Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia

 JULY 1995

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

Table of Contents 


Emergency operations

Relief food distributions and a relatively promising belg crop currently being harvested have contributed to improving the situation in the traditionally food insecure areas of Ethiopia. A generally satisfactory belg harvest is expected in the lowland areas of Welo (Amhara Region) and Tigray. At higher altitudes, however, the late onset of belg rains combined with an uneven distribution, have resulted in crop losses in pocket areas. Vulnerable groups with limited access to land and other resources, such as resettlers, displaces persons and ex-soldiers continue to be particularly at risk as they benefit less from a good harvest. Therefore, relief assistance in the highlands and for vulnerable groups will need to be continued at least until the harvest of main season crops (meher) at the end of the year.(1)


Revitalisation of IGADD

A Steering Committee, comprised of representatives of the UN system, and a somewhat smaller technical Working Group, were established in early July to review the five year programme of the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development, discuss UN activities in the IGADD region and to identify possible areas of collaboration with IGADD. Among the measures so far taken by this Steering Committee is the preparation of a situation analysis of IGADD activities and priorities as well as a discussion paper on areas of possible co-operation between the UN and IGADD. In the weeks preceding the next Heads of State Summit, scheduled to take place in early September, UN agencies have been requested to review their own programmes in the light of the new IGADD mandate and strategic areas of priority. The objective would be to establish, in consultation with other UN offices in the region, linkage with subregional activities or new subregional approaches that would assist the UN in developing a realistic strategy of co-operation between the UN system and IGADD. The framework developed by the UN would subsequently be presented to the IGADD Heads of State Summit.

UN Secretary General's Visit to Ethiopia

United Nations Secretary-General, Dr. Boutros Boutros Ghali visited Addis Ababa 17 to 18 July 1995 to hold meetings with the Ethiopian President and the Secretary-General of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) on recent developments in the seven African countries of Egypt, Angola, Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, Uganda. Among the issues discussed by the UN and OAU counterparts were the efforts undertaken towards strengthening the OAU mechanism for conflict resolution, training of African peacekeepers and co-operation between the United Nations and the OAU. Also discussed were recent developments in the Horn of Africa, Western Sahara, Angola and Liberia, both in the context of the political environment and regional initiatives as well as social and economic issues.


UNDP Programme implementation

The Prime Minister's Office of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia has issued a directive setting up a high level administrative organ mandated to co-ordinate, monitor, expedite and steer the successful implementation of National Programmes. This Committee is comprised of the Head of the Regional Affairs Section of the Prime Minister's Office, the Economic Advisor to the President, and the Vice Ministers of Finance, External Economic Co-operation, Planning and Economic Development. The work of this Committee is facilitated by a technical team comprised of the National Programme Co-ordinators of the six National Programmes as well as representatives of the Ministry of External Economic Co-operation and the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.

In support of this initiative of the TGE, the United Nations Development Programme organised two retreats during the period April to June 1995, with the participation of UN specialised agencies and the national implementing agents of the Government. The objective of these meetings was to discuss the national execution modalities, UNDP's mandate in support of the National Programmes, the challenges of resource mobilisation and utilisation, and aid co-ordination for National Programmes. During the second retreat, special emphasis was placed on orienting the national implementing agents on the concepts and definitions involved in implementing National Programmes, delineating responsibilities and addressing remaining constraints prior to the implementation phase. With the clarification of remaining constraints regarding programme approach and national implementation, UNDP-supported national programme implementation has now been started in Ethiopia. An additional meeting between UN agencies and national implementing counterparts is currently being planned to review the commenced national programme implementation.

Regional Forum on Women

A five day regional conference of women leaders was organised in Addis Ababa between 24-28 July, in preparation for the Fourth World Conference on Women scheduled to take place in Beijing, September 1995. The objective of the regional meeting was to provide an open forum to discuss issues of concern regarding the role of women in the development of African societies and to establish a unified approach in the presentation of the problems facing African women at the Beijing Conference.

World Population Day

The World Population Day was observed on 11 July at a gathering of Government officials and representatives of the international community. The occasion served as a platform to review past performances of population programmes in Ethiopia and discuss new directives that need to be initiated. Among the issues emphasised was the need to seek a sustainable solutions to the immediate problems facing the population. Improving co-ordination mechanisms between the implementing bodies working towards the harmonisation of population and development programmes was another issue given special attention.


Weather update

According to the National Meteorological Services Agency, the main kiremt rains, which started in June from the south-western parts of the country, have extended to the east and north-east covering most meher-dependent areas except some parts of northern Ethiopia. Heavy rainfall was reported in north-western Oromiya Region and the Southern Region in July.

1995 belg and meher harvest prospects

The belg crop, harvested between June and August, normally contributes about 6% of Ethiopia's total annual cereal production but has important regional impact on food availability. This year's general outlook for the belg season is favourable and the harvest is expected to be substantially above the 1994 harvest. Early indicators also suggest that the main kiremt rains will follow a normal pattern in most of the country giving reason for good harvest expectations.

However, a reservation must be made for Tigray Region, a chronically food deficit area, where the delay in the start of the kiremt rains has adversely affected the normal planting time of wheat and barley. A protracted dry spell in this area will have potentially serious consequences for these long maturing meher crops. Recent surveys by CARE Ethiopia indicate that erratic rainfall at the beginning of the month in East and West Hararghe zones (Oromiya Region) may have also damaged meher crops in the lowlands.

Locust situation

An outbreak of African migratory locust reported in Afar Region at the beginning of July was effectively controlled by the Desert Locust Control Organisation for Eastern Africa (DLCO/EA) and the regional Bureau of Agriculture. Isolated outbreaks of migratory locust reported in North Shewa zone of Amhara region were also controlled by the zonal Bureau of Agriculture with the assistance of non-governmental organisations.

The DLCO continues ground surveillance in the Afar Region, especially along the bordering areas of Tigray where there have been recent reports of migratory locust infestations. Survey teams are also monitoring the national boundaries, to counter possible migrations of desert locust, moving inland from breeding sites along the coastal plains of the Red Sea.

Fertiliser situation

Fertiliser procurement for the 1995 main cropping season through the Agricultural Inputs Supply Corporation (AISCO) and the private company Amalgamated so far amounts to 285,772 tons, including 1994 carry over stocks. Of this amount, a total of 220,976 tons have been moved to AISCO warehouses and marketing centres.

As at mid-July, fertiliser sales in the local markets amount to a total of 129,000 tons. 1994 credit repayments are ongoing, with loans collected by the Development Bank of Ethiopia and the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia reaching birr 167 million as at mid-July. Loan approval is also proceeding with over birr 65 million of credit granted by July for the main cropping season.


During July, several assessments were carried by the National Early Warning Department and Regional Bureaux of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission of crop performance in the major belg-producing areas of Ethiopia, in order to establish relief requirements for the remainder of the year. These assessments included the rainfed and irrigated areas of Tigray Region, North and South Welo zones (Amhara Region), North Shewa zone (Amhara Region), Wolayita area and North Omo zone (Southern Region).

Recent nutritional surveys indicate that although nutritional status deteriorated in areas of the country during the first few month of 1995, the situation has gradually improved in many places due to timely relief assistance and improved early warning systems on the ground. In Wolayita, which is a perennial problem area in terms of food security, increased relief distributions and regular monitoring have positively contributed to the stability of the food economy this year, despite a less than optimum belg season. A recent assessment carried by SCF (UK) indicates an improvement in the general nutritional status in this area in comparison to 1994. In South Welo, where the nutritional level was dramatically deteriorating, emergency interventions and supplementary feeding have also assisted in alleviating a critical situation. Surveys by SCF (UK) in the rural highland areas of Tigray, however, have revealed low levels of weight for length. These areas will require close monitoring, especially if the current trends continue and the main kiremt rains are inadequate.


Food aid status

As at 28 July, pledges against the 1995 total requirement of 1,032,000 tons amount to 633,773 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 420,900 has been pledged leaving a shortfall of 6,100 tons for relief and regular programmes.(2)

This assumes that the WFP emergency operation commitment of 60,900 tons of grain would be fully resourced, whereas so far only a 15,000 tons pledge from the Government of the United States has been confirmed for this programme. Total deliveries to Ethiopia by the end of June stand at 144,339 tons or 34% of the pledged quantity against the 1995 relief and regular requirements.

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

Emergency Food Security Reserve

The Relief and Rehabilitation Commission and several NGOs involved in relief programmes are currently sustaining their operations through borrowings from the Emergency Food Security Reserve against expected shipments scheduled to arrive later in the year. The Reserve has a physical stock of 40,000 tons excluding outstanding loans.

Refugee and returnee operations

During July, food rations were provided by WFP for a total 266,515 refugees from Somalia, 57,213 from Sudan, 18,000 from Djibouti and 8,200 from Kenya. WFP also provided an arrival and reintegration food supply package to 2,282 refugees who repatriated to Ethiopia from neighbouring Djibouti.

The refugee food pipeline remains precarious with no confirmed grain shipments after July, and the project will therefore have to rely on borrowings from the EFSR from this period onwards in order to avoid interruptions in distributions.



A malaria epidemic reported in the Amhara Region during June and July was effectively controlled by the regional Administration and Bureau of Health. A training programme

supported by MSF Holland, continues to provide training in malaria control to health workers assigned to Afder zone in Oromiya Region, an area also prone to outbreaks. This course is expected to reach to end in August 1995.

Acute Diarrhoeal Disease

According to reports from the zonal Health Department of North Gonder zone (Amhara Region), an epidemic of Acute Diarrhoeal Disease (ADD), which started in Belessa wereda, has gradually spread to the periphery of Gonder town. The disease is reported to be resistant to most antibiotics, except Gentamicin, which is expensive and in short supply. Control measures are being taken by the zonal Department of Health, however, assistance is required in terms of provision of medical supplies.

Given recurrent incidences of Acute Diarrhoeal Diseases, UNICEF is reviewing their technical assistance programme to sanitation personnel working at health institutions in emergency prone areas of Ethiopia. In this regard, an assessment visit was undertaken by a UNICEF consultant to Humera (Tigray Region), Abderafi and Metema in South Welo zone (Amhara Region) and East Shewa, Arsi and Borena (Oromiya Region). The mission report indicates that inputs in Humera and South Welo and have positively contributed to an increase in sanitary measures taken at local levels.

Support to health services

Teams of UNICEF Emergency Officers visited UNICEF-supported project areas in South Welo zone (Amhara Region), where emergency interventions have been ongoing for the past few months. In response to the recommendations of the team and the continued need for assistance, relief supplies and equipment were delivered to the different project sites. Cash funding was also provided to the zonal Department of Health for the training of 51 health workers and the local purchase of supplementary food (Famix).

Emergency water supply

A joint mission was undertaken by representatives of the Government of Italy and UNICEF Emergency Field Officers to water and sanitation project sites in Gursum, Babile and Fedis weredas of Eastern Hararghe zone (Oromiya Region), funded by Italy. The objective of the mission was to monitor the progress in project implementation and make necessary recommendations.

During the same period, a joint mission by the Swiss Disaster Relief (SDR) and UNICEF was undertaken to Gode town (Somali Region) to brief the zonal authorities on the main objectives of the Gode Water System project and seek local support for project implementation. The mission visited project sites and discussed preparatory activities that need to be in place before implementation starts in August 1995. This project will be implemented jointly by UNICEF and SDR, with funding support from the Governments of the United Kingdom and Switzerland.


Sudanese refugees
An estimated 1,000 unaccompanied minors from various ethnic backgrounds (Nibian, Dinka and Nuer) crossed into Ethiopia from Nassir area in July, having initially fled into Mawit before the recapturing of the town by government forces in March 1995. Following registration, the new arrivals were transferred to Fugindo camp. general nutritional status of these refugees seems satisfactory despite the long period of time they have spent in transit between Mawit and Gambella.

The assisted population in the western refugee settlement areas has reached 57,225 with the following breakdown: Bonga 15,469; Fugnido 31,704; and Dimma 10,052. This includes the new influx in July.

Somali refugees
The security situation around Burao, North-west Somalia, has not shown any improvement in the past weeks and sporadic fighting is still reported between rival groups. A steady influx continues into Ethiopia as a result of the current situation. During July, the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) listed a total of 1,090 new arrivals at Daror, primarily from Burao. This brings the number of assisted population at Daror to 32,703 and the total refugee population in the eastern camps to 275,189.


Repatriation from Djibouti
Following an agreement between the governments of Djibouti and Ethiopia to start the last phase of Ethiopian repatriation from Djibouti to Dire Dawa, A mission from ARRA visited Djibouti in early July to finalise transport arrangements with the Government of Djibouti. The agreement stipulates that the refugees would be repatriated at an average rate of 2,000 per week. If this proves feasible, the mass repatriation of Ethiopians from Djibouti would be completed within two weeks.

Repatriation recommenced in July, bringing a total of 2,282 Ethiopians between 17 and 24 July. It is anticipated that a total of 15,000 Ethiopians may repatriate during this final phase.

Individual repatriation
A total of seven Ethiopian refugees individually repatriated from Kenya during the month of July.

Table I

Status of 1995 import requirements and pledges as of 1 August 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


420,900 0 212,873 27,275 0 633,773


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 1 August (MT) -

cereals and pulses

Total 1995 pledges (all categories) 633,773

Total deliveries 167,454_

Balance due 521,908

Total confirmed arrivals 84,498

Unconfirmed arrivals due 437,410

Table III

Status of ports for the period between 1 July - 28 July 1995, including refugees and returnees (MT)

Assab Djibouti Massawa

Month opening balance 43,544 608 0

Arrivals during month 49,370 330 4,000_

Total available 92,914 1,327 4,000

Offtake during month 35,448 719 0

Closing balance 57,446 1,016 4,000

Note: 1. Djibouti and Massawa indicate Ethiopia figures only

1. The main season harvest in Ethiopia normally takes place between November and December.

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


Information in this report is obtained from specialised UN agencies and NGO reports. Reference is made to any other source of information as necessary. Other references to areas and territories and regional names do not imply the opinion of the UN system whatsoever.

1 August, 1995

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