Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia

July 1999

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.




General Events and Developments
Investment Guide for Ethiopia published: An investment guide to Ethiopia that provides a listing of specific investment opportunities in the country has been posted on the Internet (www.ipanet.net/unctad/investmentguide/ethiopia/ethiopia.htm) the Ethiopian Investment Authority (EIA) announced. The guide, prepared with the support of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), gives "a broad overview of the current investment opportunities and prevailing socio-economic and political conditions". Contained in the guide are also lists of current investors and areas of investment in Ethiopia. It furthermore gives "general guidance on the necessary legal and other issues related to undertaking investment in Ethiopia", the authority said. Over the period between 1992/1993 and 1998/99, EIA approved 163 foreign investment projects of which 21 have become operational and 49 are under implementation. These include a five-star hotel, a major brewery, a shoe manufacturing plant and investments in edible oils and bottling. Italy, Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and the US are currently the main sources of foreign investment in Ethiopia. The guide was launched in Geneva the presence of UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Ethiopia is one of five least developed countries on which such a guide has been prepared. The private paper Reporter (July 7) said that the London-based consultants, Price Waterhouse Coopers and the investment Authority took part in the preparation of the guide that took six months to complete. (Seven Days Update, July 12)

Ethiopia to launch anti-malaria campaign: The Ethiopian health authorities have called on people to fully participate in the anti-malaria campaign due to start in August. Daniel Kebede, a senior official of the Ministry of Health, told local reporters that governmental organisations as well as the public should join hands to contain the spread of malaria, which is becoming increasingly prevalent in the Horn of Africa. (Xinhua, July 27)

1999 National Vaccination Campaign receives support from Japan: The Government of Japan has donated some 2.7 million dollars to Ethiopia through the United Nations Children’s Fund for Ethiopia’s National Vaccination Campaign expected to take place November 5–7 and December 3-5. The money is to be used for the purchase of vaccines against polio and measles, the provision of essential equipment and attendant services connected with the 1999 campaign, according to the Ethiopian News Agency. According to Japanese ambassador to Ethiopia, Tekehisa Nogami, the Japanese fund would cover about 89 percent of cost in the immunisation campaign that is to be conducted in all 529 districts of the country. (Xinhua, July 27; AFP, 29 July)

Ethiopia coffee exports decline in 1998/99: Ethiopian coffee exports fell in the 1998/99 fiscal year to 122,000 metric tonnes from a record 136,000 tonnes the previous year according to the country’s coffee authority. The General Manager of Ethiopia’s Coffee and Tea Development Authority, Tsegaye Berhane, told Reuters that the total revenue for the year ending July 7 1999 fell sharply to US $319.3 million from US $452.6 million the previous year. He said 103,000 metric tonnes of coffee had already been exported, while export contracts had been signed for the remaining 19,000 tonnes which would be shipped in the next few months. Tsegaye said Ethiopia had hoped to boost export volumes to 137,000 tonnes in 1998/99, but bumper harvests in Brazil and other major producers had forced global coffee prices to slump. Despite this years disappointing performance, Tsegaye said he hoped Ethiopia would be ready to export organically grown coffee next year, as the process of international certification has been completed. "Our traditional buyers from all over the world have conducted a study tour of Ethiopia’s coffee growing regions and have recognised that the country’s coffee is naturally grown and organic" he said. "But the absence of the international certification authority which determines that a country’s coffee is naturally grown inhibited Ethiopia from earning the value it deserved for its quality commodity for a long time," he said. Ethiopian coffee is divided into three categories by the national coffee authority. Forest coffee, which is grown in the country’s western regions where self-sown wild coffee trees grow, covers about 50 percent of the total annual production. Garden coffee, grown at low density around homes of small holder peasant farmers, accounts for around 45 percent and plantation coffee accounts for the remaining five percent. Ethiopia is Africa’s third biggest coffee producer after Ivory Coast and Uganda. Its potential annual production is estimated at between 200,000 and 250,000 tonnes. Coffee is Ethiopia’s major export commodity accounting for over 60 percent of annual foreign currency earnings. (Reuters, July 27; AP 29 July)

Fuel prices to remain unchanged: The Ministry of Trade and Industry has issued fuel price control regulations that went into effect on July 29. In a statement, the Ministry said that while the world price of petroleum products had shot up sharply and the exchange rate of the Birr against the dollar had jumped from 7.65 to 8.192, a depreciation of over 7 percent, fuel prices in Ethiopia would be held at their current levels. The statement said that a fuel price adjustment study had been prepared following instructions given by the Council of Ministers. Following an examination of the study and after taking into consideration the expenses and costs borne by organisations and individuals engaged in the trade, on July 23 the Council of Ministers decided that despite the unfavourable world market petroleum product prices should remain unchanged for the next three months. The price controls apply to super and regular benzene, kerosene and diesel oil. (WIC, July 29)

Ethiopian Airlines registers profit: Ethiopian Airlines earned profits of 43.8 million birr (about 5.5 million dollars) for the 1997/1998 financial year the airlines announced in its annual report. The General Manager, Bisrat Nigatu, said in the report weekly services to Washington and New York in the United States had helped boost profits for the 19th consecutive year. The Ethiopian national carrier plans to open new routes to Lusaka, Zambia, Kuwait City and Tel Aviv, during the current financial year, while the airline plans to open a new route to Copenhagen before the end of 1999. Ethiopian Airlines was established 52 years ago with international flights between Addis Ababa and Cairo. Presently, it operates 47 international flights, 25 of them in Africa. (PANA, August 3)

Ethiopia starts exporting TV sets: Ethiopia has become a television set exporter after the first batch of TV sets was exported to Zimbabwe. About 100 21–inch TV sets were transported to Zimbabwe according to, Tebarek Hassen, executive manager of the United Tebarek and family Private Limited Company. Tebarek said Zimbabwean businessmen had signed an agreement with his company to import 1,000 21-inch TV sets during the next six months. In addition to Zimbabwe, he said, Tanzania, among other African countries, is also conducting market studies to import TV sets from the new assembly plant, which imports parts from Turkey. Tebarek said the factory would beef up its effort to increase its production capacity employing from 100 to 1,500 people following the completion of its expansion programme. (Xinhua, August 3)

An extremely poor belg season in 1999, poor responses to appeals for food assistance in previous years and an initially slow response to this year’s appeals from the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) continue to raise concerns about the prevailing food security situation in Ethiopia. While the belg harvest supplies just five to seven percent of Ethiopia’s national harvest annually, it supplies up to seventy percent of the harvest in heavily belg-dependent pockets, predominately in Amhara region, leaving people in those areas without food resources until around July/August 2000.

Long range forecasts predict deficient main season (kiremt) rainfall in eastern Tigray, eastern Amhara and parts of northern Somali region and the surroundings, all of which are already severely affected by drought. The rain has started in most of the affected areas of South Welo, North Shewa, East Hararghe and Tigray. However there are reports that they are scanty, erratic and, according to FAO, in severely drought affected areas of Welo such as Alamata, Raya and Azebo there has been no rain at all. The anticipated rainfall situation over most parts of kiremt benefiting areas would favour agricultural activities but the scattered heavy storms that often characterise rainfall during the latter part of the season, could result in crop damage in some low lying areas, water logging and physical crop damage if accompanied by hail and strong wind.

Since the last appeal of the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (released May 27) a significant improvement has taken place with regard to the donor response and the movement of relief food to affected areas is underway while cash is also being given/loaned to farmers to purchase seeds for next year. Although relief food is being transported to drought affected areas, because enough grain was not pre-positioned earlier in the season, moving a sufficient quantity of grain to maintain planned distributions has not been easy. This problem has also reportedly been compounded by logistical difficulties due to shortage of suitable trucks. In addition, in some remote areas of south west Welo and North Shewa, the roads are inaccessible due to rain. Where grain has been delivered, there are complaints that the ration of 12.5 kilograms of grain per person per month is not enough to sustain the recipients.

The government is trying to distribute cash to farmers for the purchase of seed through their respective wereda (district) councils. According to the Ethiopian News Agency, more than 2.6 million birr (US $320,000) and 534 metric tonnes of seeds are being distributed among farmers in South Welo Zone. The zonal administration there said the farmers will use the money being provided to them as a loan to purchase seeds. The programme is funded jointly by the Ethiopian Government and the Christian Relief and Development Agency (CRDA). A total of about four million birr is reported to have been allocated to South Welo farmers. Also in Amhara region, the Federal Government has allocated 13 million birr (US $ 1.6 million) for farmers to buy improved seeds for this cropping season. In East Hararghe Zone, Oromiya State, the Federal DPPC told ENA that 612 metric tonnes of seed have been distributed to farmers in four weredas. The seeds were purchased with funds donated by six non-governmental organizations operating in the zone.

Regrettably, the seeds intended to be purchased for the current crop year may not be readily available on local markets. If they are, without adequate relief assistance farmers may be obliged to consumed them for reasons of survival. Many farmers have also lost their oxen due to the drought and may not be in a position to take up their normal farming activities. Farm oxen have perished by the thousands during the drought, as reported in last month’s situation report. In some instances, farmers are replacing them with donkeys.

In addition to Government efforts to support farmers through cash grant/loan programmes for seeds, FAO is distributing wheat and teff seeds for the meher planting season in five drought affected zones of Amhara region (Wag Hamra, North Welo, South Welo, Oromiya and North Shewa). This ongoing programme involves the distribution of 1,172 MT of wheat seeds, 342 MT of teff and 53,821 pieces of basic farm tools to over 40,000 farming families. Although the meher growing season is well advanced, late planted seed such as chickpeas are still possible and will also be provided by FAO. From its own regular funds, FAO has approved a further US $400,000 for the purchase of 1,000 MT of chick peas and teff seeds to be distributed to over 100,000 families in the most severely drought affected areas of Tigray and Amhara regions.

This response by FAO to the drought emergency is part of a UN Country Team Relief Action Plan and Appeal for Severely Drought affected areas of Ethiopia launched in mid July. The appeal calls for US $ 7.5 million in donor contributions towards a range of interventions in health, water and sanitation, seed supply and livestock support plus food aid amounting to 93,600 MT of cereals for the WFP emergency relief operation (EMOP 6143). Of the non-food requirement, US $2.2 million has now been resourced. In addition to FAO and WFP, other UN agencies participating in the Relief Action Plan include: UNICEF (health, EPI, water and sanitation, shelter); WHO (basic medical supplies); UNFPA (reproductive health); UN Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (monitoring and reporting); and, UNDP (support for UNCT co-ordination and logistics).

Table I below provides a summary of the response to the UNCT appeal as of August 11.


Table I: Summary of response to the UNCT drought appeal 
Food and Non-food  
Appeal Amount Response Outstanding Requirement
I. Food
Food Requirement  
(WFP EMOP 6143)
103,253 MT  
(cereals & non-cereals)
87,605 MT
5,995 MT
II. Non-food
Supplementary Food
$ 1,500,584
$ 414,600
$ 2,819,688
$ 590,550
$ 2,229,138
$ 330,000
$ 135,300
$ 194,700
Water and Sanitation
$ 1,773,000
$ 547,250
$ 1,225,750
$ 1,008,000
$ 505,000
$ 503,000
$ 18,000
$ 18,000
$ 0
Total Non-food 
$ 7,449,272
$ 2,210,700
$ 5,238,572

Impact of drought on agricultural economy of East/North East Ethiopia
East and West Hararghe Zones of Oromiya State

A rapid belg harvest assessment was conducted from 5-9 July by the CARE Ethiopia Food Information System (CEFIS) in CARE operational areas of East and West Hararghe Zones of Oromiya State. In the two zones, belg crops such as barley, wheat, oats, haricot bean, maize and Irish potato are usually planted in February/March with harvesting taking place between June and July. Long-cycle meher crops, (sorghum and maize), are planted during March to May for harvesting between October and December. The belg rains are also important for improving pasture and water availability for livestock, particularly in the lowland agro-pastoral areas of the two zones.

The CEFIS report indicates that the onset of the meher rain at the end of June was on time and its amount and distribution was favorable. Transitory food insecurity is nevertheless forecasted for 1999 due to significant reduction in meher crop production during the 1998/99 main production season. In the lowland areas of East and West Hararghe, land preparation and planting time of long cycle meher crops was delayed due to inadequate amount and erratic distribution of rainfall during April and through to the end of June. When planting did take place, the area planted was less than usual and the resulting crop growth was much less than in normal production season. A significant reduction in meher production is therefore expected in places such as Miesso and the remaining lowland areas of East and West Hararghe.

In response to the drought, and based on findings of the annual FAO-supported pre-harvest assessment of the meher crop conducted in October/November 1998, relief measures had been launched in East and West Hararghe Administrative Zones since January and June 1999 respectively. The Oromiya DPPB has distributed a total 4,765 MT of cereals and 60 MT of supplementary food (Famix and biscuit) to the most needy population in CARE Ethiopia operational areas of East Hararghe between January and June 1999. Moreover, a total of 828 MT of cereals was distributed to 66,369 people in West Hararghe between the end of June and beginning of July 1999.

The report of the assessment proposed a number of recommendations as a matter of urgency. These included the recommendation that until the coming main harvesting time (October – December) regular food security assessments should be undertaken in both East and West Hararghe by the disaster prevention and preparedness committees at different levels in collaboration with CARE Ethiopia and other NGOs which are working in the two zones.

Ethiopian Somali Regional State

The Ogaden Welfare Society’s "Drought Situation Report" of July 1999 highlights a critical shortage of water due to recent rain failures adding that there has been little improvement in rainfall patterns this Gu season (April – June). The Gu rains have been intermittent and erratic with an average of 5-20 rainy days in total down from an average of 40–50 days of rain in a normal to good year. Expected improvements with the arrival of the Karan rainfall (July – Sept) have not taken place with some rainfall in the first two weeks and Warder and Jigjiga receiving better rain than the remaining zones. Although livestock herding dominates the food economy of the region, 70–80 percent of existing farming activity is concentrated on the production of maize and sorghum. The bulk of production comes from the agro-pastoralist sector which relies heavily on the use of traditional rain-fed farming systems. However, due to the poor rains there is no rain-fed irrigation this year and only 45 one cylinder pumps are being used for irrigation along Wabi Shebelle River at this time. In total these can irrigate an area of about 225 hectares with an expected yield of around 675 MT of maize and sorghum. OWS reports that while the little rain that fell in Jigjiga Zone enabled farmers to plant some crops these efforts were completely destroyed by an infestation of Armyworms earlier in the year. The report adds that without pasture and adequate water, the condition of livestock is deteriorating. Only in some parts of Korahai and Fik zones is there pasture but even here it is low in both digestibility and protein.

The distribution of 8,000 MT of food aid provided by WFP from May to July has brought about some improvements to the food security situation. Even so, the report argues that as the average household allocation is only 10 kg to 20 kg many families face difficulties making the ration last for the month. Apart from a further donation of 83 MT of food aid from CRDA distributed during the period March to June by OWS there has been no further food aid assistance to the region.

The report concludes that unless an immediate response is initiated the situation could deteriorate quickly into a full-scale emergency. Claiming that upwards of a million people are destitute and in need of assistance, the report recommends urgent action to secure additional food aid, undertake water tankering and provide veterinary drugs. In the medium term, the report recommends that assistance be provided to rehabilitate drought-affected farmers along the Shebelle river and from Jigjiga and Fik Zones, as well as to develop the water resources of the region, introduce food-for-work programmes and strengthen primary health care services at the district level.

Afar Region

The Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) in its Monthly Programme and Regional Update reports that from early July, the first rains of the expected main annual rainy season, Karma, began to fall. The Awash river is now full enabling the Afari pastoralists to launch their annual migration to grazing land in middle Awash and its valleys. What particularly affects the Afari pastoralists at present is the ongoing conflict with Eritrea which has not only disrupted normal migration patterns (especially into the fertile Baada area), but has also disrupted the traditional cross border trade with access to markets in Assab and other parts of Eritrea. The report says that since Assab is now inaccessible and Djibouti is not as yet a favoured market many of the animals are going to markets in the highlands or to the military in the north. Terms of trade are unfavourable with the sale of 20 goats required for the purchase of one bag of grain.

Weather Assessment

During the dekad June 21 – 30 a significant increase in rainfall activity was observed for northern, north western and parts of central and southern Ethiopia as compared to that of the preceding dekad. As a result, most parts of meher growing areas received normal to above normal rainfall.

From July 1 – 20 most parts of the country received falls greater than 50 mm. As a result, Tigray, most parts of Afar, Amhara and SNNP, central, parts of eastern and southern Oromiya, most parts of Benishangul-Gumuz and the north eastern margin of Somali experienced normal to above normal rainfall. Heavy falls ranging from 32 – 68 mm in one rainy day have also been recorded raising concerns that the continuation of such conditions could result in water logging as well as physical crop damage if it is accompanied with hail and strong winds. Particular areas of concern in this regard are the low-lying areas of Ethiopia.

From July 21 –31 most parts of central highlands, northern, north-western and parts of western Ethiopia experienced falls greater than 100 mm. As a result, most parts of central, northern, eastern, parts of north western and western including the north eastern lowlands of Ethiopia received normal to above normal rainfall. Heavy falls ranging from 30 – 74 mm in one rainy day were recorded during this period and the concern for water logging and crop damage continues. On the other hand, below to much below normal rainfall was observed over the Southern tip of Afar, pocket areas of north western Amhara, western, southern and parts of eastern Oromiya, most parts of SNNP, southern parts of Benishangul-Gumuz and few areas of northern Somali. Areas being closely monitored due to deficient rainfall activity are North and South Welo, South Tigray, North Shewa and North West Shewa zones of Oromiya region. The Lowlands of Somali and south eastern Oromiya had little or no rainfall.

The weather outlook for the first part of August was reported by the National Meteorological Services Agency to be normal with above normal rainfall expected over Tigray, Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, and the highlands of Somali. Gambella, western Oromiya, much of SNNP, Bale and Arsi are expected to have near normal rainfall. Southern and south eastern parts of the country will be partly cloudy with a chance of light rain in a few places.

Food Aid and Logistics

In response to the special appeals issued by the DPPC, United Nations and other agencies involved in monitoring the overall food security situation in Ethiopia there has been a significant increase in pledges over the last month. The special DPPC appeal issued on 27 May was again revised in July reflecting an outstanding cereal food assistance requirement of 386,586 MT for drought victims covering the period 1 June to 31 December 1999. When the United Nations Country Team issued the special Relief Action Plan and Appeal for Severely Drought Affected Areas of Ethiopia on 12 July only about 160,000 MT of the food had been pledged and there was an overall shortfall in pledges for drought victims of about 230,000 MT. Over the last month a substantial number of new pledges were announced by the United States, European Union, Norway, Spain and Danish Church Aid. These pledges, which were in addition to previous pledges announced by the US, Canada, UK and the Government of Ethiopia, have brought the total food aid pledges in response to the 27 May Appeal to about 369,205 MT, including a pending pledges from the European Union of 30,000 MT

Although the overall pledge situation for drought victims has improved dramatically, WFP remains concerned about the response to their Emergency Operation (EMOP 6080) for people displaced by the conflict with Eritrea. Recent donations have been received from the Government of Japan and the Netherlands but additional pledges are urgently needed. According to the DPPC, cereal requirements for the 384,858 war-displaced people in Tigray and Afar regions until September total 38,558 MT. The current WFP emergency operation is programmed to assist 272,000 displaced people for nine months and has a cereals component of 36,720 MT plus 8,631 MT of non-cereal and supplementary food. Distributions have been taking place according to schedule since the end of May but with the EMOP still facing a 26,206 MT shortfall in cereals (543 MT in supplementary food) WFP is concerned that existing stocks for distribution to the displaced will be exhausted within the next two months unless additional donor contributions are forthcoming.


Table II: Status of pledges against 1999 Food Aid Requirements - Cereals & Pulses
1999 Pledges
Relief (MT)
Regular (MT)
Monetisation (MT)
Deliveries as of 
Source: WFP; table covers period January 1 to August 10, 1999


According to information received from the Logistics Unit of DPPC, for the period April 1999 through 10 August the DPPC dispatched the following quantities of relief food to various destinations throughout Ethiopia:


Table III: Status of relief food deliveries (1 April - 10 August, 1999)
Quantity (MT)
Dire Dawa
 Emergency Food Security Reserve

Failure of the belg rains has resulted in food shortages in several parts of the country and this has generated a high demand on the Emergency Food Security Reserve. Grain loans mainly directed for emergency relief distribution and amounting to 132,535 MT have been provided to DPPC, WFP and NGOs in the period between April 1 and June 30. Loan repayments amounting to 28,288 MT of grain had been repaid by NGOs and DPPC during this same time period. According to the administration of the EFSR, repayment amounts during this quarter were very low compared to average repayment of last years. The reason given for this is the slow delivery of grains from local purchase programmes to the EFSR.

Out of the total quantity to be locally purchased this year, 59,000 MT of grain was tendered by the European Union, intended as a donation to increase the size of the reserve, while 35,000MT was tendered by Euron-Aid for loan repayments. Out of 59,000 MT of grain tendered by the European Union, contracts were awarded for 25,000 MT of which 18,000 MT had been delivered as of August 11, bringing total uncommitted stocks in the EFSR to 80,590 MT. Scheduled repayments to the Reserve in the coming two months include 74,000 MT from USAID and approximately 17,000 MT from ongoing local purchase operations.

Refugee Statistics (as of 1 June 1999)

WEST (Sudanese)    EAST (Somalis)    
Hartisheik (A&B) 
NORTH-EAST (Djiboutians)   Rabasso 
Afar Region
SOUTH (Kenyans) Addis Ababa  
Moyale /Dokisso
Urban refugees


UNCT Relief Action Plan and Appeal for severely Drought Affected Areas of Ethiopia; UNDP-EUE field reports; Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC); FEWS; National Meteorological Services Agency (NMSA); UNHCR; WFP; FAO; EFSRA Newsletter; CARE; Ogaden Welfare Society; Afar Pastoralists Development Association, Also media sources: The Ethiopian Herald; AFP; Walta Information Centre; ENA.

12 August 1999

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