Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia

June 1998


Consolidated UN report prepared by the Information Section of the UNDP Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia from information and reports provided by specialised UN agencies, media sources, the Government and NGOs.


Djibouti Port coping well with Ethiopian imports: About 300 trucks are moving relief food and commercial cargo out of Djibouti port, the office of the government spokesperson announced at the end of June, whereas 150 trucks were used daily to move goods out of Assab. Additionally, the Ethiopian-Djiboutian Railway is transporting a considerably increased volume of cargo. In a press release, the office compared Djibouti’s efforts to cope with the increased volume of Ethiopian goods with the operations previously conducted at Assab port and came to a favorable conclusion. The statement pointed out further that Djibouti Port has the capacity to anchor 16 ships at the time, while Assab can only accommodate three ships. The spokesperson announced later, that the Ethiopian Government has set aside three million dollar to upgrade and expand port facilities in Djibouti. In related development, the Ethiopian Customs Authority drew up a new working systems to smooth Djibouti-related services, while an ad hoc business committee said it has not made "much progress" in facilitating the shipment of Ethiopian goods stuck at Assab and Massawa ports since the escalation of the Ethiopian – Eritrean dispute. Reportedly the goods, valued at billions of Birr, comprise 135,000 tons of dry cargo (including about 70,000 tons of internationally donated relief food), 46,741 tons of liquid cargo and 51 tons of asphalt.

Public fund raising reaches 76 million Birr by end of June: In the context of the Ethiopian – Eritrean conflict, a major public fund raising campaign in support of both the defense forces and people displaced from contested areas is taking place in Ethiopia. By the end of June, a total of 76 million Birr (US$ 10.8 million) was raised from various sections of the society as well as from governmental and non-governmental organizations, according to data collected by the Walta Information Center (WIC). In addition, non-cash contributions including various materials, cattle and food were donated. Equally, Ethiopians residing abroad participate in fund raising activities. The fund raising continued into July.

Coffee sales reach record high: Officials of the Ethiopian Coffee and Tea Development Authority stated that the country’s mainstay coffee industry is flourishing under free-market reforms and had already surpassed last year’s sales. Ethiopia sold a record 133,139 tons of coffee worth US$ 445.7 million in the first eleven months of the fiscal year. This stands against 129,155 tons of coffee sold for US$ 398.2 million during the entire previous fiscal year. After Uganda and Ivory Coast, Ethiopia is Africa’s third largest coffee producer with annual production ranging between 250,000 and 300,000 tons. Exports of the crop, which generates about 60 percent of the country’s foreign currency earnings, reportedly have not been affected by the current conflict with Eritrea since coffee export-shipments have been diverted to Djibouti.

ICRC members abducted and released in Somali Region: Six aid workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) were abducted in Somali Region on 25 June while travelling by car from Gode to Jijiga. While the whereabouts of the six, including five Ethiopian Somalis and one Swiss delegate, remained unclear initially, the three vehicles the group was travelling in were found burned. Later, on 3 July, the armed Islamic fundamentalist group Al-Itihad Al-Islam, addressing a news conference in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu, claimed responsibility for the abductions. The incident came to a fortunate end when the six hostages were released unconditionally on 10 July. All six are reported to be in good health

Foreign grants reached 7 billion Birr over last six years: Ethiopia received over 7 billion Birr (US$ 1 billion) in foreign grants during the past six years, the Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (MEDaC) announced. Some 15 major donor countries contributed to this total assistance helping to stabilize Ethiopia’s economy. The donor countries are, in order of the magnitude of assistance granted: USA, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Italy, United Kingdom, Finland, Norway, Denmark, China, France, Austria, Switzerland, Greece and South Korea.

World Bank approves 60 million dollars for agriculture: The World Bank approved a US$ 60 million credit to support agricultural research and training in Ethiopia. According to the Bank, the project will directly benefit small-scale farmers –who make up 85 per cent of the population and 90 per cent of agricultural producers - and help promote economic growth, reduce poverty and protect the environment.

Last Falashas flown to Israel: Nearly 60 Ethiopian Jews, known as Falash Mora, arrived in Israel on 25 June. According to Israeli authorities, this was "the final load" in a repatriation operation that included major airlifts in 1985 and 1991. About 60,000 Ethiopian Jews are now living in Israel. Some of their representatives contest the Israeli government’s finalization of the programme, claiming that numbers of Jews were still left behind in Ethiopia. While the Falash Mora are Ethiopians of Jewish decent who have been converted to Christianity, their Judaism has been disputed by parts of the Israeli public.

Road Fund Office formally opened: The Ethiopian Road Fund Administration Office was formally opened in mid-June. Its main objective is to finance the maintenance of roads and enforce road safety measures. The office’s last annual budget amounted to 162.9 million Birr (US$ 23.27 million). Of this, some 70 per cent were allocated to the Ethiopian Road Authority, 20 per cent to regional road works and 10 per cent to selected municipalities.

Somali State budget under utilized: The Planning and Economic Development Bureau of Somali National Regional State disclosed that as of early June only 60 million Birr (US$ 8.57 million) has been utilized out of the 252 million Birr (US$ 36 million) allocated in the budget year for the execution of various projects in the state. Only 80 of the 180 planned projects in sectors like urban development, agriculture and health have materialized so far. An official of the Walta Information Centre (WIC) named as reasons for the budget under-utilization political instability, the shortage of manpower and lack of required follow-up and supervision by project holders. A team of experts sent by the Prime Ministers Office reportedly started to address these problems.

SPDP - Somali party merger: The Ethiopian Somali Democratic League (ESDL) and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) merged to form a single party at the end of June. The new party is called Somali People’s Democratic Party (SPDP). In a statement issued at the founding conference, the SPDP urged Ethiopian Somalis "to fight narrow nationalism, corruption, nepotism and fundamentalist tendencies". Hope was expressed that the new party will help to speed up the region’s economic development. The chairman of the SPDP is Transport and Communication Minister Dr. Abdulmejid Hussein who expressed his confidence that with the foundation of the new party, unity among the different clans in the state will be fostered.

2.5 million farmers involved in extension programs nationwide: The Ministry of Agriculture announced that some 2.5 million farmers across the country are currently participating in extension programs covering around 2,000,000 hectares of arable land. When the extension programme was launched four years ago, only 35,000 farmers were involved. The activities of the programme equally expanded over the years. While initially focusing on food crops only, the programs now covers the production of cash crops, animal husbandry, post production technology, mixed farming as well as soil and forest conservation. Over 13,000 development workers are offering professional assistance in the programme which has helped raise productivity, according to an official of the Ministry of Agriculture

Ethiopian Airlines "in one stretch" to America: Ethiopian Airlines, aiming at expanding its network of international destinations, started on 4 June a new regular service to Washington DC.


The dispute with Eritrea continued throughout the month and, although there were no armed clashes after 11 June, the situation all along the border remained tense. International peace efforts continued throughout the month; but, unfortunately, to little avail. The US/Rwanda facilitation effort or "peace plan" was accepted by Ethiopia and endorsed by the OAU but has not been accepted by Eritrea. Although the OAU Heads of State Mission failed to break the deadlock, the OAU’s efforts continue at the ambassadorial level.

Although there has been little or no exchange of fire, the war of words continues unabated with harsher and harsher language being used by both sides. Of particular concern to both sides is the treatment of their nationals residing in the other country.


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 and 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 to this appeal, the United Nations in Ethiopia fielded, with the co-operation of DPPC, one technical assessment mission to Tigray region and one mission to Afar region. The missions conducted 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 of displaced people.

The missions recognized the humanitarian needs of the displaced people but in some cases it was difficult to quantify needs as the displaced, particularly in Tigray, are accommodated privately within local communities and not in camps. Also, new displaced continue to arrive at several locations. Although verification of numbers was difficult, the missions felt that the registration and screening systems set up in both locations were good. In spite of the increasing numbers of displaced the original DPPC planning/contingency figure remained unchanged at 300,000 displaced people. Another problem pending clarification is the number of displaced people already identified as drought victims and being entitled, under the regular annual appeal, to food rations. The government is currently working on this issue as well as providing information on the utilization of local raised funds for the displaced and the identification of gaps for which additional donations are still needed.

As part of an initial response to address humanitarian needs of displaced people, the UN system is in the process of preparing a summary of UN inputs currently (mid-July) available from UN resources as well as initiatives for which additional donor resources will be sought.


The Belg Situation

Major belg producing areas in the southern parts of the country have received adequate rainfall and a reasonable belg harvests is expected; however, the rainfall situation in South Tigray, North and South Welo, and East and West Hararghe was erratic and below normal leading to rather poor production.

As part of the normal assessment process the DPPC, in cooperation with WFP, USAID, EU, NMSA, MoA and the Ethiopian Mapping Authority, carried out a belg assessment between 21 June to 10 July. The results of this assessment will be released by the DPPC in late July.

Meher Prospects

According to the National Meteorological Services Agency (NMSA), central and eastern Amhara and eastern Oromiya meher growing areas had below normal rainfall during June but most parts of Tigray, other sections of Amhara, most parts of Oromiya, Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella and the northeastern half of the Southern Region (SNNP) had normal to above normal rainfall. Overall rainfall conditions over most of the western parts of the country were good but the dry spell in June in northeast and east could have a negative impact on production in these areas. For July, although NMSA indicates the possibility of excess rains and flash floods as well as sparse rains in some areas, they predict normal to above normal rain for most of the meher dependent parts of the country.

Migratory Pests

The country is free of Desert Locust and Armyworm. According to information received from the Ministry of Agriculture, aerial control operations against Quelea birds using DLCO-EA aircraft are underway since 28 June in Konso Special Wereda (Southern Region).

Fertilizer Sales

Fertilizer sales to private and state sectors stood at 172,376 M/T by the end of June, according to the National Fertilizer Inputs Agency (NFIA). This is 46.8 % of the sales target set for the current year amounting to 368,000 M/T. NFIA is expecting the sales figures in 1998 to reach 85% (312,800 MT) of the set target (368,000 M/T). Thus sales performance as of 30 June against the revised sales target of 312,800 M/T stands at 55.1 %.

Sales of fertilizers in 1998 (as of 30 June) compared with sales for the same period of previous years is shown below:
Year  Actual sales, 30 June (M/T)  Actual/estimated sales for the year (M/T)  30 June performance against annual sales (%) 
1996  138,427  253,152  54.7 
1997  79,530  206,294  38.6 
1998  172,376  368,000*  46.8 
1998  172,376  312,800**  55.1 
 Notes: * 1998 sales forecast ** 1998 revised sales target


As of the end of June total pledges for the 1998 food aid requirements stood at 265,518 M/T (41%) of which 108,294 M/T had been delivered. Carry-over pledges from 1997 to 1998 at the end of 1997 were 188,196 M/T of which 125,652 had been delivered as of the end of June.

Because of the closure of Assab and Massawa ports, all food import activity is now concentrated at Djibouti port. Although both the Djiboutian and Ethiopian authorities have made significant efforts to improve and speed up discharge and offtake, first there was a problem of not enough trucks and then a problem of too many trucks arriving at the port without specific contracts, thus contributing to congestion rather than elevating it.

In order to ensure regular uplift of WFP cargo and to ensure sufficient but not excessive trucks, WFP is arranging bids from local trucking companies for a dedicated fleet. Trucks that are part of this fleet will not be commandeered and will only be operating for WFP and its collaborating partners.


Offtake of food aid cargo out of Djibouti has been around 500 to 800 M/T a day – perhaps adequate for the current stocks but nowhere near Assab’s peak of 3,000 M/T day over a three month period a few years ago. As additional stocks arrive offtake will have to improve or there will be serious congestion.

Port stocks

There are only minor stocks at Massawa port (1,448 M/T) but, unfortunately, there are over 70,000 M/T of relief cargo stuck at Assab port. Storage and weather conditions at Assab are not good and the longer this cargo remains inaccessible the greater the chances of damage. At the end of June there was about 37,000 M/T of food aid cargo at Djibouti, most of which is consigned to WFP. Food aid arrivals at Djibouti (relief, regular and refugees) over the next three months are tentatively:
July  29,406 M/T 
August  53,331 M/T 
September 51,637 M/T 

Food Security Reserve

Because of delays in repayments, stocks available from the Emergency Food Security Reserve available for new loans are limited.


No major epidemic outbreaks were reported in the month of June. Health activities during the past month include the establishment of an ad-hoc committee on integrated surveillance with members from various disease control programs both from the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO). Furthermore, the Council of Ministers and the regional strategic plan for the control of HIV/AIDS finalized the policy on the control of HIV/AIDS. An agreement was signed between USAID and WHO for a grant of US$ 132,613 to be used for the construction of regional training centers in the Southern Region. During June, WHO also supported the Somali, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz and Gambella Regional States by assigning consultants to provide support in the development of annual plans of action, regional profiles and management information systems.

Bonga  12,549 (3 New Arrivals, 59 births, 20 deaths) Aisha  15,290
Fugnido  23,275 (1681 New Arrivals, 31 births, 10 deaths, 14 Resettlement)  Camaboker  28,590
Sherkole  20,613 (34 New Arrivals, 32 births, 4 deaths) Daror  33,985 
Dimma   7,726 (18 New Arrivals, 12 births, 0 deaths, 0 departures)  Darwanaji  29,649
Sub-Total 64,163  Hartisheik "A"  30,032
    Hartisheik "B"  11,357
 SOUTH   Kebribeyah 11,547
Dollo 8,000 Rabasso 16,814
 Moyale 8,671 Teferiber 46,331
 Sub-Total  16,671  Sub-Total  223,595 
Afar Region 3,000 (As per ARRA estimates) ADDIS ABABA 700
  GRAND TOTAL  308,129


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.


UNDP-EUE field reports; CARE; Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC); European Union; FAO; FEWS; National Meteorological Services Agency (NMSA); Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA); Grain Market Research Project of the Ministry of Economic Development and Co-operation (GMRP-MEDaC); SCF (UK); UNICEF; UNHCR; WHO; AFP; ENA.

21 July, 1998

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