Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia

 AUGUST  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

Relief operations throughout the country have proved largely successful, particularly in the earlier drought affected areas of the northeast where anticipated population movement in search of food have been averted. Nevertheless, emergency operations are likely to continue in these areas.

Food distribution in most areas has been hampered by heavy rains and poor road conditions, making access to the more remote areas difficult and at times, impossible. The movement of stocks from the ports have much improved over recent weeks, achieving a generally acceptable level of availability. With distribution mechanisms and resources now in place as well as a strong pipeline, it is imperative to maintain the momentum of the relief operation, especially as in the next few months household food stocks are expected to reach the lowest levels prior to harvest.

Distribution figures for the first six months of the year, available as of mid-August, have shown approximately 283,000 tons distributed during this period. Although distribution reports for the first months of the second half of the year are not yet finalised, there are indications that distribution rates are likely to increase in the months of July and August. At current rates of delivery, there will be a significant carry over of stocks at the end of the year, in RRC and NGO warehouses as well as strategically positioned in the Emergency Food Security Reserve, which is expected to reach 200,000 tons by the end of 1994.

The joint FAO/WFP Crop and Food Needs Assessment Mission is planned for early November 1994.


The Ethiopian president, Meles Zenawi, visited the United States in mid-August. During this trip, President Zenawi held discussions with President Clinton regarding various issues, including the democratisation process in Ethiopia, the strengthening of democratic institutions and the role of Ethiopia in the Horn of Africa. Also discussed was the recent drought in Ethiopia and ongoing efforts to meet the problems arising from the drought as well as current emergencies within the region. President Zenawi also held talks with Government officials on human rights issues in Ethiopia.

Development issues

A team of consultants from the UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs, visited Ethiopia from 16 to 24 August as part of the Sub-Sahara Initiate which DHA is mounting in cooperation with President Clinton's initiative on the Horn of Africa.

During a one week stay in Ethiopia, the consultants met with the Prime Minister, the Ministers and Vice Ministers of Planning, Agriculture, Health, External Economic Cooperation and the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner of the RRC. Meetings were also held with donors and UN organisations. Various issues, including support for Ethiopia's move from dependency on food-aid to self-sufficiency in food production including relief food as a development tool were discussed.

Based on their discussions with different officials, the consultants compiled a first draft of a Country Relief and Recovery File. Also, in order to secure longer term and more predictable levels of assistance to Ethiopia's recovery programme, an outline Resource Mobilisation Strategy for National Recovery was presented to the RRC. Both documents will be further discussed and refined in Addis Ababa in the coming weeks.


Progress of the Meher season

With the continuation of the Kremt (main) rains, prospects for the short cycle Meher harvest seem better than they did earlier in the season. The Kremt rains have been generally well-distributed and adequate in amount in the western areas,including parts of Tigray, Region 3 (Amhara), northern and western parts of Region 4 (Oromia) and the Southern Region. However, late planting of maize and sorghum and substitution of shorter-cycle Meher crops following the late and failed Belg rains may adversely affect the Meher production outcome in parts of the country.


According to FAO, 1994 fertilizer sales target including the peasant sector and state farms now amount to 194,358 tons with the following breakdown:

Peasant Sector 
State Sector/other

Sales information obtained from Agricultural Inputs and Supplies Corporation (AISCO) and Amalgamated indicate that as at the end of August, total sales to the peasant sector amounted to 187,00 tons, meeting 96% of the total 1994 sales target. This year's fertilizer consumption has been the highest recorded, exceeding the previous record sales of 1992 by 20%. Due to this year's positive sales performance, it is foreseen that fertilizer stocks will be low for 1995 and in order to reach the Government's target of 230,000 tons, fertilizer shipments need to be expedited. So far, only 75,000 tons of fertilizer from the European Union and 19,000 tons from the Government of Italy have been pledged.

Armyworm situation

The 1994 armyworm infestation has been acknowledged as the most severe outbreak seen in Ethiopia in recent years. A report by the Ministry of Agriculture states that a total of 297,000 hectares of land were controlled using 241,663 litres and 52,681 kg of various pesticides. Following successful ground and aerial control operations, the extent of the area damaged is currently being assessed.

Cereal prices

Since the beginning of this year, governmental and non-governmental sources have been reporting rising cereal prices in the potentially vulnerable areas of Ethiopia. Sharp increases, especially from the second quarter of the year, affected surplus and deficit areas and the more remote urban markets alike, confirming supply shortages at a national level. Steep rises which occured in the price of cereals even before the start of the harvest season, have had a very negative impact on market dependent urban populations.

In response to these trends, the Government initiated a short-term market support subsidy programme, through which Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise (EGTE) stocks were made available at below current prices. This programme will help stabilize prices until September, but a complete reversal still depends on the outcome of the main harvest later in the year.


Certain areas of Ethiopia have been closely monitored during this reporting period by FAO to determine the prospects for the Belg and Meher planting seasons. These include areas in Region 1 (Tigray), North Shewa, North and South Welo zones of Region 3 (Amhara), West Shewa, East and West Welega and Illubabor zones of Region 4 (Oromia) and the Southern Region.(1)

Relief distributions, although hampered by heavy rains and inaccessible roads in many areas of operation, are proceeding, assisted by prepositioned food. In most of the previously drought-affected regions, nutritional status of the people is improving and there is greater scope for the employment of traditional coping mechanisms.

Region 1 (Tigray)
The Kremt rains have generally been good in Tigray, with normal rainfall reported in most areas except in the eastern lowland weredas of southern Tigray. The quick recovery of grassland resulted in improvement in pasture for animals, however, the recent drought period has affected the livestock numbers, and it is anticipated that the region will face a shortage of draught power into the coming year.

Region 3 (North Shewa, North and South Welo zones)
In North Shewa, North Welo and South Welo, large areas of land are normally planted with long cycle sorghum. This year, due to the delay in the onset of the Belg rains, the area cultivated with sorghum was significantly reduced. Since the rainfall pattern during the Belg season was erratic, most of the sorghum planted was replaced with teff and, therefore, production in these areas is expected to be far below normal.

Almost all the land allocated to short cycle Meher crops has been planted, and crop development appears normal under the current weather conditions. Nevertheless, due to the almost total failure of the Belg crop, and poor sorghum and maize yield, the zones are expected to remain food deficient in 1995 despite prospects of a good short cycle Meher harvest.

Region 3 (Gojam and Gonder zones)
The onset of the Belg rains in Gojam and Gonder zones of Region 3 was delayed by one month and as a result, the planting of stalk crops such as maize and sorghum was also delayed. However, due to favourable weather conditions thereafter, growth of the long cycle Meher crops has been normal and a good yield in these areas is expected, provided the rains continue throughout the zones until the end of September.

Land preparation and planting of short cycle Meher crops in Gojam and Gonder zones has also been satisfactory. According to the zonal Ministry of Agriculture, Meher production in the zones is expected to be higher than previous years, given the continuation of rainfall for another month.

Region 4 (West Shewa, East and West Wellega)
In West Shewa, East and West Wellega, the late onset of the Belg rains affected the timely planting of sorghum and maize crops. However, with the start of favourable weather conditions in June, the performance of the crops has been normal and production is expected to be higher than last year.

Southern Ethiopian People's Administration
In Wolayita, maize crops planted during the Belg season have been harvested and are expected to improve the food situation and relieve the general food shortage in the area. Although rainfall for the Meher planting season has also been adequate, and a good yield is expected from short cycle crops, the late and insufficient Belg rains have affected the Meher season to some extent. Therefore, certain areas may still face food deficiencies at the beginning of 1995.


Pledges, shipments and deliveries

According to WFP, with the failure of the Belg season, the total 1994 import requirement has increased to 1,278,000 tons. Of this amount, a total of 982,503 tons has already been pledged, leaving a shortfall of 295,497, mainly in meeting the structural gap. From the total relief and regular requirement of 771,000 tons, 736,876 tons have been pledged; from 140,000 tons required for the Emergency Food Security Reserve, 130,861 tons have been pledged; and from a total structural requirement of 367,000 tons, 106,776 tons have so far been pledged. As at 30 August, WFP report that of the total pledges, 536,931 tons have been delivered, and report no confirmed shipments after 8 October, although the tentative shipping schedule suggests a healthy pipeline through to the end of the year.

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

Refugee and returnee operations

During the past month, WFP continued to supply rations for 205,000 Somali refugees in the southeast, 50,000 southern Sudanese refugees in the southwest, 18,000 Djiboutian refugees in Afar and 7,000 Kenyan refugees in the south of Ethiopia. This has been from a potentially weak refugee/returnee food pipeline which has resulted in falling donor support for the Somali caseload.


Port offtake, previously a critical issue in relief operations, improved in August and is now at expected levels with daily offtake averages exceeding 3000 tons. The major issue of concern now therefore, is the capacity to deliver food aid to distribution sites over short haul routes.

Following a meeting at the end of June in Brussels to consider port operations, infrastructure, offtake and related problems, a joint US/EU/WFP mission recently visited Eritrea and is to meet with Ethiopian officials. Meanwhile, a crucial need for funding exists in order to carry out necessary reconstruction and repair in the ports. Earlier in June, WFP calculated that $1.5 million was needed for this purpose.

The final handover of all assets belonging to the World Food Programme Transport Operation for Ethiopia (WTOE) is scheduled to take place in September. Currently, 100 trucks previously run by WTOE continue to operate under the supervision of the RRC while privatisation plans for the fleet are still being developed.

A committee has been nominated to administer the Strategic Reserve Fleet comprised of 250 trucks. Members of the committee include the RRC, ARA, UNHCR, GTZ and WFP. This fleet will comprise of medium and short haul capacity trucks as compared to the exclusively long haul trucks of WTOE and is expected to be fully established and operational by the end of 1994.



Outbreaks of Acute Diarrhoeal Disease have reacurred in certain areas of Region 4 (Oromia). According to WHO, cases were reported from East Hararghe, East Shewa, Arsi, Borena zones of Region 4 and Dire Dawa. The number of cases reported during the week ending 12 August, was 307 with 5 deaths, while 460 cases with a total of 5 deaths were reported during the week ending 19 August, with the highest rate of occurrence in Shashemene. Active surveillance and containment measures have been implemented to control this outbreak.

Support to health services

Nutritional support, together with increased access to basic health services, have significantly reduced severe malnutrition and the prevalence of epidemics in the drought affected areas of the country. However, there are still pocket areas maintaining signs of malnutrition and incidence of diarrhoea and malaria, which are regularly monitored and immediately treated by concerned agencies.

UNICEF assistance to various government sectors and non-governmental agencies in August has been through:

Rehabilitation of health facilities

The foundation work of health posts in Moyale area of Region 4 as well as the renovation of health facilities in Negelle, Mega and Moyale areas, part of a $2 million UNHCR-funded health project in the south of Ethiopia, have been completed.

The reconstruction of health facilities, which was initially expected to be completed by August 1994, will be finalised with the repair of a remaining eight facilities in North Shewa and West Gojam zones of Region 3 (Amhara). The repair of these health facilities have been carried out by the Ministry of Health with funding from WHO.

During the past month, WHO provided the Department of Epidemiology with computer software for the strengthening of data processing in epidemic control and micro-dissection kits for the Tuberculosis Control Programme.

Water supply

With financial support from the Italian Government, the UNICEF Emergency Section has obtained approximately $100,000 in supplies for the implementation of a water supply project in East Hararghe zone of Region 4. UNICEF has also obtained a total of $200,000 for the procurement of necessary supplies for urban and rural water supply projects in Region 5.

UNICEF have reported that between November 1993 and the first week of August 1994, 27 UNICEF-assisted water projects were completed in Wello, Gonder and Gojam zones of Region 3 (Amhara) and 25 in Region 1 (Tigray), all of which are currently operational. The water schemes in Region 1 are expected to benefit 42,000 drought affected people. The projects in both regions included deep well drilling, the installation of hand pumps and the construction of distribution networks.


Sudanese refugees
During the past month, the influx of Sudanese refugees continued into western Ethiopia with an average of 250 arrivals per week; extending the total assisted population in the west to approximately 50,000 people. As it has been established that the maximum capacity of the camps in this area has been reached, should the influx continue unabated, new sites will have to be identified.

The current camp population breakdown is: Bonga 15,021, Fugnido 23,657 and Dimma 11,173. Food shortages, insecurity and widespread epidemics have been the main cause of the recent influx, with refugees mainly arriving from Nassir, Maiwut, Akbo, Pochala and Youm districts of Upper Nile Region.

Somali refugees
Results of a nutritional survey conducted by SCF-UK in the camps in June, indicate a deterioration in the nutritional status of children under five in the eastern camps as compared to a previous survey. Rates of moderate malnutrition have reached 20% percent in the eastern camps and 15.7% in Gode. The absence of pulses and oil in the general rations has reduced calorie intake to less than 2000 kcal/person/day. To avoid further deterioration of children under five, a three-month dry supplementary feeding programme has started in the camps. According to the same survey, the nutritional status in the western camps was assessed to be satisfactory.

In view of the serious and recurrent security incidents related to the water tankering operation in the eastern camps, it was agreed in Jijiga (Region 5) to abandon the Jerrer valley water project, which was planned to provide water for Hartisheik. An alternative source of water for Hartisheik will be tapped from Haroressa borehole, located about 20 kilometres from the camp, whereas water for Kebribeyah will be supplied from Jijiga. The meeting held in Jijiga strongly recommended the reconsideration of the proposed 21 kilometre pipeline project from Jerrer valley to Kebrebeyah.

According to reports from Gode, there has been an influx of Somali refugees from Belet Wein into Kelafo in Region 5, caused by inter-clan disputes in the proximity of Belet Wein. There are no exact figures available of the number of refugees, but it is estimated that the new arrivals do not exceed 5,000 people and are mainly women and children.

Repatriation from the Sudan
Although no repatriation was organised in July and August, preparatory activities to airlift 1,246 Ethiopia returnees from Damazin are ongoing. These returnees are to be reintegrated into Regions 1, 3, 4 and 14 (Tigray, Amhara, Oromo and Addis Ababa respectively). At the present time, land routes cannot be used due to heavy rains and poor road conditions, but in the areas of reintegration food has already been pre-positioned by WFP and non-food items have been provided to various implementing agencies by UNHCR.

A shortage of food and medicine in the returnee areas of Abdurafi and Kokit has been reported caused by heavy rains and inaccessible roads. In response to this problem, UNHCR, with the cooperation of WFP, has arranged for the transportation of food supplies to Aburafi from Ethiopian Grain Trade Enterprise stores in Humera.

The land issue remains unresolved in Humera and has obstructed repatriation and rehabilitation efforts as many refugees have not yet been allocated land. In Kokit, Kumar and nearby villages in Metema area of Region 3 (Amhara), more than 200 hectares of land allocated to returnees who arrived in late May 1994, have been ploughed and cultivated with sorghum, sesame and cotton with tools and seed provided by the Ethiopian Relief Organisation through funding from UNHCR.

Repatriation from Djibouti
During August, UNHCR assisted 24 Ethiopian refugees who repatriated from Djibouti to Eastern Hararghe zone of Region 4 (Oromia) with food supplies for two months.

Repatriation to Somalia
The expected revalidation exercise of ration cards in the eastern camps has not yet taken place, despite indications from the authorities that the exercise would take place on 20 August. At the same time, 150 individual Somali refugees have requested assistance from UNHCR in Jijiga to repatriate to Bossasso and Bardera areas in southern Somalia.

Individual repatriation
The total number of individual refugees who have repatriated to Ethiopia since the beginning of the year, has reached 1,246 people. This includes the repatriation of six Ethiopians from Nairobi and three from Freetown during the past month.

Table I

Status of 1994 import requirements/pledges as of 30 August (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  
Revised net import 1,278,000 requirement (April 94)
Total pledges 982,503 
Shortfall against 295,497 revised requirement 
9,139 252,234

Table II

Status of 1994 deliveries and confirmed/unconfirmed shipments as of 30 August (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 29 July and 30 August 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 between 29/07 to 30/08.
          * adjusted stock balance

1. Based on August 1994 field reports provided by FAO.


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.
1 September, 1994 

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