Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia

  JUNE 1995

Prepared by the Information Sectionof the UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia from information provided by UN agen

Table of Contents 



Political developments

Multi-party elections in the remaining Ethiopian regions of 2 (Afar), 5 (Somali) and 13 (Harar) took place on 18 June. Experienced Election Board personnel were assigned to facilitate these elections and to ensure a peaceful and consistent electoral process. Elections were carried out in all the registered constituencies by the end of the month to select representatives to local and national councils. At the same time, regional councils already established in other parts of the country started conferring in June to approve regional constitutions. The first regional councils have been set in Regions 1 (Tigray), 3 (Amhara), 4 (Oromiya) and the Southern People's Administrative Region (SEPAR) respectively.

OAU Heads of State and ministerial meetings

A three day summit was organised by the Organisation for African Unity in Addis Ababa 26-28 June. The meeting was attended by numerous African heads of state who gathered to discuss political, financial, economic, social and cultural situation of the continent. Among the main issues discussed were conflicts in Africa, the role of political leaders in conflict resolution, the reduction of the African debt problem, the role of bilateral donors, and improvement of the conditions of African women who play a significant role in the progress of the continent.

The meeting of heads of state was preceded by a ministerial session 23-26 June. During this meeting, the OAU Council of Ministers discussed issues pertaining the challenges of an emerging global economy and the immediate need for strengthening conflict prevention mechanisms in Africa. The role of the OAU in the development of peace and economic progress was given special emphasis.

Meeting between IGADD and the international community

A one day consultative meeting was held in Addis Ababa on 30 June between the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) and the international community (donors and the United Nations) on the issues regarding the revitalisation and restructuring of IGADD. This meeting was organised immediately after internal briefings and meetings of the United Nations system, the donor community and IGADD members states. The meetings focused on discussing areas of activities and interventions, the restructuring of IGADD, interaction among member states, and working relations with the international community and donors.

In an aide memoire prepared by the U.N. agencies, general support was expressed for the efforts of IGADD in its expanded vision and mandate to reorganise. The U.N. also proposed that a technical working group be set up to develop a strategy for co-operation with IGADD and to identify possible areas of collaboration. Among the principals to be considered by this technical group, which would be composed of representatives of the U.N. system, are the existing IGADD five-year programme, previous and current U.N. activities, the transition from relief to development, shared regional problems and resources, overlapping and complementarity, cost-effective approaches to programme planning and effective programme implementation. The first working phase of this group is to be finalised before the next IGADD summit meeting, in September.

On the IGADD side, a ministerial committee established at the 18 April special meeting of the IGADD heads of state continues to review the IGADD Charter. The Committee will recommend amendments to the existing structure and will establish modalities for improving relations with the international community. Issues discussed during the 30 June meeting are also expected to be taken into account in the new structure, which will be officially presented during the next Heads of State summit in September 1995.


Belg rains and harvest prospects

The timing and quantity of Belg rains has generally been good with some variations from area to area. In most of the northern parts of Ethiopia the rains started on time and continued in a normal pattern. In North and South Welo and North Shewa zones of Region 3 (Amhara), the Belg rains, in addition to being late in most areas, have been irregular, with uneven distribution. In the southern parts of the country, Belg rains started late in the highland areas, while in the lowland areas their timing and amount was as anticipated. In rain deficient areas, however, provided that adequate food is made available for pre-positioning before the full onset of the Kremt rains and the remaining relief/regular programme requirement gap is resourced, food shortages are not expected to reach critical proportions.

Progress of the Meher season

According to the National Meteorological Services Agency, rainfall was limited to the western and south-eastern parts of the country during the first and second dekads of June, but gradually extended to the central and eastern regions in the third week of the month. This pattern could have a negative impact on agricultural activities if it does not resume a normal distribution. For example, the late onset of the Kremt rains in North Shewa, North and South Welo (Region 3) and Tigray has already adversely affected the planting of wheat crops in the high and mid-highland areas.

Weather conditions in the pastoral areas of Ethiopia are reported to be satisfactory, with almost all areas having received sufficient rain both during the previous rainy season (October-December) and the current one (June-August).

Locust situation

The Desert Locust Control Organisation for Eastern Africa (DLCO/EA), which responded to request by the Ministry of Agriculture for continued surveillance and control of outbreaks of locust as early as February 1995, have reported the possibility of desert locust breeding sites in the coastal areas of Sudan and Eritrea in June. Also reported is the possible migration of desert locusts from the coastal plains of the Red Sea, gradually moving inland.

As parts of Ethiopia may be affected by possible outbreaks, the DLCO have mobilised resources and survey personnel to the bordering regions to undertake control operations. Swarms of African migratory locust observed earlier in the year in the northern parts of Ethiopia as well as in susceptible parts of Region 2 (Afar) and Region 5 (Somali) were controlled by the DLCO and the Ministry of Agriculture with 1994 carry-over stocks of pesticide.

Fertiliser situation

Fertiliser procurement for the 1995 cropping season through AISCO so far amounts to 231,000 tons. Of this total 179,000 or 77% has been moved to AISCO warehouses and market distribution centres by the beginning of June. The remaining 52,000 tons contributed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the European Union and the Government of Japan arrived at Assab during the third week of June.

As at 25 June, fertiliser sales in the local markets amount to 89,000 tons by AISCO and 3,165 tons by Amalgamated, the former from newly procured stocks and the latter from 1994 carry-over stocks. The flow of sales information from distribution sites has been reported as very slow and only a limited number of sales centres have reported so far.

FAO Emergency Input Supply Programme

A total of 2,500 tons of seed purchased under a Swedish International Development Aid (SIDA) contribution has been moved to distribution centres in the FAO project areas of North Welo zone (Region 3) and Eastern and Southern Tigray zones (Region 1). This project is expected to benefit over 60,000 families affected by drought during the 1994 cropping seasons. An additional pledge received from the Government of the United Kingdom has been allocated for the purchase of 680 tons of fertiliser and 865 tons of seed to be supplied as a package to drought affected farmers in North Shewa and South Welo zones (Region 3).


As a result of last year's poor harvest and the low level of agricultural productivity, North and South Welo zones (Region 3), North Omo zone (Southern Ethiopian People's Administrative Region), Eastern Hararghe zone (Region 4) and the lowland areas of Tigray (Region 1) are already facing food shortages. Emergency food distribution in these food deficit areas of the country is being undertaken by the regional Relief and Rehabilitation Bureaus (RRBs) and Non-Governmental Organisations, who are also pre-positioning food to remote areas before the Kremt rains make access impossible.

The RRC is actively implementing the national policy to channel the majority of emergency food aid through Employment Generation Schemes (EGS), with free distribution limited to those unable to contribute labour. In Wolayita area in North Omo zone (SEPAR), all weredas have initiated Employment Generation Schemes, with the aim of channelling 80% of food through EGS and only 20% through free distribution. This delivery mechanism, when implemented flexibly to meet local needs, should contribute simultaneously to the relief and rehabilitation of rural infrastructures.

Aid organisations have also geared up their capacity to implement employment schemes. The World Food Programme, SOS Sahel and CONCERN continue assisting in implementation of emergency EGS in South Welo (Region 3) and Wolayita (SEPAR) by providing training, technical advise and non-food items. SOS Sahel carries out similar assistance in North Omo zone. In East Hararghe, CARE Ethiopia also continues food for work activities in Garamuleta, a densely populated area with persistent food shortages. In Tigray, the Relief Society for Tigray (REST) are involved in food for work programmes as well as implementing small scale credit schemes. However, in many other areas of the country, erratic relief food pipelines as well as insufficient non-food resources and technical inputs have hindered implementation of EGS.

Tigray (Region 1)

In Tigray, the Belg rains started late and with uneven distribution in most parts of the region but especially in the lowlands, where land preparation takes place for the main cropping season. The late rains were followed by a dry spell in May and June, hindering land preparation. Therefore, the total area of land prepared for the planting of long maturing sorghum and maize crops in Tigray has been considerably reduced. In the Belg-cropping eastern lowland areas of the Southern zone, however, the rains were reported to have started late but to have been generally better than the previous year. Harvesting was already underway in the Southern zone.

North and South Welo zones (Region 3)

In North and South Welo, the Belg rains were delayed by about four weeks. This resulted in the late planting of crops and a delayed Belg harvest, which may now be damaged by the main Kremt rains. The Belg rains have also not been favourable for pasture development and livestock conditions are reportedly poor. A recent nutritional survey conducted by Save the Children (UK) has indicated a marked decline in the nutritional status of children in North and South Welo zones, where almost all weredas are facing food shortages. This report further indicates that despite relief provisions, nutritional status in the worst affected areas has not shown a reversal. Therefore, relief assistance will need to be continued until the latter months of the year, as forthcoming yields will probably have little impact on the food deficit.

In North Welo, SOS Sahel have started an integrated development programme, which includes agricultural and natural resource development. The programme have been carried out in only three Peasant Associations out of the 41 in the area so far, as the inaccessibility of some of the PAs has limited the expansion of the project to the more remote locations. However, SOS Sahel have started road construction and maintenance activities to combat this problem.

North Shewa Zone (Region 3)

According to a report by SCF (UK), the Belg harvest is far from encouraging in the weredas of the old awraja of Menze and Gishe, due to poor rains. In these areas, where the Belg is of great importance, only 40% have reported satisfactory rains. Crop failure has been reported in some of the areas and production is expected to be at the low level of last year. Livestock conditions throughout most of North Shewa are also reported to be poor. Insufficient grazing land and the need to sell stock is also a caues for concern. Cereal prices have shown a steep rise since the 1994 Belg, and with relief being limited since the 1994 Meher season, prices are currently at very high levels.

East and West Hararghe zones (Region 4)

In Hararghe, the Belg rains are of considerable importance as they serve a number of purposes, including production of Belg crops, land preparation for the longer maturing Meher crops such as sorghum and maize, development of pasture land for livestock grazing, and the growth of cash crops.

This year, the Belg rains have been exceptionally good, with an even distribution throughout the cropping season. Most of the arable land was planted and crop development has been favourable in most weredas of the two zones.

North Omo zone (SEPAR)

Although the rains started late in Wolayita area, they gradually increased and proceeded well into June, providing farmers with favourable planting conditions. Regular nutritional surveys, market surveys and crop assessments by a number of governmental bodies and NGOs working in the area have ensured the early registration of food shortages and timely reaction, and food aid distributions are to be extended. However, according to reports by SCF (UK), the nutritional situation in the western highland areas has been declining for the past few months and would require further monitoring and prolonged assistance in terms of therapeutic feeding and provision of supplementary food.


Food aid status

As at 30 June, pledges against the 1995 total requirement of 1,032,000 tons amounts to 631,573 tons of food aid including commercial, programme and relief/regular categories. Out of the 1995 relief/regular requirements of 427,000 tons, a total of 418,700 has been pledged (including the WFP emergency operation - EMOP) but only 116,394 tons or 28% of the pledged quantity has so far been delivered to Ethiopia. The pledging shortfall for relief and regular is now 8,300 tons.(1)

During the visit of the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to Ethiopia at the end of June, an agreement was signed between the United States and the transitional Government of Ethiopia, providing funding for the purchase of 175,000 tons of food grain (under Title III agreement). According to the agreement, 154,000 tons, of which 89,000 tons will be monetised, would be consigned to the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission to support relief efforts throughout the country. The remaining 21,000 tons would be committed to the Emergency Food Security Reserve, of which 8,000 tons would be for the Reserve and 13,000 tons would be to cover transport costs.(2)

(A summary table of food aid statistics is annexed to this report).

Logistics and food aid deliveries

Due to the so far slow delivery of 1995 pledges, monthly food aid shipments to Ethiopia are well below 1994 levels. Therefore, no congestion of relief cargo is expected at Assab port, nor should the lack of long haul and short haul transport be a problem.

Difficulties in customs clearance of vegetable oil to Ethiopia, particularly for monetisation, seem to have been solved. NGO oil supplies detained at customs for the past few months have been released and customs duty exemption is expected to apply to oil imports under agreed programmes for the time being. On the long term, the Government will determine the future role of oil for monetisation and relief.

Emergency Food Security Reserve

The RRC has started transporting 25,000 tons of cereals advanced from the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR) against expected WFP shipments. These commodities would be provided to the critically affected populations in North and South Welo zones (7,000 tons), North Omo zone (5,000 tons), Tigray (4,000 tons), and Oromiya Region including Eastern Hararghe zone (9,000 tons). Under the same programme assistance would also be provided to the displaced people in various parts of Ethiopia. However, these quantities, even when combined with other RRC and NGO resources in these areas, are insufficient to cover needs until the main season (Meher) harvest in November and December.

The importance of effectively resourcing the current WFP emergency operation (EMOP) of 60,900 tons of grain has been repeatedly stressed. This resourcing would enable the Government to fill the remaining gap of 69,200 tons (3)

of relief requirements for an estimated four million people affected by food shortages in 1995, and would also allow the RRC to draw grain from the EFSR for immediate distribution and pre-positioning. The Reserve currently has physical stocks of 48,403 tons of grain, excluding outstanding loans of 67,648 from WFP, 41,015 tons from the Government and 19,561 tons from NGOs. (4)

Refugee and returnee operations

A steady influx of refugees to Ethiopia from Somalia and Sudan continues the need for increased food supplies. In June, 1,600 new Sudanese and 2,252 new Somali refugees entering Ethiopia were provided with a one month WFP ration. This influx is in addition to the registered caseload of 331,600 refugees already receiving monthly rations and 88,250 returnees receiving a nine month re-integration package under the newly approved emergency programme.

UNHCR's access to refugee camps remains restricted but WFP field staff are increasing their camp visits to ensure adequate monitoring of food distributions in the camps.



Acute Diarrhoeal Disease

North Omo has been the scene of a serious outbreak of Acute Diarrhoeal Disease over the past few months. MSF Holland and GOAL reported that the outbreak, which started in April 1995, has continued to affect the weredas of Kindo Koisha, Bolosso Sore, Sodo Zuria and Offa. In June, a total of 805 people, with 40 cases of children under five years of age, were reported as affected by the disease in the MSF project area of Offa wereda. However, health activities were immediately initiated by governmental and non-governmental organisations, with intravenous fluid provided by the United Nations Children's Fund. Consequently, at the end of June the incidence of ADD had decreased to only a few cases per day, a significant reduction from the high of 20 to 30 cases per day in May.


During June, a serious outbreak of malaria was reported by the regional authorities in Region 3 (Amhara). According to reports the epidemic covered North and South Gonder and parts of East and West Gojjam. Malaria cases reported in Tigray over the past months, however, seem to be under control and have not reached epidemic proportions. This has been due to the effective community-based malaria control programme carried out throughout the region. In Bahir Dar, 39 deaths were reported due to falciparum malaria. Efforts to control this disease are ongoing with the participation of the local communities.

Rehabilitation of health facilities

A team of WHO experts visited Regions 1 (Tigray) and 3 (Amhara) between 18-28 June to assess the general status of emergency health problems and to review the progress in repair of WHO-supported damaged health facilities. In addition to monitoring ongoing programmes in North Shewa, North and South Welo, North Gonder and West Gojjam, the team also discussed the arrival of medical and office equipment to completed health centres in Tigray.

Metema Hospital in North Gonder, which is a centre that will provide medical care to both the local inhabitants of the wereda as well as Metema resettlement area, was also visited. The progress of construction work on the hospital was reviewed and recommendations were made. The construction of this hospital is expected to be completed by the end of the year. In North Shewa, two health stations recently identified for repair have already been completed and are fully operational. During the reporting period, two health stations were also completed in North Welo.

The inauguration of a health centre in Endeselassie took place on 23 June and was attended by the WHO Regional Director, the Ambassador of the Netherlands, the Vice Minister of Health and officials from the zonal administration and department of health. This health centre has been provided with medical supplies and is equipped with operating facilities.

Support to health services

During June, teams of UNICEF Emergency Officers travelled to project sites in North Omo zone (SEPAR), East and West Hararghe zones (Region 4), Harar (Region 13) and the Dire Dawa area. The purpose of these visits was to monitor ongoing supported activities and provide technical input and supplies to implementing line ministries and non-governmental organisations. A joint UNICEF/UNHCR mission also visited Jijiga (Region 5) to review the status of the educational rehabilitation programme for repatriated Ethiopians from Djibouti. Following this visit, a plan of action was developed by the mission for a new phase of project implementation.

Following an interval of several months, MSF Holland resumed their activities in the Afder zone of Region 5 (Somali) in the month of May. These activities will include the construction of a health centre in Dolo Odo and the resumption of medical and water programmes in Dolo Bay. MSF will also carry out dry supplementary and therapeutic feeding programmes for children under five years of age with assistance obtained from UNICEF, CARE and the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).

Emergency water supply

A high level delegation of donors accompanied by UNICEF officials travelled to Region 5 at the beginning of June to sign an agreement for the provision of emergency water supply to the town of Gode, which has been reliant on polluted surface water. This project, to be completed within one year, is funded by the British Overseas Development Agency ($355,000) and the Swiss Humanitarian Aid/Swiss Disaster Relief ($105,000), and will be implemented by UNICEF.

The main objective of this emergency project is to provide safe drinking water for an estimated population of about 60,000 in Gode town. The project will involve the complete reconstruction and upgrading of the existing town water supply system.


Sudanese refugees

The Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) reported a substantial increase of 2, 661 new arrivals to Fugnido settlement, bringing the total there to 30,619. At Bonga however, the increase was only 106, primarily births, bringing the total to 15,446. Furthermore, ARRA carried out a preliminary head-count at Dimma settlement in co-operation with NGO and refugee representatives. As a result, the May population of 12,145 was reduced by 2,179 to 9,966 including the 280 students at Mizan. While the ARRA has not officially announced this reduction, and UNHCR and WFP were not involved in the planning of the head-count, the assisted population should now be 56,031, a net increase of 588 over the figure at the end of May. UNHCR and WFP are encouraging ARRA to carry out a joint counting in Fugnido settlement, where the current figure may also be exaggerated. ARRA is also being encouraged to accelerate the processing of new arrivals at the Therpam reception centre. A joint UNHCR/WFP mission to the settlements focused on the improvement of reporting systems.

Somali refugees

ARRA listed a total of 3,593 new arrivals, primarily at Daror from the Garxajis areas of Northwest Somalia, bringing the number listed since November 1994 to 90,289 and the assisted population to 275,189.


Repatriation from Djibouti

The governments of Djibouti and Ethiopia reached agreement to recommence the repatriation by train from Djibouti to Dire Dawa. An ARRA mission to Djibouti during the first week of July is expected to finalise the arrangements for the repatriation of up to 15,000 Ethiopians from Djiboutiville at a rate of 2,000 per week. If this proves feasible, the mass repatriation of Ethiopians from Djibouti should be completed by September 1995.

Repatriation from Kenya

During the first week of June, an additional 194 Ethiopians were airlifted from Dadaab, Kenya to Gode in Region 5 (Somali) of Ethiopia. This brings the total airlifted to Gode to 1,552 and the total airlifted from Kenya to Ethiopia during 1995 to 1,969. Including the 707 who arrived in two convoys via Moyale, a total of 2,676 Ethiopians have repatriated from Kenya in organised movements during 1995. Due to difficulties with the chartered aircraft, to additional flights to Gode scheduled for June did not take place. ARRA plans to undertake a screening mission to Kenya as soon as UNHCR Kenya has prepared the data for the remaining Ethiopians who wish to voluntarily repatriate. The objective is to complete the mass repatriation of Ethiopians from Kenya by the end of the current year.

Repatriation from Sudan

As the governments of Ethiopia and Sudan did not reach an agreement on arrangements for additional convoys during June, Phase 1 of the 1995 repatriation operation came to an end. The reception and dispersal centres were dismantled and pre-positioned stocks were secured for Phase 2, which is expected to begin around October following the rainy season. Rivers have already risen to the point that the Humera-Gonder road is impassable.

Individual repatriation

A total of 13 Ethiopia refugees individually repatriated to Addis Ababa during June, 6 from Kenya and 7 from Yemen.


Integrated programming activities in Region 5 continued with a joint mission to the returnee-impacted areas of Chinaksen and Tuluguled by ARRA, UNHCR, SCF (UK), the regional Bureau of Agriculture and the South East Rangelands Project (SERP). The regional Bureau of Health also organised a co-ordination meeting attended by UNHCR, UNICEF, MSF, OXFAM, SCF (UK), SERP, Handicap International and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS). The ARRA approved the UNHCR proposal to sign agreements with the relevant regional bureaux for the water, health and education sectors.

Table I

Status of 1995 import requirements and pledges as of 4 July 1995 (MT) - cereals and pulses
Relief/Regular  EGS/Monetisation Programme EFSR  Commercial Total* 
Import requirements 
427,000  80,000  375,000 0 150,000 1,032,000 
418,700  212,873  24,275 631,573 
8,300  80,000 162,127 N/A 150,000  400,427 
* Excludes EFSR

Table II

Status of 1995 deliveries and confirmed/unconfirmed shipments as of 4 July (MT) - cereals and pulses

Total 1995 pledges (all categories) 631,573

Total deliveries 116,394_

Balance due 515,179

Total confirmed arrivals 32,825_

Unconfirmed arrivals due 482,354

Table III

Status of ports for the period between 27 May - 30 June 1995, including refugees and returnees (MT)

Assab Djibouti Massawa

Month opening balance 58,095 997 2,233

Arrivals during month 45,426 330 0_

Total available 103,521 1,327 2,233

Offtake during month 59,852 719 2,233

Closing balance 43,669 608 0

Note: 1. Djibouti and Massawa indicate Ethiopia figures only

1. This shortfall assumes that all WFP projects (emergency, school-feeding and urban) would be fully resourced.

2. Food grain to be purchased under Title III has already been included in the 1995 overall pledge figures.

3. This figure consists of the yet unresourced WFP EMOP for 60,900 tons and the remaining pledging shortfall of 8,300 tons.

4. Figures as at the end of June - Source: WFP


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 obtained from specialised UN agencies and NGO reports. Reference is made to any other source of information as necessary.
7 July, 1995

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