Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia


Prepared by the Information Sectionof the UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia from information provided by UN agencies and NGOS
Table of Contents 


New Constitution

Following publication of a `concept paper' by the Constitution Drafting Committee of the Transitional Government, a series of public debates on the formulation of a draft constitution took place in kebelles (neighbourhoods) throughout Addis Ababa during the week 2-9 January. Subsequently, the debate has been taken up in numerous other towns and regional centres around the country. Issues being discussed include the form of governance to be adopted - parliamentary, presidential or monarchical; the rights of nations and nationalities to self-determination and secession; social, religious, economic, political and human rights of individuals; and the future status of women in Ethiopian society. Conclusions from the public debate will be incorporated into a second concept paper and later into a first working draft of the new constitution.

On 28 January, nine major political organisations active in Region 5 (Somali) held a press conference in Addis Ababa where they issued a joint statement demanding that the right to self-determination, "...up to secession", should be enshrined in the new constitution. When questioned, representatives denied that unification with Somalia was planned, explaining that any move to break with Ethiopia would be subject to the wishes of the people in the region. The statement also called for Region 5 to be given special status following years of neglect by successive governments. The parties complain that the Transitional Government has not done enough to repair and develop the infra-structure of the area.

National Census

It now seems likely that the Transitional Government will announce a postponement of the national census, previously scheduled for May, to avoid any possibility of clashing with the elections for a Constituent Assembly due to take place on 5 June. It is expected the census will now take place after the main rainy season, towards the end of the year.


1994 Fertilizer situation

Carry-over stocks from the 1993 cropping season amounted to about 200,000 MT, including 16,200 MT procured by the Dutch Government against 1994 requirements. The estimated fertilizer requirement for 1994 is 162,000 MT, of which 140,000 MT is for the peasant sector and 22,000 MT for state and commercial farms.

On 17 January, the Transitional Government announced the farm gate fertilizer prices for the 1994 cropping season. The price for DAP has been set at 143.35 Birr (approx. 24 USD) per quintal while Urea will be 131.15 (approx. 22 USD) Birr per quintal, both slightly down on 1993 prices.

Adequate in-country stocks of fertilizer, the increased number of private retailers and an early announcement of prices are together expected to favour the increased use of fertilizer by farmers during the 1994 season.

Locust situation

No locusts were reported during January, but eastern areas, including the Ogaden, remain green and are therefore suitable for renewed breeding and the possibility of some movement of locusts to South and South-East Ethiopia during February.

A major concern at present is the situation in North West Somalia where a number of hopper bands have been reported from the coastal region. For security reasons, DLCO have not been able to position ground control teams in the area and fears are increasing that migrations into Ethiopia and other parts of East Africa could occur later in the year.

Agricultural rehabilitation

The FAO appeal for 1994 for assistance to farmers in Northern Ethiopia affected by drought and wide-spread pests and diseases covers seeds, pesticides and application equipment, veterinary drugs and farm tools, amounting to 9.6 million USD. In addition, FAO has asked donors to fund four projects in the RRC appeal for 1994 dealing with the agricultural rehabilitation of displaced farmers in Region 3 (Oromia) and Southern Ethiopia (two projects), transfer of the South Gode state farm to local farmers and the rehabilitation of the Kelafo irrigation scheme (both Region 5 - Somali). These projects require a further donor investment of 47 million USD.

UNICEF has made available to Region 4 (Oromia) 1 million Birr as cash support to the Agriculture Bureau of Borena zone. The funds are to be used for the restocking of livestock and rehabilitation of returnees from the former refugee camps in Walda and Banissa in Kenya.


Food needs for 1994

Fears that widespread hunger in Region 5 (Somali) was re-emerging have proved to be largely unfounded, although careful monitoring of the situation will be necessary following relatively poor rains in the region during October/November. Limited distributions continue in this area to maintain a displaced population of returnees/drought victims in camps around Gode and Dolo. A programme to disperse and resettlement the camp populations is under formulation by the RRC and will include a final food grant to families willing to return to their home villages.

The situation in North East Ethiopia, where there were early signs of distress migration by drought affected farmers, now seems to be under control following the resumption of limited food distributions by both the RRC and voluntary agencies working in the area. Parts of North Wello, North East Gondar and parts of Tigray all suffered serious harvest failures in 1993 following interrupted main rains. The onset of the Belg rains, critical in parts of South Western Wello and Northern Shewa, are now due.

Pledges and food shipments

On 21 January, WFP launched an appeal for a total of 150,000 MT of cereals, 6,000 MT of vegetable oil and 6,000 MT of blended supplementary food. This represents the WFP response to the RRC appeal for 1994 which amounted to 577,586 MT of relief food for some 4.4 million beneficaries. WFP views a positive response to their appeal for bilateral assistance as vital to guarantee an adequate supply to relief operations in deficit areas of the country. So far, 54,730 MT has been committed by WFP from its own resources.

Overall, the 1994 RRC appeal for food assistance has met with a very encouraging response from donors. Against total needs estimated by the WFP/FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission of 955,000 MT (including 140,000 MT for the Food Security Reserve and an 367,000 MT structural food requirement), notional pledges have been received amounting to 757,352 MT. This includes a possible 200,000 MT commitment from USAID provided the Transitional Government can meet certain conditionalities.

Early confirmation of shipments against pledges is now vital if the already thin pipeline to Ethiopia is to be maintained. As of 1 February, only 110,859 MT had been confirmed with 46,778 MT actually delivered. Port stocks are presently very low and voluntary organisations are approaching the Food Security Reserve to secure loans. At the present rate of utilization, the possibility of loans between agencies and from the EFSR will be exhausted by the end of April.


At a meeting of the Coordinating Committee held on 21 January, agreement was finally reached on the future of WTOE. All operations, both in Ethiopia and Eritrea, stopped as of 31 January as a first step in the dismantling and eventual auctioning of the trucks, spare parts and other assets held by the organisation. Since its inception in November 1985, WTOE trucks have transported more than 2.5 million tons of relief food in Ethiopia.

The phasing-out process, which not expected to take more than a few months, will be managed jointly by WTOE and the RRC. Most staff will be laid off at the end of February, leaving a handful of specialists to finalize the financial side of closing the operation and selling the assets. Funds raised from the auction together with liquid assets held by WFP will be apportioned between Ethiopia and Eritrea according to an agreed formula. Funds in Ethiopia will go to the RRC for support of future relief activities. It is expected that NGOs will follow this example and begin selling trucks of more than 10 MT capacity.

Discussions on establishing a new strategic transport fleet for Ethiopia continue. Though it seems likely that the RRC will take over elements of the present GTZ-managed Transport Operation for Refugees (TOR) and operate this as a strategic fleet, the modalities have yet to be agreed. The RRC have made it clear, however, that such a fleet would have to compete freely with the private sector and would not enjoy any special subsidy.



The zonal health authorities in Dire Dawa report the outbreak of acute diarrhoeal disease in the town has now been controlled with no further cases reported in January. However, a mission led by the WHO Representative found an increase in cases in Harar - apparently associated with the recent breakdown of the town water supply system. Discussions were held with the local health authorities to help identify and step-up appropriate control measures in the area.

Given the threat of acute diarrhoeal disease spreading throughout Eastern and South Eastern Ethiopia, WHO will continue to give priority to supporting surveillance and control activities of the regional and zonal health authorities, particularly those in Dire Dawa, East Haraghe and Region 5 (Somali) as a whole.

Rehabilitation of health facilities

Tenders for the repair of 33 health facilities by contractors and 6 with direct labour have now been finalized by WHO. To enable work to commence, approximately 1.5 million Birr has been transferred to the MoH account for disbursement by the Regions 1 and 3. Additional funds will be released once the Regional Health Bureaux report satisfactory progress on phase one of the repairs.

Support for health services

During a visit to Region 5 (Somali) by the UNICEF Emergencies Officer the need to initiate a number of health activities was discussed with the regional authorities. Plans under consideration by UNICEF include the provision of improved water supplies for returnees in Gode, completion and equipping of one MCH centre, five clinics and one health centre, and the commencement of intensive training and planning in support of EPI and nutrition programmes in the region. A technical team comprising personnel from the Emergency, Health, Nutrition and Water/Sanitation sections of UNICEF will travel to Region 5 in February to assist in the development of a detailed action plan.

Cold chain apparatus worth 76,000 USD has been purchased by UNICEF from Norway. The equipment will be sent to Gambella and the Ogaden where up to 15 technicians will be trained in its installation and use.

UNICEF continues to provide essential drugs to disaster prone areas of the country. During January, some 20,000 tablets of chloroquine, 300 bottles of chloroquine syrup, 85,000 tablets of Fancidar and 85 boxes of injectable quinine were delivered to 11 malaria-affected woredas of the Southern People's Federation. In addition, various drugs were despatched to the St. Antonio Clinic in Harar which provides essential services for hundreds of poor children, pregnant mothers and orphans.

1994 UNICEF appeal

After conducting an in-depth analysis of the non-food portion of the RRC appeal launched on 13 December, UNICEF are now putting together the details of their emergency relief and rehabilitation programme for 1994. A formal appeal document will be circulated among donors shortly.


The UNICEF-supported water project in Region 1 (Tigray) is still underway with 5 more boreholes drilled and 2 defunct wells rehabilitated during the month. The latter were taken on in addition to work agreed previously.

Similar water development projects in Regions 3 (Amhara) and 4 (Oromia) are now underway following the signing of an agreement with the regional authorities in November and the mobilization of equipment and supplies.



Relief operations in the East were marred by unrest and stone throwing in the three Aware camps as refugees demanded immediate food distributions. Food deliveries to the camps had been delayed while WFP attempted to reconcile a new policy of using commercial transporters with regional interests.

Threats and harassment of highlanders working in the mainly Somali Region 5 continue to affect refugee operations. Several meetings were held between aid agencies and the local administration in an effort to resolve the issue. Public demonstrations continue in Jijiga were the Zonal Chairman has been accused of appointing friends and relatives to the administration.

Both UNHCR and ARA have complained to the Sudanese authorities in Gambella, following a number of un-announced visits to the refugee camps by local consular officials. There has also been a report of the `self-repatriation' of 45 refugees on a truck hired by Sudanese authorities.

The UNHCR Regional Liaison Office moved to a new premises on 1 January, finally consolidating all Addis-based staff into one compound.

Sudanese refugees
The influx of Sudanese refugees into Western Ethiopia has continued at a low level. The limited numbers now crossing is possibly due to a shift of the government offensive to the Bahr el Ghazal and Equatoria regions of Southern Sudan. As of 25 January, the assisted refugee population in the west stood at 44,099 with the following breakdown: Bonga - 13,714; Fugnido - 19,988 and Dimma - 10,397. This is a slight decrease compared to December due to the departure of some 500 refugees from Dimma for reasons which are not wholly clear.

Kenyan refugees
UNHCR and the Transitional Government are investigating the possibility of repatriating some 5,500 Kenyan Adjuran and 500 Kenyan Degodian refugees if safe areas can be identified in North-Eastern Kenya. The refugees have been assisted on a cross-mandate basis for nearly a year in several locations near Moyale.

Afar refugees
WFP, UNHCR, UNICEF and several NGOs continue to contribute food, water and medical assistance to Region 2 (Afar) where Djiboutian Afar refugees are scattered among related clans. While the fluctuating population has never been verified, WFP has allocated food for 10,000 people to ensure that the needy in remote areas are reached.


The Banissa operation which began on 16 December is about to end with 15,877 refugees having repatriated as of 31 January, mainly to Chilanko near Moyale. Following repatriation of the remaining 2,000 refugees, the camp at Banissa will be closed.

The second phase of the repatriation of Ethiopian refugees from Sudan is expected to commence during February. UNHCR has established an operational base in Humera, North-Western Ethiopia, where many of the refugees are planning to return or transit. During the first phase of the operation in June 1993, almost 13,000 Ethiopians repatriated from Sudan.

The RRC and UNHCR are planning a mission to Gursum and Babile woredas in Eastern Ethiopia to assess the rehabilitation inputs required before the Transitional Government will permit the repatriation of Ethiopian refugees in Djibouti. Around 10,000 have already been screened in Djibouti and are ready to return home. They may be followed by a further 5,000.

Agreement has been reached on the planned visit to the Eastern camps by a group of officials from North West Somalia, now scheduled for the first week of February. Meetings to discuss repatriation plans will be held with the Ethiopian authorities as well as refugees. Meanwhile, UNHCR is working with the ARA to iron-out various points governing the planned repatriation, focusing on the principle of consolidating the remaining caseload and criteria for continued assistance to those unable to return home in the near future.


The UN Disaster Management Team (DMT), comprising the heads of agency and emergency officers from UNDP, WFP, UNICEF, UNHCR, WHO and the World Bank, continues to meet weekly under the chairmanship of the Resident Coordinator to discuss developments in the country and to formulate joint policy on UN relief and rehabilitation activities. The DMT is supported in its work by the UN Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (formerly the UN-EPPG) which has a coordination office in Addis Ababa and maintains a number of Field Officers who regularly report on relief needs and operations in the regions.

For its 1994 operations, the Emergencies Unit has received generous contributions in-cash and in-kind from the Norwegian Government, Swiss Government, UNHCR and UNDP. The unit still faces a cash deficit, however, of approximately 100,000 USD for which further commitments are sought.


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. Information in this report has been obtained from specialised UN agencies and NGO reports. Reference is made to other sources of information as necessary.

February 3, 1994

UN-EUE  Tel.: (251) (1) 51-10-28/29 
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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  Email: undp-eue@telecom.net.et