Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia

 July 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

The long cycle Kremt rains have extended throughout the country with above normal rainfall and adequate coverage for the restoration of pasture. Given the continuation of the rains, the prospects are favourable for a good Meher season harvest.

Recent nutrition surveys indicate that although the nutritional status deteriorated in pocket areas such as Wolayita in the North Omo zone (Southern Region), Welo and Gonder zones (Region 3) and Tigray (Region 1), the situation has generally improved in many critically-affected regions.

A heavy armyworm infestation has been contained in the western, southern and eastern regions, but is still not completely under control in the northern regions of Welo, Gonder, and Tigray. As ground and aerial control measures are still ongoing, an assessment of the extent of damage is not yet available.

The Relief and Rehabilitation Commission's plan to pre-position food for distribution before the onset of the main rainy season has now proved to have been largely successful, especially as the heavy rains have slowed short-haul transport. During the first six months of 1994, about 70% of allocated food was effectively distributed to the beneficiaries, preventing a large-scale famine, however, transport, effective distribution and targeting in the third quarter remain major issues of concern in the relief operation.

Preliminary second quarter distribution figures are already available. According to these figures, out of the food allocation of 285,000 tons, a total of 197,000 tons has been distributed (56,000 tons by the RRC and 142,000 tons by NGOs), meeting 70% of the target distribution figure.

The RRC recently established an Emergency Executive Committee comprised of four RRC heads of departments. The objective of this Committee is to facilitate the RRC in taking appropriate and timely measures to meet the needs in the drought and pest affected areas of the country.

UN-EUE support to emergencies

The UN Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia is actively involved in monitoring emergency situations and providing support to the RRC. In this capacity, aside from direct support to the RRC, field assessments, monitoring and reporting, the EUE has assisted the RRC through the secondment of staff members and the provision of short-term advisors.

In addition to support to the Resource Mobilisation and Project Tracking Unit, the RRC recently requested the EUE to place several advisors within the Logistics and Information Departments of the RRC to strengthen its capacity to handle and utilize information in all aspects of the relief operation. Four short-term advisors are currently assisting the RRC in this capacity, and an advisor for the Public Relations Department has been selected by the RRC and should be in place by early August.

In early July, the EUE became actively involved in supporting the Government's efforts to control a heavy and widespread infestation of armyworms. In conjunction with a consultant on migratory pests, and in cooperation with the Ministry of Agriculture, the Desert Locust Control Organisation (DLCO) and FAO, assistance was provided to critically infested areas in the north. For this purpose, financial support was secured by the EUE from the Governments of Switzerland, the Netherlands and Norway as well as UNDP-SPR funds.

Apart from field visits and support to the RRC, the EUE is also working with the UN agencies, government and NGOs in updating the Relief Infrastructure Profile of Ethiopia, which may take several months to complete but will include comprehensive databases of the relief infrastructure of Ethiopia.


A committee comprised of government representative approved three UNDP Programme Support Documents for UNDP's fifth country programme cycle. Two additional PSDs are expected to be approved shortly. Resources from UNDP will be used as funding for six National Programmes to which the Government will contribute, both at the central and local levels and with community participation. Donor contributions will also be sought by the government in support to these programmes.

With the approval of the Programme Support Documents by UNDP Headquarters, implementation is schedule to start within the fourth quarter of 1994. UNDP has already initiated, in collaboration with the Government, preparatory measures to be taken in implementing UNDP support.


Progress of the Kremt rains

The long Kremt rains which started in June from the south-west moving towards the north-east, have extended throughout the country, except the southern parts, and Meher-dependent regions are now receiving adequate rainfall. In the southern regions, where the first crops are ready for harvesting, rainfall has decreased according to normal patterns.

Although planting of the 1994/95 main season (Meher) cereal crops is underway, it is still too early to forecast the harvest outcome as the rains will have to continue until the end of September to ensure good crop production. If the Meher harvests partially fail, it is likely that there will be increased relief needs throughout 1995.


As at 24 July, the total fertilizer available at the marketing centres of AISCO amounted to 160,000 tons or approximately 96% of the sales target of 166,358 tons for the peasant sector. The fertilizer available through the private sector during the same period amounted to 9,650 tons.

Sales information obtained from AISCO and Amalgamated indicate that as of 24 July, total sales to the peasant sector amounted to 121,126 tons, meeting 69% of the total 1994 sales target.

Agricultural emergency programmes

By mid-July, the FAO emergency seed distribution programmes which are being implemented in northern Ethiopia, delivered a total of 5,750 tons of 5 varieties of seeds to project areas in Regions 1 and 3 for distribution to drought and pest affected farmers.

Armyworm situation

The outbreak of armyworm, which expanded to many areas of the country, has been especially severe in the northern parts, covering 170,928 hectares in Region 1 (Tigray). According to FAO, weredas in North Welo, North Shewa and North Gonder zones of Region 3 have also been affected and the infestation is expected to spread throughout North and South Gonder and South Welo zones of Region 3.

Control operations by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Desert Locust Control Organisation (DLCO) continued throughout the month of July in the infested areas of the north. As a result, the infestation has been controlled in the Western and Central zones of Tigray through aerial spraying and ground control measures. Ground control operations are still ongoing in North Welo and North Shewa zones, while aerial spraying continues in the Southern and Eastern zones of Tigray.

Donor contribution to the control of the armyworm outbreak include: FAO-TCP $250,000, UNDP-SPR $50,000, Switzerland $38,000, Netherlands $8,234, Norway $6,500, SIDA $50,000 and 32,800 litre/kg of pesticides, Japan 88,600 litre/kg of pesticides and South Korea 38,800 litre/kg of pesticides.

The current rains, if not heavy enough, may still facilitate the reproductive cycle of armyworms in those areas of the country in which the food supply situation has already drastically deteriorated. Therefore, it is necessary to expedite control operations and mobilise available resources to completely contain any occurrence or re-infestation.


Region 1 (Tigray)
Tigray, a chronically food deficient area, received very low rainfall this year which resulted in the failure of the Belg rains. Parts of Tigray, which has suffered 96% Belg crop loss, have been affected by severe outbreaks of armyworm and are potentially vulnerable to problems if the Meher season harvest is also a failure.

Region 2 (Afar)
Although the Afar Region, a predominantly pastoral area, has not yet received any rain, the area has recently been subject to floods as a result of highland rains. SCF/USA is currently carrying out an assessment in the region and will start food distributions following this survey.

Region 3 (North and South Welo zones)
The Belg season has completely failed in South Welo zone of Region 3, with the total crop loss expected to be approximately 95% according to the zonal Ministry of Agriculture. Also, due to poor rains in the eastern lowlands, the Afar are migrating to the higher pastures of South Welo, leading to land disputes and insecurity, and increasing the number of the population in need.

North Welo, which is not generally dependent on the Belg rains, has also suffered in the eastern lowlands which are traditionally Belg-dependent. With a late start of the Kremt rains in North and South Welo, and inadequate coverage in the eastern lowlands, certain areas still face potential deterioration.

Armyworm infestations, initially controlled in most areas, have recurred and efforts are ongoing to allocate pesticides and equipment to affected weredas. Emergency food planning and distributions by the major NGOs are carried out mostly on a month-to-month basis as it is difficult to maintain an exact number of the beneficiaries in the worst affected weredas.

Region 3 (North and South Gonder zones)
The Kremt rains have started late in some areas of North and South Gonder zone and are not yet consistent in the lowlands. While there is potential for a good Meher harvest, it is still too early to assess the outcome of the season.

The Kremt rains are making access difficult in the more remote areas receiving relief food assistance and in some areas only limited quantities of food have reached populations in need.

Region 3 (North Oromo zone)

According to the zonal administration in South Welo, a new zone, "North Oromo zone" has been established in Region 3. North Oromo zone covers the weredas of Dawe, Artuma, Bati, Esseye Gula and Kemisse, formerly part of South Welo zone and two weredas of Ataye and Sambete, formerly part of North Shewa zone. The administrative centre of this zone is currently Dessie but is expected to move to Kemisse.

Region 4 (East and West Hararghe zones)
In East and West Hararghe zones, the Kremt rains which were very late in starting, delayed planting for the Meher season. Also, much of the young crop in these areas was damaged by an outbreak of armyworm. This infestation has now been eradicated from this area by the Ministry of Agriculture control operation.

Southern Ethiopian People's Administration (North Omo zone)
Although the situation in Wolayita is improving due to the start of the Belg harvest, the late Belg rains significantly delayed the next cropping cycle and may eventually endanger the Meher harvest. In this densely populated area, agriculture as a means of subsistence is reaching its limits, and is frequently disrupted by weather changes and pest infestation. In order to prevent future emergencies, it is necessary to closely monitor the situation and maintain preparedness measures. Intensive labour programmes and alternative long-term employment activities should also be introduced and encouraged as a possible solution to a potentially recurring problem.


At the end of July, given total pledges of 952,000 tons, deliveries of 396,000 tons, stocks in harbour of 120,000 tons and confirmed shipments of 126,000, the pipeline remains strong and can easily meet the internal delivery requirement. With an estimated port balance at Assab of 135,000 tons at the end of August, heavy congestion is likely unless off-take can be increased.

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


Off-take from Assab was at 2,000 tons per day in mid-month, and from Assab and Massawa together, averaged at approximately 2376 tons per day between 25 June and 29 July. However, the increased combined off-take of food and fertilizer from Assab which reached 3,600 tons in the last week of July, illustrates that an average off-take of 3,000 tons of food per day should be an achievable target.

The factors responsible for the current stock build-up at Assab include the re-organisation of EFTC which considerably reduced the transport capacity of this transport corporation and under-utilisation of the private sector transport facilities.It is hoped that with more efficient use of available long haul trucks and better monitoring of truck movements, offtake will improve.

The Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR)

Following requests by voluntary agencies, the Emergency Food Security Reserve issued its remaining stock of 10,000 tons of cereals in July. During the period between January and July 1994, the Reserve provided loans totalling 97,000 tons to 13 non-governmental and 2 governmental organisations. The build-up of the EFSR stocks is scheduled to take place until the end of the year.



Although an outbreak of Acute Diarrhoeal Disease earlier this year has been controlled, preventive measures are ongoing to control future outbreaks of the disease. UNICEF also expects to receive supplies of 250,000 sachets of ORS as a preparatory measure to meet any potential recurrence of the disease.

Support to health services

A mission headed by the UNICEF Representative visited the drought-affected areas of North Omo zone. The mission also visited ongoing projects supported by the WFP/UNICEF Feeding Programme. Following this visit, it was concluded that UNICEF would meet the shortfall of EPI supplies in the area; support EPI and ORT related training requirements of health workers; increase its support for micro-nutrient supplementation; and assist North Omo zone with anti-malaria and de-worming drugs.

During July, the joint WFP/UNICEF Feeding Programme provided food aid, essential drugs and vaccinations for a total of 89,403 beneficiaries in Boloso Sure, Boreda, Damot Gale, Humbo, Kindo Koisha and Kucha weredas of North Omo zone. This programme also supplied the RRC, Catholic Church, CONCERN and Interaide (France) with supplementary food assistance. The operation will continue for another three months. UNICEF dispatched an additional 35 tons of Faffa for the feeding programme in Wolayita.

A team of UNICEF Emergency Officers visited Region 2 (Afar) to assess the effects of drought. Insufficient data on the affected population and health situation has hindered UNICEF-assisted projects in the region. However, the team concluded that levels of nutritional status of women and children were generally satisfactory and not as severe as in Wolayita. Nevertheless, in order to assist the Region, UNICEF plans to provide the RRC with a list of relief material available in the UNICEF warehouse, deliver 25 tons of supplementary food assistance to be administered by health centres in Region 2 and closely monitor an outbreak of Acute Diarrhoeal Disease in a village in the region.

Rehabilitation of health facilities

During the past month, a total of $573,503 was allocated by WHO for the completion of health care facilities currently under construction. Also, a list of medical equipment for distribution to these health facilities was completed.

Water supply

Under a previous agreement, UNICEF provided 10 motorised pumps totalling $96,000 to the Region 2 (Afar) Administration as well as vehicles to the Region 2, 3 (Amhara) and 4 (Oromo) Administrations to assist in UNICEF-supported emergency water project activities.

An Action Plan for a water supply project, funded by the Italian Government in Eastern Hararghe zone of Region 4 (Oromia), was completed during the month of July. A second Action Plan regarding a water supply project in Region 5 (Somali), to be financed from allocated UNICEF emergency funds, has also been completed.


Dispersal programme

The Dollo dispersal operation in Region 5 (Somali), which started in early June has been temporarily discontinued. Discussions and enquiries are ongoing to resolve the food distribution problems in the region. It is hoped that an early settlement will be reached in order to resume the programme.

Sudanese refugees
The assisted population reached 48,840 with the following breakdown: Bonga 14,892, Fugnido 22,789 and Dimma 11,159. The new arrivals continue to be processed at Tharpham (Itang) in Region 12 (Gambella). The rate of influx of Sudanese refugees into western Ethiopia is on the increase. The total number of new arrivals during July was 2,107, with a daily average of 71.

There are currently 771 new asylum seekers waiting to be transferred to their respective sites but who have faced some delays due to lack of transportation and bad road conditions. Reasons for continued asylum seeking are persisting civil strife, insecurity, acute food shortages and prevailing epidemics in South Sudan.

Farming activities are underway with the onset of the main season rains. A total of 404 hectares have been cultivated in the western programme areas with the following breakdown: Bonga 212 ha., Fugnido 150 ha., and Dimma 42 ha. 80% of the total cultivated land has been sown with sorghum and planting of the remaining 20% is ongoing. UNHCR has distributed adequate seeds and farm tools to the sites.

Some Sudanese refugees were assisted by the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) in tracing and corresponding with relatives in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya. In Bonga, 31 Uduk family members have succeeded in receiving replies from relatives in Kakuma camp.

With the continued influx of Sudanese refugees into the country, there is an increasing need for expansion of the shelter in Dimma to accommodate new arrivals. UNHCR is exploring the possibility of either expanding the Fugnido camp or obtaining alternative sites.

Somali refugees
Food distribution to Somali refugees in the east was suspended while discussions were held between WFP and the ARRA regarding the theoretical planning figure of the number of beneficiaries. According to WFP, the planning figure should be 205,000 people whereas the ARRA estimates that an additional 20,000 refugees living outside the camps and receiving rations should also be included in the distribution plan.

An agreement was reached at the local level between the concerned organisations, allowing immediate distribution using the WFP allocation figure until a revalidation exercise takes place. The date of this revalidation exercise is not yet known, although it is believed to be imminent.

In the meantime, a demonstration was organised by some refugee representatives in Darwanaji, protesting the reduction of food rations.

Kenyan refugees
A proposal was presented by the Negelle Task Force to settle the majority of Kenyan refugees in 'El Kalu. However, due to disputes on the regional boundaries between ethnic clans in the area, this proposal is being revised by the ARRA.

Urban refugees
In addition to approximately 400 cases of urban refugees, an influx of 136 individual cases from different countries to Addis Ababa was recorded with a breakdown of North Sudan (6), Zaire (8), Yemen (89), Rwanda (12), Burundi (8), Angola (10) and Lesotho (3). Following the determination of the status of the Individual Cases (ICs) by the Eligibility Committee, 87 ICs were admitted on the urban assistance programme. This brings the cumulative figure of urban refugees to 536.


Repatriation from the Sudan
Returnees to Abdurafi in Region 3 (Amhara) have faced problems of land, health, water, and food availability. The administration, however, has obtained land for distribution to the returnees.

Repatriation from Kenya
In the south, an average of 5 kg of improved seeds per household and 1,419 oxen with accessories were distributed to the returnees and local population in Negelle area.

Repatriation to Somalia
The total population interested in voluntary repatriation to Somalia has now reached 2,000. In Kebribeyah, 79 heads of households with a total of 520 people, surrendered their ration cards in exchange for the "pre-operation" package of food and plastic tarpaulin. Moreover, the ARRA has deducted from the list of beneficiaries 571 individuals who have already benefitted from the pre-operation package.

Individual repatriation
During the month of July, a total of 6 individual cases were repatriated from Kenya, Djibouti and the Sudan, and were assisted with a two-month food ration. Large-scale organised repatriation, however, remains pending the clearance of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia.

A project agreement with the ARRA to facilitate the repatriation of approximately 15,000 Ethiopian refugees from various countries has been finalised. This operation covers 10,000 persons from Djibouti, 4,500 from Kenya, 300 from Yemen and about 200 from other countries.

Table I 

Status of 1994 import requirements and pledges as of 29 July (MT)
 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 requirement 
Revised net import requirement  (April 94) 
Total pledges 956,392 
Shortfall against    
revised requirement 

Table II

Status of 1994 deliveries and confirmed/unconfirmed shipments as of 29 July (MT)
Total 1994 pledges (all categories)
Total deliveries 
Balance due
Total confirmed arrivals
Unconfirmed arrivals due

Table III

Status of ports for the period between 25 June and 29 July 1994, including refugee and returnee (MT)
Month opening balance
Arrivals during month 
Total available
Offtake during month
Closing balance
Note: Massawa figures include Ethiopia stocks only.
         WFP Addis Ababa report no information received for Djibouti offtake between 25.06 to 14.07 and 16.07 to 29.07. 


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.
4 August, 1994

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