Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia

 SEPTEMBER 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

Emergency operations, which have been continuing throughout the country, are slowly phasing out with the general improvement in the situation. However, relief distributions are likely to continue in certain areas, particularly in the northern regions which have a later harvest than in the south, in areas affected by heavy rainfall and flooding, and in parts of the south which are still vulnerable to food shortages.

Following the success of relief operations mounted by the Government, non-governmental organisations and UN agencies in averting a large-scale famine in Ethiopia, the Commissioner of the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission recently wrote to the international community expressing his thanks on behalf of the Transitional Government for their concerted efforts and effective response to the 1994 crisis.

UNDP Administrator's Visit

The Administrator of UNDP, Mr. James Gustav Speth visited Ethiopia from 9-10 September. This was his first visit to Ethiopia since assuming the post of Chief Executive of UNDP last year. During his stay, Mr. Speth met with the President of Ethiopia, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) Secretary General and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Secretary-General. In discussions, UNDP's commitment to assist the Government of Ethiopia in mobilising resources to address environmental degradation and increase food security was reaffirmed. The need to engage in dialogue with the Government of Ethiopia to evolve a sustainable food security strategy was also discussed. The Administrator also saw a need for a greater role for the OAU in conflict prevention.

During the visit, Mr. Speth also signed two documents which will provide approximately $39 million in resources over the five year period 1993-1997 to support human resources development and utilization and improvement of the resources-population sustainability balance.

UNHCR High Commissioner's Visit

Mrs. Sadako Ogata, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, visited Ethiopia from 8-12 September. During her stay, Mrs. Ogata participated in the opening ceremony of the joint OAU/UNHCR Commemorative Symposium on Refugees and Forced Population Displacement in Africa, and also met and held discussions with high level representatives of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia on various issues.


Prospects for the Meher harvest

The 1994 farming cycle began with a widespread drought in the south during the short rainy season (Belg) followed by good long cycle rains (Kremt). The failed short rains, which were late in starting and did not have adequate coverage, resulted in a very poor 1994 Belg harvest. However, with the start of the main (Meher) agricultural season, the rains extended throughout the country, and were favourable both in amount and distribution. This mixed pattern of rainfall during the main season (Meher) harvest is likely to result in a shortfall in production of long cycle cereals but a higher production of short cycle grains.

In a provisional pre-harvest assessment by the USAID Famine Early Warning System (FEWS), issued in September, this year's harvest was forecast to be between the 1993-94 harvest of 6.9 million tons and the record 1992-93 harvest of 7.5 million tons, implying a 1995 structural import requirement of between 750,000 and 1,000,000 tons.

Although the Kremt rains have been good so far, occurrences of unfavourable weather conditions and late-season pest infestations before the harvest could still effect production levels.

Pest infestation

The Desert Locust Control Organisation (DLCO) has warned of possible outbreak of late-season crop pests such as quelea birds, sweet-potato butterfly, stem-borers, African boll-worm, Stem rust, Welo bush cricket (effecting wheat, barley, teff) and shoot-fly (effecting teff) at the end of the main rainy season.

So far, with the exception of the armyworm outbreak earlier this year, which was reported as the worst in Ethiopia for many years, pest damage has not been extensive. An infestation of quelea birds reported in September in the Rift Valley area and Jijiga (Region 5) has been assessed and aerial control operations in Jijiga have been completed. Control measures against the quelea birds in the Rift Valley area are scheduled to take place early October.

As there is considerable risk of pest infestation before the main harvest, regional Bureaux of Agriculture are monitoring crop conditions and mobilising resources to control any outbreaks.


The combined 1994 sales target for the peasant and state sectors is 194,358 tons. As at the end of September, sales had reached a total of 205,920 tons, exceeding this years sales target by 6 percent. This is an increase of 31.7 percent and 69.6 percent over 1992 and 1993 sales respectively. Although some concern has been expressed that some farmers may have "stock-piled" fertilizer because of this year's access to easy credit, the significant increase in sales is encouraging.


Regional RRC Workshop on Early Warning

The Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), with support from UNICEF, conducted a two-day workshop on the Early Warning System. The objective was to discuss strengthening of regional early warning capacities. The workshop was attended by members of the National Committee for Early Warning and representatives of Relief and Rehabilitation Bureaux from all regions with the exception of Regions 2 (Afar) and 5 (Somali).

Region 1 (Tigray)
In Tigray, a mid-term crop assessment is being carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture, Relief Society of Tigray (REST) the RRB, and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Development and Environmental Protection (MNRDEP).

Region 3 (Amhara)
Heavy rainfall in parts of North and South Welo zones of Region 3 in early September caused extensive damage to crops, livestock, housing an roads. Many remote areas were inaccessible due to bad road conditions, and food aid transportation to these areas was severely hampered. Relief distributions by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCS) in South and North Welo zones could not be carried out, due to impassable roads.

The Ministry of Agriculture and the Relief and Rehabilitation Bureau of Region 3 are currently conducting an assessment of the extent of damage caused by floods which seem to have covered a large area of cultivated land in the zones.

There have been indications that Kremt rains ended early in parts of Gonder and the lowland areas of the Tekezi River. These areas may face food shortages at the beginning of 1995.

CONCERN have been carrying out relief distributions in different parts of North and South Welo since April at the request of the RRC. Recently, they have expressed concern that the situation in North Kalo (North Welo) is not stabilising and the nutritional status in the wereda has declined.

Region 4 (Oromia)
The Eastern and Western Hararghe zones of Region 4 are predominantly cereal producing, with main crops of sorghum and maize. The 1993 Meher season was below average, and was followed in 1994 by late and insufficient Belg rains as well as heavy armyworm infestations.

A mid-season crop assessment in the Eastern and Western Hararghe zones and East Shewa (Region 3) was carried out by CARE International. According to this assessment, the performance of main season (Meher) crops in the area has been very good, especially considering the extended dry period and delayed land preparation. The rainfall distribution throughout the growing period indicates a promising harvest, given there are no major occurences of late-season plant pests.

Southern Ethiopian People's Administration
In North Omo zone and Wolayita, a preliminary crop assessment conducted by the regional Relief and Rehabilitation Bureau and the Ministry of Agriculture, has confirmed that except in a few pocket areas, a good yield is expected from short cycle main season crops.

It is likely that many relief agencies will now be resuming development activities in North Omo and Wolayita. During September, CONCERN and GOAL, which had been providing relief assistance in the area, concluded their emergency operations and have resumed their rehabilitation and development activities.

Certain areas, where relief operations continue, are potentially vulnerable and will need close monitoring. For this purpose, a Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee has been established in North Omo at the zonal level. An early warning system is also being organised by several agencies operating in the area, together with the Relief and Rehabilitation Bureau.

Region 14 (Addis Ababa)
In early September, torrential rains caused extensive flooding in parts of Addis Ababa. The worst affected were the poor, especially those living along the river banks and streams running through the city. With several deaths and over 3,000 homeless reported as a result of the floods, a survey was conducted by the Relief and Rehabilitation Bureau (RRB) of Region 14. In response to this emergency, relief assistance was given to flood victims through the provision of essential drugs and shelter material to the Regional RRB by UNICEF, and distribution of food and clothing by the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) volunteers. Assistance was also provided by a number of national and international NGOs.


Pledges, shipments and deliveries

As at 26 September, from an import requirement of 1,278,000 tons, a total of 972,003 tons had been pledged; from a 140,000 tons requirement for the Emergency Food Security Reserve, 129,861 tons have been pledged; and from a total structural requirement of 367,000 tons, 100,890 tons have so far been pledged. A total shortfall of 305,997 tons remains, which is mainly in meeting the structural requirement. As at 26 September, WFP report that of the total pledges, 664,123 tons had been delivered.

Of the food aid scheduled for delivery over the last quarter of the year, the majority will be to rebuild the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR) to its 205,000 tons recommended level, and for market sales.

The RRC's Information Technology Centre is currently compiling monthly information reports on food aid distributions. The The estimated August figure of a total 65,291 tons distributed by NGOs, portrays a decrease in deliveries as compared to previous months due to heavy rainfall in many parts of the country. September figures will probably not exceed the August distributions due to inland transport difficulties.

According to WFP, by the end of this year 1 million tons of relief and regular programme food aid will have been brought through the three ports of Assab, Massawa and Djibouti. The food aid shipping schedule is reasonably spaced out to the end of the year and offtake levels from Assab have increased over the past few months to record high levels.

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


A joint USA/EU/WFP mission will visit Ethiopia in early October to hold discussions with the Government of Ethiopia regarding port investment, clearing and forwarding monopolies and the liberalisation of the transport sector. This mission will also visit Eritrea with the same purpose.

The complete handover to the RRC of assets belonging to the World Food Programme Transport Operation for Ethiopia (WTOE) took place in September.


Support to health services

During September, UNICEF Emergency Officers visited various parts of the country, including Borena and Eastern Hararghe zones of Region 4 (Oromia), Welo and Gonder zones of region 3 (Amhara) and Wolayita in the Southern People's Administration, to monitor UNICEF activities in areas which had been severely affected by the recent drought, and to assess new priority areas for future interventions.

UNICEF has continued non-food emergency assistance to various governmental and non-governmental agencies in Regions 2 (Afar), 3 (Amhara) and 4 (Oromia) and also assisted the Region 5 (Ogaden) Dispersal Programme through supplementary feeding, provision of medical supplies and essential drugs.

Rehabilitation of health facilities

A WHO mission visited West Gojjam, North and South Gonder zones of Region 3 (Amhara) to assess the progress of the repair of the remaining health care facilities in the zones; to identify completed facilities that need to be equipped; and to propose future actions for the repair of the remaining health care facilities in the programme.

The team witnessed substantial progress with repairs completed on approximately 72% of the health facilities. Some are already functioning and have been provided with medical equipment. The WHO mission also held discussions with local health authorities regarding equipment needs and arrangements will be made for the distribution of supplies to the remaining health care facilities in the near future.

The current health situation in the zones was also discussed with local authorities and, according to WHO, so far there have been no reports of outbreaks of epidemic diseases in these areas.


OAU/UNHCR Symposium

A Commemorative Symposium on Refugees and Forced Population Displacement in Africa was jointly organised by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) in Addis Ababa, 8-10 September. Over 300 representatives from the member states of the OAU, the UNHCR Executive Committee, international organisations and academic institutions attended the Symposium. During the three-day gathering, participants adopted the "Addis Ababa Document on Refugees and Forced Population Movement in Africa" in support of the OAU Conflict Prevention Management and Resolution Mechanism.

Somali Refugees
A massive revalidation operation was successfully carried out in seven of the eight Somali camps on 5 September, giving a total figure of approximately 180,000 Somali refugees physically present in the camps. Previously, cards in circulation within the camps totalled more than 630,000.

Teams of civilian and military enumerators organised by the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) carried out the exercise, revalidating one ration card for each dwelling verified as occupied. Eight international observer teams comprised of members of the United Kingdom and US embassies, Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), WFP and UNHCR visited each camp during the operation. Based on their observations, the teams verified that, in general, the exercise was implemented effectively. During the operation, disruptions were reported only in the camps of Daror and Camaboker.

Following the revalidation, several demonstrations were organised by multi-card holders. The situation has since calmed down in the camps. Most refugees are reportedly satisfied with the exercise as revalidated card-holders will now receive a full food ration, which was not the case earlier due to inflated beneficiary numbers.


United Nations agencies and NGOs operating in Jijiga temporarily suspended traffic on the Jijiga-Harar road in mid-September, following three incidents of armed attacks on public transport vehicles during which three passengers were killed and two kidnapped.

Sudanese refugees
With the continued influx of Sudanese refugees into western Ethiopia at an average rate of 50 arrivals per week, the assisted population in the west has reached 50,194. The camp breakdown is now: Bonga: 15,059, Fugnido 23,895 and Dimma 11.240.

Under a UNHCR-supported programme at the Jimma Teacher Training Institute, the first group of 22 Sudanese refugees graduated as qualified teachers from a three-year course.


Repatriation from the Sudan
The airlift of Ethiopian refugees from Kassala, Sudan, to Jimma, Bahir Dar, Addis Ababa and Gambella region commenced on 20 September. By the end of the month, 341 returnees had arrived in Jimma and 195 in Bahir Dar. The Oromo Self-Help Organisation (OSHO) and the Ethiopian Relief Organisation (ERO) are responsible for receiving the returnees in Jimma and Bahir Dar respectively, whereas ARRA is receiving them in Addis Ababa and Gambella.

Repatriation from Djibouti
Agreement was reached on the repatriation of about 10,000 Ethiopian refugees from Djibouti to Dire Dawa and a first group comprised of 474 returnees arrived in Ethiopia on 26 September.

Repatriation to Somalia
The Steering Committee for repatriation to Somalia met in mid-September. During this meeting, donor representative voiced their appreciation of the successfully implemented revalidation operation in the Somali camps. The Steering and Technical Committees are now planning for phases two (information campaign) and three (detailed documentation) of the agreed work plan.

A draft budget, totalling about $10 million, for the reintegration of 25,000 Somali returnees has been forwarded to UNHCR from the Hargeisa authorities. This follows a recent UNHCR mission from Addis Ababa to Hargeisa, when it was agreed with the authorities that 10,000 Somali refugees could be repatriated from the Aware camps by the end of 1994.

Individual repatriation

During the past month, a total of 15 Ethiopian refugees were individually repatriated by air from the following countries: Swaziland 2, Uganda 7, Sudan 2, USA 2 and Kenya 2. This brings the total number of individual refugees who have repatriated to Ethiopia since January 1994 to 545 people (not 1,246 as reportd in the August situation report).

Table I
Status of 1994 import requirements and pledges as of 26 Sept (MT)
Structural Total 
Original import 1,074,000 requirement  
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 1,278,000 requirement (April 94)  
Total pledges 972,003 
Shortfall against 305,997 revised requirement  
Table II
Status of 1994 deliveries and confirmed/unconfirmed shipments as of 26 Sept. (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 27 August and 23 Sept. 1994, including
refugees and returnees (MT)
Month opening balance
Arrivals during month
Total available 
Offtake during month
Closing balance
      Note: Massawa figures include Ethiopia stocks only.
         Djibout report for the period 17-23 September not received by WFP Addis; stock balance as at 16/09/94.


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.

4 October, 1994


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.

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