Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia

 JUNE 1994   
Prepared by the Information Sectionof the UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia from information provided by UN agencies and NGOS

Table of Contents 



Emergency needs and operations

Nutritional surveys in different parts of the country continue to indicate critical situations particularly in Tigray, Gonder, Welo and Wolayita. Poor nutritional status is most evident in those areas in the north where the long rains have not yet started, where insufficient rainfall during the Belg season led to reduction in the area planted, in the lowland and in over populated areas. The long Krempt rains have started in western parts of Ethiopia and look favourable whereas in the eastern and north-eastern parts conditions are extremely dry due to the early end of the Belg rains.(1)

Outbreaks of armyworm, reported to be the worst Ethiopia has ever experienced, have caused damage to crops throughout the country. Existing weather conditions provide a good environment for the spread of infestation, and although control operation by the Ministry of Agriculture started in April, there are indications that the problem is spreading in the north and north-west.

Government efforts over the last two months to preposition food before the onset of the long rains and to ensure availability of seeds and fertilizers have been largely successful due to the mobilising of over 3,000 trucks from all sectors, and the emergency construction of over 900 kilometres of access roads in the more remote areas in the north.

A combination of confirmed pledges, a strong pipeline, a positive donor response with accelerated shipments, government borrowing and the availability of the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR) have overcome the serious shortfall in supplies predicted for mid-year. Consequently, the critical issue regarding relief operations during the remaining months of the year is not the availability of food aid but the capacity to manage distributions, short haul transport and warehousing. The effective distribution and targeting of available supplies at wereda level is perhaps the most critical issue for the relief operation at the present time.

The RRC is concentrating on the provision of general rations as are the larger traditionally food distributing voluntary agencies. Smaller NGOs are concentrating on targeted supplementary food distribution.

The United Nations Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (UN-EUE) has been seeking to support and strengthen the management capacities of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) in the current emergency. In collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), assistance is being provided in obtaining and analyzing the information required by the RRC to enable it to prioritise food allocations and maximise the use of limited transport and food resources. The interventions being implemented by the UN-EUE are seen as a short-term measure until a more comprehensive programme of institutional support to the RRC is established.

Political developments

Elections for the Constituent Assembly were conducted on 5 June. The procedure was observed by representatives from the diplomatic missions and the United Nations in Ethiopia. Based on these observations, it was concluded that a genuine effort had been made to hold the elections in a free and fair manner although some major opposition parties did not participate. Although logistical arrangements were generally satisfactory, it was noted that civic education programmes were only partially effective, particularly in the rural areas. Major donors and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have pledged a total $1.2 million to support preparations for the general elections which are scheduled to be held in 1995 after the Constituent Assembly adopts the new constitution.


At a meeting on 21 June, UNDP sponsored a group of NGOs in the launching of a National Network of Participatory Development in Ethiopia. Over forty NGOs, both indigenous and international, as well as six government ministries and two donor missions were represented at the meeting. The objective was to create a means of contact, information exchange and support systems for indigenous and national non-governmental organisations working in Ethiopia.

1994 population and housing census

Following the 1984 Population and Housing Census of Ethiopia which was the first census conducted on a national scale, a second national population census has been scheduled for 11 October this year. In October 1992, a proclamation established the Population and Housing Census Commission chaired by the Prime Minister. Subsequently, other census commissions have been organised at regional, zonal, wereda, urban centres and farmers association levels.

Census cartography and other preparatory activities started in November 1991 have now been finalized, and tabulation and publication plans are being completed. A pilot census was conducted with the objective of allowing the testing and adjusting of data collecting, processing and analytic programmes. Primary results of the October census are expected after approximately five months whereas the final results should be released before the end of 1995, within 9-12 months after enumeration.


Belg and Krempt rains

FAO is presently undertaking a field assessment of the condition of Belg and long cycle Meher crops in the southern, south-eastern and north-eastern zones of the country. Preliminary findings from North Welo, South Welo, North Shewa, Arsi, Bale and North Omo show that in all zones except Bale the area planted with both Belg crops and long cycle crops like maize and sorghum has been significantly reduced compared to 1993 because of the late and insufficient Belg rains. With the exception of Bale, the total area planted with short cycle Belg crops has been reduced by 36% and long cycle Meher crops by 75%. Regarding long cycle crops, this percentage may be reduced as late-planting is continuing in some areas such as South Welo, where farmers are hopeful of receiving rain.

Following late and inadequate Belg rains, the long Krempt rains started from the south-west and are moving towards the north-east. Weather conditions indicate a good start with a prospect of extension throughout July. Nevertheless, the rains will have to continue until the end of September to ensure good crop production. Cereal losses as a result of the poor Belg are estimated to be 300,000 tons, although the RRC has not amended the total food import requirement which still stands at slightly over one million tons.

According to FAO, rainfall in the western parts of the country appears to be favourable with the agricultural situation reported as normal by the Ministry of Agriculture.

As at 19 June, a total of 123,646 tons of fertilizer was available at the marketing centres of AISCO, with an additional 9,500 tons in the private market. The total amount of fertilizer for the peasant sector is 113,146 tons, or approximately 76% of the 1994 sales target.

By mid-June, a total of 46,492 tons of fertilizer had been sold to farmers. Due to the reduced planting during the Belg season as well as limited credit availability to farmers, fertilizer sales have been lower in comparison to the same time last year.

Agricultural emergency programmes
The FAO emergency seed distribution programmes in the northern areas of Ethiopia are in the process of being implemented, and so far 80% of the 5,750 tons of seed available have been delivered to the allocated distribution points.

Desert locust and armyworm
The desert locust situation in Eastern Africa remains calm, and there is no immediate danger of desert locust infestation during the 1994 cropping season.

An outbreak of armyworm which started April 1994 in Borena and spread to East Hararghe and Bale zones, has expanded. A total of 843,000 hectares are currently infested in different areas of the country with outbreaks increasing in the north and north-west. In Tigray, the heaviest infestations are in Shire where aerial spraying began in June. Humera and Axum have also been assessed as priority areas requiring aerial control, to commence early July. According to the Ministry of Agriculture this outbreak represents the worst armyworm infestation ever recorded in Ethiopia. The Desert Locust Control Organisation (DLCO) reports that following an increase in moth counts, further outbreaks of armyworm infestation could occur in the East, North and West of the country.

Control operations by the Ministry of Agriculture are continuing both on the ground and using one aircraft from DLCO and one from the Spray Services Unit of Ethiopian Airlines. Although 141,000 kgs/litres of pesticides were available for both ground and aerial spraying at the start of the season, it is envisaged that stocks will not last long considering the high rate of use. A recent shipment of pesticides from the Government of South Korea has also been allocated to the areas in need.

Governmental and UN organisations involved have so far taken effective action in the forecasting, verification and coordination measures and donor response has been positive. The MoA with support from the UN-EUE and through a Swiss Government donation of Swiss Francs 54,433, has started additional control operations at the beginning of July. It is still imperative to provide pesticides, spraying application equipment and personnel training to prevent further infestations.


Region 1 (Tigray)
In Tigray, the failure of the Belg season has been more serious than previous years, with many areas reporting a total failure of the rains. The area planted in the Belg-cropping areas has been much reduced, particularly in the lowlands where the short rainy season is used for the planting of long maturing sorghum and maize crops. This may have serious implications for the Meher harvest. Some farmers have opted to plant shorter maturing crops, which generally have lower yield.

Region 3 (North and South Welo zones)
The condition of crops planted in North Welo and South Welo is reported to be very poor due to moisture stress caused by the late start, inadequate distribution and early withdrawal of the Belg rains. Late planted Belg crops are wilting and have very little chance of recovering. If normal Krempt rainfall commences during the month of July, long cycle crops, which also show signs of damage, will be able to recover. In addition to drought conditions, armyworm infestation has had negative impact on the late planted crops.

Land preparation is under-way and in areas which have not experienced extensive loss of draught animals much land has been prepared with the expectation of good rain. Farmers who have previously migrated with their livestock in search of pastureland are also returning in order to prepare their land for the long cycle planting season.

Region 4 (Arsi and Bale zones)
In Arsi, the Belg season has failed with only a small part of the normal area planted with both short cycle and long cycle crops. Land will be shifted to short cycle Meher crops, but it is estimated that the total annual output will decrease.

Bale has been affected with the late start of the rains, but in most areas the rainfall has been relatively favourable, and the condition of the crops is acceptable. In an effort by farmers to compensate for crop losses during the 1993 Meher season, the area planted with both short cycle Belg crops and long cycle Meher crops has increased by 35%. Nevertheless, the late planting will affect the total annual production as many crops have been planted too late to allow the planting of a second crop during the Meher season.

Region 4 (East and West Hararghe zones)
The Belg rains in Hararghe, which followed a bad 1993 Meher harvest, were both inadequate and late, and farmers have been unable to plant any Belg crops. Following the late start of the rains, land was prepared and planted for the Meher season, which if successful, would improve the food supply situation. Since the completion of planting, however, the region has been affected by a widespread armyworm infestation which reduces prospects for a good harvest.

Southern Ethiopian People's Administration (North Omo zone)
The situation in North Omo is still serious. Although food availability is expected to improve significantly in the west with prospects of a good maize harvest towards mid-July, the expected harvest in Wolayita at the end of July may not be sufficient to ensure satisfactory recovery. In areas where food aid has been late and erratic, and where successive hailstorms have damaged crops, the prospects are not good. Recent armyworm infestations have been controlled and are no longer a threat to maturing crops.

The nutritional status of the population has stabilized where food aid has been supplied regularly. Areas which have only been assisted once and not effectively targeted, however, remain nutritionally unstable.


Pledges and food shipments

At the end of June, given total pledges of 933,634 tons, deliveries of 329,260 tons, confirmed arrivals of 157,819 tons and the government initiative to borrow 150,000 tons from the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR), the Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) and the State Farms, the pipeline now exceeds the capacity to arrange internal transport. From mid-July there will be heavy congestion in Assab, Massawa and Djibouti depending on the share of cargo between the ports; therefore, off-take needs to be increased to maintain up-country availability and reduce port congestion.

Tables of food aid statistics are given at the end of this report.


The efficient movement of stocks to minimize congestion and port losses depends on a number of factors including the nomination of all three ports for discharge in the donors' bills of lading, appropriate configuration of vessels, and, especially for shipments to Massawa, being well equipped with all the necessary machinery.

Throughput in Assab and Massawa will depend on urgently needed maintenance and the availability of spare parts for off-loading and shore handling equipment. An assessment by a WFP logistics mission which recently visited the ports has identified $1,500,000 of spare parts needed for the maintenance of the ports and WFP is now appealing for funds to meet this requirement.

Arrangements for the privatisation of the World Food Programme Transport Operation for Ethiopia (WTOE) are proceeding; meanwhile, 100 WTOE trucks are being operated by the RRC to help increase off-take from Assab.

Off-take from Assab was at 2,000 tons per day in mid-month, dropping to 1,600 tons in the last week of June, and from all three ports averaging at approximately 2,850 tons per day between 28 May and 24 June. With attention now focused on improving the efficiency of internal transport, port off-take from Assab is expected to rise to an average of 3,000 tons per day. With relatively low arrivals anticipated before mid-July, port stocks have started to decrease and should continue to fall up to mid-July from their current level of approximately 110,000 tons.

The Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR)

The EFSR still has a small balance of cereals to loan. There also remains a stock of supplementary food reserved for the smaller voluntary agencies which has not yet been fully utilised. According to WFP, the build-up of the EFSR stocks, to be accomplished through the repayment of outstanding loans and pledges, is scheduled to take place between mid-July and the end of the year. The reserve will be a major asset for Ethiopia in 1995 and subsequent years.

The EFSR warehouse building programme, which aims to provide the reserve with its own facilities, is currently under way and will not be completed by the end of 1994. In the meantime, arrangements have been made for the rent of warehouse space from the EGTE which has excess capacity.


UNFPA emergency assistance

In a recent policy note issued by the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA announced its readiness to cooperate with UN and non-UN agencies in relief operations. This assistance could include refugees, returnees and internally displaced persons. The full extent of UNFPA's interventions will be determined on the basis of individual cases and can be provided during any phase of operations.

UNFPA emergency assistance will focus on the provision of reproductive health and family planning (RH/FP) counselling and health care services for relief operations, funding for supplies and drugs needed for the delivery of health services, technical assistance, training and salary support for health personnel. This assistance will be channelled through organisations with relief programmes, including UN organisations and governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Support to health services

During June, UNICEF Emergency Officers visited the drought-affected areas of the Eastern zone of Region 1 (Tigray), South Gonder zone of Region 3 (Amhara), Borena zone of Region 4 (Oromo) and Wolayita area of the Southern Ethiopian People's Administration. The objectives of these visits were to assess the state of drought in the areas in order to provide assistance, to monitor ongoing UNICEF emergency programmes and to collect information regarding additional priority needs.

WFP and UNICEF, in cooperation with Centro Volontari Marchigiani (CVM) and Concern have started a feeding programme to provide dry and wet feeding on the basis of "take home" and "on-the-spot feeding" in the North Omo weredas of Zenti, Zala, Kucha and Uba Maze. Food supplies and essential drugs were provided to CVM and Concern through the UNICEF/WFP Feeding Programme which is part of an area based contingency plan to counter the current situation in North Omo.

An intensive training programme was also conducted by UNICEF for 78 health workers from five weredas of North Omo on nutritional survey, EPI, ORT and micronutrients.

A UNICEF mission to South Gonder zone of Region 3 (Amhara) has determined that most health facilities have ORT corners. However, ORS stocks seen in the zone were inadequate. Therefore, UNICEF has agreed to provide 50,000 sachets of ORS to the zonal Health Department for distribution among health facilities.

A WHO team composed of nutrition, environmental and public health experts visited drought-affected areas of the Southern Ethiopian People's Administration in general, and Wolayita in particular between 21-25 June. The objectives of the mission were to assess the general effect of drought on the health and nutritional status of the population; to observe environmental health conditions; to observe the management of feeding centres; and, based on their findings, recommend appropriate measures to alleviate major health problems in the affected areas.

The team visited the regional health bureau, Kindo Koisha wereda health office, Boloso Soro wereda health office, Inter-aide France feeding centre in Bele, the Relief and Rehabilitation Bureau in Awassa and a feeding site operated by Concern at Korga. According to WHO, the mission held discussions with health authorities, NGOs and RRB representatives on issues requiring immediate attention, priority interventions needed to control malnutrition and possible means of disease prevention.

Major concern was expressed regarding outbreaks of malaria and the resurgence of Tuberculosis among the affected population both by the health authorities as well as NGOs involved in health programmes. Available information indicated preventive measures, including spraying of houses by the Malaria Control Programme, were under-way in all areas visited by the WHO mission. Also, supplies of malaria prophylaxis have been provided by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF.

Rehabilitation of health facilities

During the past month, WHO received medical supplies and office equipment worth $311,901. The equipment has been allocated to health care facilities currently under repair and will be distributed following clearance by the Ministry of Health.

The on-going project to rehabilitate health facilities in Cheritti, Dolo and Hargele implemented by Medicines sans Frontieres/Holland working in cooperation with the Region 5 Health Bureau, is to continue with additional support from UNICEF.

Water supply

In Borena zone, UNICEF is supporting two emergency water supply projects: a construction and rehabilitation scheme with assistance worth $764,000 to 250,000 beneficiaries, and a project to support pastoralists affected by natural and man-made disasters, with assistance amounting to $282,000 targeting 30,000 pastoralists and 100,000 heads of livestock. During the previous month, UNICEF Emergency Water Officers visited the area to monitor the progress of project implementation, management of completed projects overall sustainability of the projects and to assess further actions needed to be taken.

UNICEF is also implementing two projects in the Eastern zone of Region 1 (Tigray). The objectives are the drilling of wells, installation of motorized pumps and construction of water points. So far, necessary equipment have been mobilized, a hydrological survey has been conducted and drilling will soon commence.


Dispersal programme

The returnee dispersal operation to disperse the camp populations in Dollo, Gode and Suftu in Region 5 (Somali) started 9 June. The first stage of the dispersal programme has moved approximately 1,200 people from Dollo to Cheritti and Hargele. The initial target for Dollo area is approximately 12,500 and is likely to increase.

In preparation for the planned dispersal of the camps, the Ministry of Health has made available two health assistants from Gode to establish and staff the new health post at El Medo in the Afder zone of Region 5, which is to be operated with equipment provided by UNICEF.

Due to the results of a nutritional survey of the Gode camps conducted by Medicines sans Frontieres/Belgium, this NGO will continue to implement the emergency health care and nutritional programme in two camps in Gode for a further period of six months. Never-the-less, according to MSF/B the continuation of this programme depends on the dispersal of the camp populations as well as the distribution of food aid.

Sudanese refugees
The assisted population reached 47,424 with the following breakdown: Dimma 10,898, Bonga 14,799 and Fugnido 21,729. This reflects a significant increase in new arrivals, with the June influx alone totalling more than the first five months of 1994 combined. A temporary backlog at Therpam transit centre in the processing of this large number of new arrivals had been resolved by the end of the month.

The first phase of the Fugnido borehole rehabilitation was completed, significantly increasing the supply of water to the refugees. Despite the deterioration of the Gambella-Fugnido road, food and non-food items continued to reach the settlement. However, WFP was requested to accelerate deliveries to ensure that the 45-day minimum food stock was maintained.

A joint mission of the Ministry of Health, UNHCR and a consultant from the USA Centre for Disease Control carried out an evaluation of the STD/HIV project in the Dimma area.

Somali refugees
The authorities restricted the movement of a prominent Derwonaji leader and activist, confining him to the camp. He has been reported to have been accused of collaborating with dissident Islamic groups and possessing firearms.

Following an outbreak of fire at Camabokor which caused damage and destroyed property, UNHCR has provided additional food and relief supplies to assist those affected by the outbreak.

Kenyan refugees
The rehabilitation of the El Kalu borehole has was completed in June. A consultant anthropologist from the UN-EUE is currently on mission to assess the feasibility of consolidating the Kenyan asylum seekers in El Kalu in view of observed local resistance.

Repatriation from Kenya
A representative of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ethiopia, in Kenya to screen potential repatriants on behalf of the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), signed a Statement of Mutual Understanding with UNHCR Nairobi, clearing 4,486 candidates for repatriation. The destinations of these potential returnees were indicated as Gode (3,007), Awassa (956), Addis Ababa (193), Jijiga (184), Dire Dawa (144) and Suftu (2). Repatriation by air will start after written authorization is received by UNHCR from the Transitional Government of Ethiopia.

Repatriation from Sudan
Completion of the dry season repatriation brought the total number of Ethiopians repatriated from the Sudan since June 1993 to more than 25,000. Emphasis now is shifting again to reintegration, including the rehabilitation of water, health and education facilities in addition to crop production and other income-generation activities. During the current rainy season, detailed plans will be developed to recommence repatriation movements during the fourth quarter of the year.

Repatriation from Djibouti
During the month of June, small numbers of individuals continued to repatriate from Djibouti, and were assisted by UNHCR with food rations for two months. However, large-scale organized repatriation remained pending the clearance of the TGE.

Repatriation to Somalia
An increasing population, which totalled more than 1,000 people in June, has begun to take advantage of the "pre-operation" package of food and plastic tarpaulin for individual repatriation. This may partially be the result of the gradual reduction in food rations under the new WFP Protracted Refugee Operation. there are other indications, however, of an increasing interest in repatriation.

Table I 

Status of 1994 import requirements and pledges as of 28 June (MT)
Relief/Regular  EFSR  Structural Total 
Original import 1,074,000  
Less carry over 80,000  
stocks 31/12/93 
Less carry over 39,000  
pledges 31/12/93 
Original net import 955,000  
 448,000  140,000  367,000 
Revised net import requirement (April 94)   771,000  140,000  N/A
Total pledges 933,634  718,983   113,761 100,890 
Shortfall against revised requirement   52,017  26,239  N/A

Table II 

Status of 1994 deliveries and confirmed/unconfirmed shipments as of 28 June (MT)
Total 1994 pledges (all categories)
Total deliveries 
Balance due
Total confirmed arrivals
Unconfirmed arrivals due 

Table III 

Status of ports for the period of 27 June 1994, including refugee and returnee (MT)
Assab Djibouti   Massawa 
Month opening balance  63,919  21,509  17,072 
Arrivals during month  79,510  1,770  5,100 
Total available  143,429  23,279  22,172 
Offtake during month  48,690  22,926  8,752 
Closing balance  94,739 353 13,420 
Note:     Djibouti and Massawa figures include Ethiopia stocks only.
             Assab opening balance excludes 2 vessels at anchorage.

1. Belg rains are `short' rains which would normally occur between February and May. The Krempt rains are the `long' or main season rains which occur between June and October/November.


The designations used above may refer to old regional or awraja names for the sake of familiarity. However, 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 delimitations of its frontiers or boundaries.

Information in this report has been provided by specialized UN agencies. Reference is made to any other source of information as necessary.

9 July 1994

UN-EUE  Tel.: (251) (1) 51-10-28/29 
PO Box : 5580  Fax: (251) (1) 51-12-92 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  Email: undp-eue@telecom.net.et