticho are not mentioned in the annual plan projecting the relief requirements prior to the conflict. The relief plan presented in April, however, already pointed out significant gaps between net food requirements and planned distributions due to shortages of relief resources.
Prior to the conflict, the economy of the border areas also consisted, besides agriculture, of other sectors including cross-border trade and labour migration. The urban centres, in particular, enjoyed trading activities with the flow of goods predominantly heading for Eritrea. Rural communities were also involved in small-scale border trade, livestock being one of the significant items sold to Eritrea. Eritrea also depended on commercial grain exports from Ethiopian surplus areas like Gojam. Equally, local communities, both urban and rural, used to offer their labour-force across the border. When Eritrea introduced its own new currency, the Nakfa, late last year and after the introduction of hard currency based trade, the cross-border economy took a deep plunge. With the outbreak of open confrontation and conflict, it came to a standstill, thus seriously reducing the rural populations’ abilities to compensate for shortfalls in their agricultural production.
The mission had a total of three days of fact finding and a further three days were required for road travel back to Addis Ababa (19 – 24 June). The mission had meetings in the Region’s capital, Mekele, and further meetings with Eastern, Central and Western Zone officials in Adigrat, Axum and Shire (also known as Inda Selassie) respectively. The mission also travelled north of Shire to the small town of Adi Hagray.
The United Nations inter-agency mission was composed of the following participants:
Tahir Nour (WFP; team leader)
Joachim D. Ahrens (UNDP-EUE)
Sylvester Awuye (UNHCR)
Everett Ressler (UNICEF)
Dr. Meera Sethi (IOM)
Dr. Eyob Tsegaye (WHO)
Ato Getachew Tesfaye (DPPC; observer)
The mission was also accompanied by a representative of REST (Relief
Society of Tigray) and a representative from the Regional DPPC.
IMPRESSIONS ON THE GROUND
In Mekele, the mission visited the primary school bombed on 5 June where about 50 people, including schoolchildren, lost their lives. The cluster bombs, although not completely destroying the buildings, had caused heavy damage. Roofs were torn, windows shattered, and walls perforated. Nevertheless, life has resumed its normal pace. Shops and offices are open and the citizens of Mekele appear to living a normal life. "Don’t worry about us, now we are safe here", said a senior government official, reflecting a trust in the national defence forces. This general appearance of normalcy was also confirmed later when the mission was forced, due to the cancellation of flights, to travel back to Addis Ababa by road and the mission could not see any unusual population movement to the south.
The same observation was made when the mission drove from Mekele some 120 kilometres north to Adigrat and thereafter further west to Adua, Axum and Shire and back to Mekele. Along the itinerary, by and large, the public situation presented a rather normal "business as usual" picture with functional markets, trade and business, and with farmers pursuing their regular activities. The overall impression was that while people were preparing for a possible further escalation of the conflict, they were continuing to lead as normal a life as possible.
The obvious exceptions to the "normal life pattern" were the DP and their host communities. As pointed out by the regional committee, it is the declared policy of the Region to host displaced people with relatives and friends trying to avoid, to the extent possible, the setting up of camps. This "no-camp-policy", taking into account existing social structures based on kinship and solidarity, is aimed at reducing health and security risks and social problems. Although at the time of the mission’s visit this approach appeared to be still feasible, it is clear that the capacities of host communities are stretched to the limits with food, water, household utensils and shelter being shared between hosts and displaced. In Adigrat - where the mission also visited the warehouse bombed and destroyed on 11 June, with a total food loss of 205 metric tons, and saw a pile of relief food still burning – some people are said to have rented cheap hotel rooms for 30 Birr (US $ 4.25) a month, which are shared by four to ten people. At the REST warehouse in Adigrat the mission spoke to people queuing up for relief food distribution, most of them displaced from the Zala Ambasa area, and they confirmed that they were staying with relatives, friends or anyone who would offer shelter for the night.
The one exception to this "no-camp-policy" was seen in Adi Hagray (located not far from Shiraro in the "Yirga triangle" some 68 kilometres north of Shire) where a temporary camp and transit centre has been set up with 11 tents donated by the Ethiopian Red Cross. The area chairman pointed out that the town, hosting altogether about 7,500 DP from Badme and areas around Shiraro, had reached its absorption capacity. He reported that new DP were arriving daily and being registered. The tents, designed to accommodate ten people each, were getting so overcrowded (hosting up to twenty people) that people who arrived the previous day were forced, without getting food, to sleep in the open exposed to the current rainy season. While new arrivals, having more time to organise their flight to Adi Hagray by foot, were able to bring some of their modest belongings, others who were forced to flee hastily during the first clashes, came completely empty handed. "I had to flee in the night, at three a clock in the morning, there was no time to take anything, I arrived here only wearing my underwear, nothing else", stated an elderly woman. A young woman in one of the tents told the mission that she walked seven hours in the last days of her pregnancy. Three days prior to our visit, she gave birth in the tent and was breast-feeding her newly born baby.
NUMBER OF DISPLACED PEOPLE
Although the DPPC appeal of 15 June 1998 enumerated the number of DP
as 126,000 (including 3,000 Ethiopians returning from Eritrea), the mission
was informed by the Regional authorities that the number of registered
DP had increased to 168,000 and the number of Ethiopians returning from
Eritrea had increased to 7,000. The breakdown is as follows:
|Ethiopians returning from Eritrea||
In view of the rapid nature of the assessment and difficulties of estimating the number of DP who are integrated with host communities, the mission was not in a position to verify the above numbers forwarded by the Regional authorities. However, in cross checking the above figures with the 1994 Census population data of the affected areas and in view of the good registration system being followed by the Region, the above figures seem reasonable.
The registration and screening system being followed in Tigray was found by the mission to be a good one. People from a particular community nominate a representative to register those claiming to be displaced; being familiar with the community, the representative distinguishes between genuine and non-genuine cases. Then, each community (depending on origin) meets and screens the registration list and corrects any inaccuracies (e.g. family size) and deletes those deemed to be able to support themselves. Then, the list is finalised and submitted to the authorities for receipt of assistance.
However, no clear information was found by the mission regarding the 7,000 Ethiopians returning from Eritrea. The Regional authorities did not confirm the whereabouts of this population or the extent of assistance provided to them to date. In Axum, the Zonal authorities indicated that 3,000 returning Ethiopians had been registered and that they had dispersed to various parts of the country without receiving any assistance.
To a certain degree, the people displaced by this conflict are the subject of a Government appeal, launched in November 1997, for food assistance in 1998 for victims of crop failure. As such, there is an undetermined overlap between this appeal for DP and that of 1997. As even the 1997 appeal has not yet been fully subscribed, it is important that overlap between beneficiaries be avoided. The Regional and Federal authorities have recognized the need to eliminate from this appeal for DP those already covered under the 1997 appeal.
Conclusions and recommendations:
In all locations visited, efforts were made by the assessment team to ascertain health concerns. The opinions of local health authorities were heard, a hospital and a health post visited, and health issues discussed with mothers.
Health Services: Health services are reported to have ceased or to have been severely disrupted in woredas adjacent to the border throughout northern Tigray, where there has been direct conflict (e.g. Erob, Gulomeheda, Tahtay Adiyabo, Mereb Lehe). Visits and discussions with Regional and Zonal health officials revealed that, at the height of the conflict, the Mekele and Adigrat hospitals were overburdened with causalities for which the hospitals were not prepared; in meeting health needs, both were depleted of supplies. Since the cessation of air strikes this problem is temporarily halted but officials believe that hospitals should be prepared and have stocks to cope with health emergencies if the conflict escalates.
In woredas where there has been no direct conflict and which are not immediately adjacent to the border, the health system is functioning normally but with an increased case load in providing services to the displaced families and militias, both of whom are being provided services and drugs free of charge.
The increased caseload in the health facilities is illustrated by a visit to Adigrat Health Centre. In a facility that include 7 examining rooms and a staff of 1 health officer, 6 nurses, 12 health assistants (no physician), the caseload increased by some 66% over the last month (from a reported 140 adults and 20 child visits/day to 200 adults and 40 child visits/day). The number of deliveries doubled form 5 per day to about 10 per day (clinic records confirmed 6 in the last 2 days). Similarly hospitals near the conflict zone are functioning but have been reoriented to treat causalities and only the most urgent civilian cases. For example, the hospital capacity at Adigrat has been increased from 120 to 240 beds in the last month. Health centres are currently taking increasing responsibility for most of the health service, this has greatly affected maternal and child health programs. Doctors interviewed suggested the most urgent needs, which included, drugs (particularly antibiotics) dressing material and additional health personnel.
At present regular health care programmes like immunisation in the displaced areas are functioning properly. In fact vitamin A supplementation planned nationally to take place for 26-28 June is scheduled in all woredas except in the areas of acute conflict. It deserves a note that the health service appears to be very well organised and functioning efficiently and effectively.
Health Status: Health problems to which the health system must respond include those arising from the direct effects of war, health problems related to stresses of displacement and ongoing health needs faced by the general population.
As in the rest of the country, communicable diseases are the common problems in Tigray. Epidemic prone diseases like diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid and meningitis are endemic in the area, and children are more affected with these problems.
The mission found that the majority of the displaced are mothers and children who are of particular concern for health care. To date, children have also been direct victims of the conflict as evidenced by the fact that some died and were wounded in the air raids. The mission also heard reports of mothers giving birth while fleeing from Badme area.
Although, statistics on mortality and morbidity are not available for the affected population, still, conflict, displacement, fear and food stress clearly pose increased risks of illness and mortality among the affected persons, particularly children and women are recognised by all health professionals met. This is confirmed also by mothers who reported occurrences of diarrhoea among children, and the poor nutritional status witnessed by the mission at Adi Hagray.
No epidemics have been reported in all woredas hosting the displaced. However, overcrowding, poor sanitary conditions and insufficient water supply prevalent in all areas is worrying officials.
Doctors suggested that an increase in infant and maternal mortality were almost certainly occurring as a consequence of people not taking advantage of health services and because specialised delivery and antenatal services have been shifted from hospitals to health centres. (A sharp decrease in the number of difficult delivery cases referred from hospitals occurred over the last month in Adigrat hospital).
Supplies/Logistics: In all locations visited, existing stocks of drugs and supplies are reportedly sufficient for present needs but the requirements over the past month have largely depleted health budgets. However, with the number of displaced increasing daily, existing stocks will be depleted in the near future. It was commonly reported that insufficient stocks exist for a sudden or sustained emergency and there will be need for a continuous supply of essential drugs and supplies particularly at the community level. Delivery kits, for use at the community level, were considered an important need; special emphasis needs to be given to delivery, obstetrics and gynaecological operative equipment, drugs and supplies. Zonal systems depend on commercial hire for transport which reportedly results in constraints including heavy budgetary requirements. Additional vehicles for supervision and for delivery of small quantities of emergency supplies were cited as an important need.
Conclusions and recommendations:
It should be recalled that a significant number of the DP originate from drought affected areas and depend, to a large degree, on food assistance due to shortfalls in agricultural production. It should also be recalled that income from trade with Eritrea has recently dropped significantly due to changes in trade policy. It is clear, therefore, that the DP originate from very poor backgrounds and have very little reserves that they can call on to sustain themselves during this period of displacement. The Regional authorities are attempting to assist the DP with credit to start-up petty trading, but credit funds and demand for petty traded items are limited and it can reasonably be expected that only a few DP would be successful in these ventures.
The mission met tens of children on the streets of Adigrat (most from the town of Zala Ambasa and the surrounding rural areas) begging for money and waiting for food remains from hotels and restaurants. The mission also met DP waiting at food distribution sites many of whom stated that they have been begging for food since their displacement and the remaining relying on friends, relatives and/or host populations for their food. At the town of Adi Hagray, mothers revealed that their children had had a roll of bread in the morning and would only get a cup of tea in the evening, that being their total food intake for the day. Although the mission did not witness any cases of severe malnutrition, moderate cases of malnutrition and stunted growth among children was observed. Although these conditions do not relate directly to displacement it is safe to project that displacement will aggravate this precarious nutritional status.
In view of the fact that the people displaced by this man-made disaster have little or no income earning opportunities in areas they are displaced to, have no access to farming land and no assets with which to farm, and have fled their homes with little or nothing, it is the conclusion of the mission that food aid is justified. It should also be noted that the DP are being hosted by local communities who have minimal spare capacity to cater for the food needs of the displaced and hence food aid is further justified in order not to burden the host community to the point where they may require food assistance themselves.
Given that the DP would be dependent to a large degree on food assistance, the mission recommends the following food basket (grams/person/day):
Given the fluid nature of the conflict and the impossibility of predicting the duration of displacement, food aid needs are calculated as a monthly requirement and, hence, the extent and duration of the conflict will determine the number of months of assistance.
|General Ration for 168,000||
|Supplementary Rations for 42,000||
The Regional authorities informed the mission that should the conflict
escalate, the number of DP may reach 300,000 in Tigray Region. While any
estimate would clearly depend on the areas affected by conflict, for planning
purposes, the mission concludes that this estimate is a reasonable one.
Should this number of people become displaced, the monthly food requirements
|General Ration for 300,000||
|Supplementary Rations for 75,000||
Conclusions and recommendations:
Northern Tigray is an area with meagre water resources and is also impacted by drought. The availability of adequate quantities of potable water in these zones is a continual concern in normal times and a critical issue in emergency situations. In reviewing humanitarian needs, the issue of water was considered and discussed with relevant authorities in all locations.
The water and sanitation needs in contested areas and areas of acute conflict are not known. In areas to where displaced persons fled, acute water supply problems were reported at the beginning of the displacement. However, local authorities and partners quickly mobilised interventions, including increasing water output from boreholes, establishing temporary storage tanks and the tankering of water where necessary (e.g. 2 tankers were put into service in the Shire area). The mission identified no acute water shortages at the present time although water stress and the need for sustained and enhanced emergency water supply was confirmed to be a need in various places. Jerry cans for water storage at the family level have reportedly been provided, one per family, to the most acutely needy across the region. However, many locations reported an acute shortage of jerry cans for additional emergency needs or stocks of other emergency water equipment that may be required should there be further sudden displacement.
As examples, in Adigrat, where the population is estimated to have increased by 10,000 to 20,000 persons in the last month, the 6 boreholes that functioned previously for 12 hrs per day are now attempting to meet water needs with 5 functional boreholes pumping 20 hrs per day. As distribution levels are set at 40 liters/family/day, less water is available with additional persons joining the family. Those who do not have access to borehole water depend on the 262 unprotected wells throughout the city. Treatment chemicals are considered sufficient but there is a reported need for additional boreholes and the protection of wells. While a survey of water needs in rural areas has not yet been carried out by local authorities, the displaced population is reportedly putting increased pressure on water sources with, for example, as many as 1000 people depending on a single handpump in some locations.
With regard to sanitation, most of the population in the affected area, urban and rural, continue to use the open field method of excrete disposal. More public latrines are reported as a need.
Conclusions and recommendations:
From consultations with government officials and from personal observations, it is clear that many of the DP have few possessions and now face considerable hardship.. The need for blankets and cooking and feeding utensils were highlighted, especially since continued reliance on the host community for these items will cause burden on their already scarce resources. In addition, the provision of plastic sheeting would allow the DP to erect temporary shelters in the compounds of host families’ homes thus easing the congestion.
Conclusions and recommendations:
In most emergencies children and their mothers are the principal victims and often special protection, care and support is required. People are sometimes trapped in conflict situations or in situations where essential services are not functional. Throughout the affected area, the assessment team attempted to identify special needs. Following is a summary of these preliminary explorations:
Separated children. Repeatedly stories were told by displaced mothers, particularly those who fled suddenly and in terror, of family separations. For example, one mother told of children observed to be alone and without adult care along an evacuation route. An elderly woman displayed an infant of her daughter-in-law who had died of illness enroute. In the hospital a wounded mother nursing her wounded infant, both victims of bombing, in tears told of her sudden flight from her home and her separation from her three other children whose whereabouts she did not know. The number of children separated from their families and without adult care or without knowledge of a family member is probably not large due to the more ordered evacuation of most displaced families, strong family traditions and social organisation and good registration. Still, both the examples cited and the existence of separated children in previous emergencies in Ethiopia confirm that family separations can and do occur. The existence of children separated from their families and the need for family tracing and reunification needs closer investigation.
Psychosocial distress and trauma. In this situation, as in all conflict and displacement situations, individuals across the conflict area described cases of children and adults in exceptional psychological and social distress as a result of traumatic incidents--a bombing victim who would not speak and only wept, a direct victim of conflict described as psychologically affected, children exhibiting fearful behaviour. Local officials and health professionals spoken with by mission members indicated no knowledge of any specialised services or individuals with specialised training in aiding such persons. In the absence of these specialised services, social institutions (such as schools, churches, and extended family) can play a role in this regard but would benefit from technical support.
Street children and begging children. Authorities in Adigrat reported an increase in the number of young children begging. This was not reported in any other location but the longer the conflict and the displacement continues and families become increasing destitute or begin to disintegrate the more likely it is that the number of children on or from the street will increase.
Trapped populations. In the course of interviews with displaced families, stories were told of family members, the elderly and sick who could not evacuate contested and conflict areas. For example, in Badme people in such conditions were reported. Both in light of their being directly within a conflict area and on reports that basic services may be non-functional, the well-being of such persons should be ascertained. Also, contact with family members is essential and a recognised right in such situations.
Conclusions and recommendations:
Ensuring that the education of children is not disrupted is an essential emergency intervention. In a cursory exploration of the impact of the conflict on children’s education and the education system, the following conclusions were reached by the mission:
Schools in immediate areas of conflict reportedly ceased functioning when the conflict began and some were reported damaged or converted for other purposes; statistics of damage are not available yet. In areas in close proximity to the conflict exams were given early, school equipment moved to safety and schools were closed.
In areas not directly affected by the conflict, every effort seems to have been made to ensure that children’s education was not disrupted. Elementary schools not in areas directly affected by conflict are reported to have continued and displaced children have been accommodated in the schools in the host communities to which they moved; the total number of students displaced is not known. School functioning and the incorporation of displaced children was not verified by the team as school had already closed for the season but is believed to be accurate. At the beginning of the conflict secondary students in the conflict areas were reportedly moved to schools in other locations away from the conflict zone to enable them to take their exams, an accomplishment achieved for virtually all eligible students. The mission did witness secondary students being facilitated by the Red Cross to join their displaced families.
Conclusions and recommendations:
Zonal authorities, private traders and organisations such as REST are known for their significant warehouse and logistical capacities. Still, officials repeatedly mentioned the difficulties being faced in finding commercial trucks to transport supplies within the Region. Particular mention was made of the urgent need of support the authorities to move 5,000 metric tons of grain from Humera to the region, which will otherwise be ruined by the rain. They also mentioned that light vehicles, that would allow movement of government staff to provide services to affected areas, are in short supply. In addition, a temporary store is required to store food and supplies until the bombed store in Adigrat is repaired. Additional water tankers may be needed in the event of further displacement.
The mission also ascertained that, should the conflict spiral, there are two airports in Tigray that could be used should airlifting of relief items become a necessity. These airports are located in Mekele (capable of accommodating all types of aircraft) and Axum (capable of accommodating a Hercules aircraft).
Conclusions and recommendations:
Although the mission witnessed the destruction to the school in Mekele and the warehouse in Adigrat, for obvious reasons it was not able to visit conflict areas. However, the mission was informed that there has been heavy destruction in some disputed areas. Reportedly, social infrastructure, such as schools, health clinics and administrative buildings have been completely destroyed and private property has been looted, including windows, doors and roofs of houses, personal belongings and machinery such as grain mills belonging to women associations.
Conclusion and recommendation:
In the areas visited, the mission was informed that all of the emergency assistance rendered to the DP since the onset of the emergency had been provided by DPPC and NGOs such as REST, TDA and the Ethiopian Red Cross. The mission noted that essential food items had been re-deployed from allocations earmarked for other programmes. While food had been provided by DPPC and REST, some additional inputs, such as blankets, jerry cans, soap, clothing, cups and saucers and medical supplies, had been provided by NGOs and ICRC. Although the mission had requested the Regional authorities for a detailed list of what assistance has been provided to date, as of the time of the report writing this list had not been received. Nevertheless, what has been provided is clearly inadequate. For example, of the 90,000 DP in the Eastern Zone, only 33,000 DP have received a one month ration of wheat and vegetable oil; of the 18,000 DP in the Central Zone, only 15,000 had received a month’s ration; and of the 60,000 DP in the Western Zone, only 25,000 had been given food assistance.
Conclusions and recommendations:
Three possible scenarios exist: 1) That differences between parties are quickly resolved without conflict, peaceful relations re-established and displaced persons quickly return to their homes; 2) that the status quo at the time of the mission continues with tension along disputed areas of the border but without major conflict or further displacement; or 3) that the situation deteriorates into acute conflict with the result of further displacement of the population, along with all other destructive consequences of conflict.
As reflected in statements by the Secretary General and the UN Security Council, the UN family holds that this dispute, as with all such disputes, should be settled through peaceful means. At the time of the mission, however, the breakdown of negotiations and continued mobilisation and preparations for conflict point to the possibility of a resumption of hostilities. Consequently, in considering humanitarian needs, the UN mission concluded that cognisance must be taken both of immediate needs and of possible humanitarian needs should the situation deteriorate further.
The Appeal launched by the government serves as the basic reference in considering the most essential food and supplies needed to meet humanitarian needs. The government has requested assistance on a planning figure of 300,000 displaced. After discussions with Zonal and local authorities, a visit to peripheral areas to the conflict, a rapid review of the registration system and talks with displaced persons in several locations, the mission concluded the following:
Conclusions and recommendations:
AFAR REGION - SOME BASIC INFORMATION
The Region of Afar, with Assaita as its capital, lies in the north-eastern part of Ethiopia. It has a total population of 1,106,383 (1994 Census - the enumeration was done in July 1996) in its five zones. The Region shares international borders with Eritrea and Djibouti, as well as regional boundaries with Tigray, Amhara, Oromiya and Somali Regions. Of particular importance, in the current context, are Zones 1 and 2 (comprising about half the population of the Region) bordering Eritrea. The population in the Region of Afar is predominantly rural (92%) and Muslim (96%), and of Afar ethnic group (92%). The majority of the population is semi-nomadic pastoralist herding cattle, sheep, goats and camels in widely scattered areas.
The Afar people inhabit one of the most arid and environmentally hostile territories in the Horn of Africa with temperatures exceeding 48 degrees Celsius. The Awash and Millie rivers and the forested highlands of northern Djibouti offer respite from an otherwise rocky and arid terrain. In times of drought, the fertile pastures along the Awash River provide some security as an alternate source of water and grazing. The Region is reported to have erratic rainfalls once or twice a year, and because of this it is considered a food deficit and drought-prone region. The DPPC Relief Plan of Operation for 1998 puts the number of needy population at 50,000, and these used to benefit from the DPPC’s continued food assistance every three months.
The economy of the people in the towns along the Addis-Assab route is dependent on minor trade and on income obtained from services given to passengers to and from Assab port. Rural communities also benefited from these resources indirectly. Equally important is the fact that, before the conflict, water was being carried to these towns by trucks coming either from Assab or from the towns near the Awash River. With the outbreak of the conflict between Ethiopian and Eritrea, these benefits were discontinued, and the trade activities scaled down to a minimum - thus increasing the requirement for food and water.
The mission had a total of four days in the field (19 - 23 June 1998) with two days of fact finding and another two days of round trip from Addis Ababa to Assaita. The mission had a meeting with the Regional Relief Co-ordinating Committee in Assaita, the Secretary of Zone 1 in Loggia, the Hospital Director in Dupti, the Deputy Chairman of Bure Kebele in Manda and the Medical Co-ordinator of Medecin du Monde in Millie. The mission appreciated the efforts of the federal and local governments to facilitate their work and to give priority to the humanitarian assistance.
The inter-agency mission was composed of the following participants:
Ato Bantirgu Hailemariam UNICEF (team leader)
Ato Abate Gudunffa UNFPA
Dr. John Tabayi UNHCR
Mr. John Otto WFP
Ato Mulugeta Gebru WHO
Dr. Kiflemariam H/Mariam, from the DPPC was a member of the team as part of the government’s effort to assist the mission.
The mission visited the towns of Millie, Loggia, Dupti, Assaita, Dichoto,
Elidar, Manda and a site 10 km between Manda and Bure (which is 800 km
away from Addis Ababa and where the conflict between the Ethiopia and Eritrea
erupted along this section of the border). All these towns are along the
Addis Ababa - Assab route, except Assaita and Dupti. There was a strong
military presence in the town of Manda and in the vicinity.
NUMBER AND LOCATION OF DISPLACED PEOPLE
The mission was informed of two groups of displaced people, as a result of the Ethio-Eritrean conflict: one group of 1,013 non-Afars and another group of 15,000 Afars. Among the two groups, it is estimated that 3,600 would be children less than five year old.
The non-Afar group was displaced from Assab and Bure towns between 10-12 June 1998 and is sheltered in school premises in Elidar and Loggia. Emergency assistance was being provided to them in the form of wheat flour, oil and, in some instances, biscuits by the regional government (DPPB) and NGOs (MDM & MSF/F).
The Afar group, who used to live around Bure or in other areas in Zone 1, bordering Eritrea, constitutes the major displaced group. The regional authorities estimate this group to be about 15,000, but its exact whereabouts is still unclear: the mission has not seen the group to verify the size nor its status, except for about 1,000 Afars settling in a valley about 10 km towards Bure from Manda. This group of about 1,000 Afars have started putting up their huts and some were still sheltered under trees and bushes. The mission was informed by the local leaders and regional authorities that the Afar groups had lost some livestock during the fighting at Bure. No support has been given yet to this group. (Additional information was received by the mission, after the field visit to the effect that the 14,000 Afar was in fact not too far from the Addis-Assab road, and might not be so difficult to reach. This information was not, however, confirmed during the field visit.)
It should be noted that towns along the Addis-Assab road depend on incomes from services given by passengers along the road. There is a need for close monitoring of the economic impact of the conflict on the population in this area, and preparedness measures need to be taken. In fact, this population is considered as affected (the de facto closure of the road affects the economy of these communities plus they are hosting the displaced populations), and the mission is proposing that some assistance be given to it.
|Displaced from||Places of shelter||
|Male||Female||Sub-total||Children <10 years|
|Population in Loggia & Elidar affected through the loss of economic opportunities||4,000|
If the conflict was to escalate, one of the possible scenario could
be that up to 50% of the population living in zones 1 and 2, near the Eritrean
border, be displaced. This would mean an additional 137,000 displaced people.
There is a hospital at Dupti which serves as a referral centre. It has a potential for 120 beds but is currently running at a 35-bed capacity. It has a surgeon assigned by MSF/F, 5 medical doctors, 16 nurses, 8 health assistants, 3 lab technicians, 3 sanitarians, and 1 health officer. It is being upgraded to serve as a Regional Hospital. It has no ambulance.
There are three health stations within the area where the displaced population are sheltered. Each is staffed by 2 health assistants, and is being strengthened by Medecin du Monde (MDM). In Loggia, a medial doctor has been assigned by MDM to assist the Regional Health Bureau in Assaita in the management of health services delivery to the displaced populations.
Drugs and medical supplies are being provided by the regional administration and by MDM. Some of these supplies are taken from the regular health budget and will need to be replenished.
The mission was informed that in 1997, the top four major causes of mortality in the hospital were malaria, TB, pneumonia and complications associated with delivery. Malnutrition, though a chronic problem for the pastoralist Afars, was not reported as a problem of the displaced. Neither was any epidemic reported so far.
EPI plus is being undertaken for the community as a regular programme. In 1997, coverage for measles vaccination for the region was only about 10%, which raises some concern for both the affected and the displaced community. Crowding in the shelter is a risk factor for outbreak of meningitis.
Overall, the health and nutritional status of the displaced people can be rated as satisfactory. There was no report of overt malnutrition nor injuries among the displaced. However, one middle aged woman died on 21 June in the shelter of Loggia.
In the sites visited, there were no unaccompanied children. However, some parents complained that they left some of their children in Assab. In fact, the proportion of children as compared to the adult population fluctuates significantly among the different groups (see table above), which might indicate that for some groups this problem was more acute than for others. There was no focal agency or person assigned to look into the special needs of children and women.
Conclusions and recommendations:
The non-Afar displaced population have lost all their belongings during the conflict and have no means of livelihood. Hence their subsistence will be largely dependent on relief assistance.
The displaced Afars, who are dependent either directly or indirectly on their herds, are reported to have lost part of their livestock at the height of the conflict. The economy that they used to rely upon from the passengers going to and from Assab is substantially reduced. This means that they can not sell their livestock nor purchase other food items. The truck services in bringing water from Assab are now discontinued. All these elements impact on the food and water needs for the 15,000 displaced Afars. However, the needs of this group should be looked at more carefully, so that appropriate types and level of assistance can be determined.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, the 4,000 population of Elidar and Loggia were found to be economically affected by the closure of the road, but also by the arrival of the displaced populations, and the mission supports the claim of the RRCC to include this group under the contingency plan.
The mission concludes that out of the total affected population, estimated at 20,000 people (including about 3,600 under-five children) may require supplementary food. The mission recommends that food be provided immediately to the 2,013 displaced people (1,000 Afars 10 Km from Manda, 1,013 sheltered in Loggia and Elidar), and that a contingency plan be prepared for the 14,000 Afar and for the affected populations along the road.
The population under the contingency plan would be estimated at 18,000 people, of which 3,240 are under-five children.
The mission was able to ascertain the food available to date:
|Source||Type of food||Quantity|
|Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission||Grain||125 MTs|
|Afar Regional State||Grain
|Medecin du Monde||Wheat
|Ethiopian Red Cross||Dry
tins (400 gm each)
General ration for 2,013 Wheat 30.2 MT
Vegetable oil 1.2 MT
Pulses 2.4 MT
Supplementary food for vulnerable people: 87 children and half of this number estimated as pregnant/lactating mothers Famix 0.59 MT
Contingency requirements: for the 18,000 people would be as follows:
General ration for 18,000 Wheat 270 MT
Vegetable oil 11 MT
Pulses 22 MT
Supplementary ration for 4,860
vulnerable people: 3,240 children and half of this number estimated as pregnant/lactating mothers Famix 22 MT
Furthermore, an additional 137,000 people could be affected, if the conflict was to escalate (estimated as a quarter of the population of zones 1 and 2 bordering Eritrea).
The main problem is the availability of water. The Afar group left their water sources (birka) behind. Their available water sources, expected to dry out soon, are now being shared by the newly arriving military forces and by the displaced non-Afars. The water problem is further aggravated by the closure of the Assab route from where water was brought by trucks and sold to the community. The trucks also used to bring water from Loggia to sell it the people around Elidar, Manda and Bure. The stoppage of this arrangement has placed a greater stress on water sources in these areas. During the mission, water was being provided both to the affected community along the road and to the non-Afar displaced populations, by transporting it from a distance of 131 to 203 km from Loggia. Once the displaced group of 1,013 people is sheltered at Loggia, water will be required for the affected communities at Elidar, Manda and Bure to avoid further displacement due to lack of water. The need for water for the 14,000 displaced Afars and their herds will also have to be taken into account.
As of now, 3 trucks with a water tanker capacity of 5,000 litre have been assigned by the Regional Council and 2 trucks of 5,000 litre tanker capacity have been made available by MDM. This does not meet the overall needs of the population.
Conclusions and recommendations
At the shelter sites of Elidar, Loggia and Millie, the mission has observed the need for mattresses, blankets, cooking utensils, cups, plates, jerry cans and soap.
Conclusions and recommendations
The displaced non-Afar people are temporarily sheltered in schools at Loggia and Elidar. The 1,000 displaced Afars seen east of Manda do not have any form of shelter other than their tents. The situation of the 14,000 Afars is unclear.
Conclusions and recommendations
As the schools were closed, the need for educational support was not flagged by the local authorities. As mentioned above, the schools in Loggia and Elidar are now used as shelters, and another solution will have to be found when schools re-open in September.
At Loggia, the stores of the school can hold 10MT and the store of the Zonal Agricultural Office can accommodate up to 30MT. The new stores at Semera (the future Regional Capital) and the old ones at Assaita can accommodate up to 300 MTs and 200 MTs respectively. There are no storage facilities at Elidar and Manda.
Conclusions and recommendations
According to the report of the Deputy Chairman of Bure Kebele, one fuel depot and seven houses were damaged during the conflict. No other service infrastructures in Bure nor in other nearby towns were affected by the conflict.
The DPPC trucks are assisting in food delivery while the regional administration has assigned 3 trucks with water tankers. MDM has rented buses to transport the displaced from Elidar to Loggia and from Loggia to other destinations where families reside. The air strip of Dupti is functional and a new airport (non-tarmac) in Semera is near completion.
Conclusions and recommendations
The Ethiopian Red Cross has provided an ambulance to pick-up the displaced
population. MSF/F has provided a water bladder for the temporary shelter
in Loggia. Besides the strengthening of the health stations with solar
cold chain system, MDM has provided the local DPPB with food and trucks
(indicated above), 1,000 pieces of soaps, 300 blankets, 400 jerry cans,
and has rented a bus to transport displaced people from Elidar to Loggia
where there is better water availability. It has also assisted in sending
43 displaced people to their place of origin in Dessie, Woldya and up to
Mekelle. It has quantities of drugs at its disposal which will be enough
for 1,000 people for 3 months, and which will be used by the three health
stations mentioned earlier and by two additional clinics in this area.
GENERAL ISSUES FOR TIGRAY AND AFAR
In terms of available resources, several national and international NGOs have expressed willingness to continue to contribute resources in support of the displaced populations. However, the magnitude of these possible contributions is not known. In addition, a national campaign to mobilise resources has gained momentum and, to date, an estimated 76 million Ethiopian Birr (USD 10.9 million) has been pledged by various associations, government employees and private citizens (locally and those residing abroad).
Conclusions and recommendations:
At the onset of this conflict, the Regional authorities established Disaster Committees at Regional, Zonal and Woreda levels. These committees comprise administration, DPPC and the line departments of Water, Mines and Energy, Health, Social Affairs, Trade, Industry and Transport, and NGOs (and in the case of Tigray, representatives of women, youth and farmer associations are also members). The functions of the committees at all levels include resource mobilisation and channelling, assessing and targeting displaced people in need of support, co-ordination of relief activities including distribution, facilitating the provision of transport and supervising warehouses and relief stocks. It is not clear how these Committees liase with the military especially since there are reportedly civilians trapped between and behind military lines.
The missions met with these committees at various levels and their opinion is that they are well established and functioning efficiently and that the establishment of these committees was a commendable effort.
As mentioned above, substantial funds are being mobilised at the national level and the Government has established a National Committee (comprising DPPC, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, and the Christian Relief and Development Association) to receive these private contributions and oversee their disbursement.
In addition, the mission was informed that the DPPC has established a focal point in its office to clarify to all concerned (1) total contributions received to date, the source, the purpose and the area targeted, and (2) the un-resourced gaps of the appeal.
Conclusions and recommendations:
The mission was informed that the distribution of relief items is being carried out by DPPC and local and international NGOs. In Tigray, this is the same system that the Region follows in implementing relief activities due to crop failures, a system that has been in place and functioning for many years.
Conclusions and recommendations:
1. Population estimates of the region by zone (1994 census, with enumeration in July 1996)
|Assaita||Ato Ismael Ali, President
of the region
Ato Awol Ugris, Head, Social Sector of the Regional Council and Chairperson of the Humanitarian Relief Coordinating Committee.
Most Bureau Heads represented within the Coordinating Committee
|Loggia||Ato Abdu Ahmed, Zonal Secretary|
|Manda||Ato Isi Mohammed, Deputy Chairperson of Bure Kebele|
|Millie||Dr. Sirak Hagos, Medical
Dr. Fana, Medical Co-ordinator, Millie clinic.
|Dupti||Dr. Surafel Wondimagegnehu, Hospital Director.|
|Ato Fissahaye Alemayehu||BULSA|
|Ato Araya Zerihun||TDA|
|Ato Alem Biset||BDPP|
|Dr. Solomon Ingira||Head of Social Affairs in the President Office|
|Ato Telewoini Assefa||REST|
|Ato Daniel Assefa||REST|
|Ato Berhane G. Egzi||REST|
|Ato Tesfai Hagos||Agriculture Bureau|
|Ato Mesfin Minass||Bureau of Health|
|Ato Kiros Nebio||Ethiopian Red Cross|
|Ato Tamrat Belai||Women’s Association of Tigray (WAT)|
|Dr. Ataklti Berhe||Central Zone Health Department|
|Ato Hadush Gebru||Central Zone Education Dept.|
|Ato Hadera T/Medhin||DDPP|
|Ato Tadele Assefa||Central Zone Administration|
|Ato Aregawi Abay||Central Zone of Agriculture|
|Ato Kiros Bitew||Zonal Chairman|
|Ato Tilahun Tareke||Zonal Administration|
|Ato Haileselassie G/Kidan||Red Cross|
|Ato Zeru G/Mariam||REST|
|Ato Hagos W/Kidan||DPPD|
|Ato Berhane Alemu||R.C. Branch|
|Ato G/Eyesus G/Michael||Labour & Social Affairs|
|Dr. Michael Tekie||Zonal Health Dept.|
|Ato Meweha G/Medhin||DPPC|
|Ato Yemane G.Egziabher||Zonal, Water Mines and Energy|
|Ato Nuguse Tafere||REST|
|Ato Haile Selassie Girmay||Zonal Administration|