Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia

 OCTOBER  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

Prospects for the Meher harvest are good due to the continuation of adequate and well-distributed rainfall during the Kremt (main) season. Relief operations are gradually phasing out and rehabilitation activities resuming.

In preparation for the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Needs Assessment Mission and the Government's 1995 appeal, the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC) launched an extensive needs assessment programme in late October. Ten teams are currently visiting drought prone areas to obtain information on the general situation and delineate areas of possible assistance. The RRC has invited the UN and NGOs to participate in the missions, and many organisations will be joining the teams during the assessment.

The FAO/WFP Crop and Food Needs Assessment Mission is due to arrive in Ethiopia in mid-November. The mission will be travelling to different parts of the country to evaluate the outcome of the 1994 Meher harvest and to make a first assessment of cereal import requirements for 1995. It will also be reviewing earlier preliminary pre-harvest assessments. Following this, the Transitional Government of Ethiopia is expected to launch an appeal for 1995 in mid-December.

In North Omo zone and Wolayita, a preliminary crop assessment conducted by the local authorities in nine weredas of the zone in September has been concluded. One of the major problems voiced by the assessment teams was the shortage of resources and manpower to conduct the assessment.

Commemoration of the 1984/85 famine

A month-long series of events and activities are scheduled to take place in February 1995 to commemorate the tenth year after the 1984/85 famine. This programme will provide an opportunity for constructive reflection, information sharing and awareness raising with the aim of stimulating public debate on the problems of development, poverty and famine. The activities taking place during this month will be coordinated by the Government through the establishment of a special secretariat within the RRC. The anniversary is to be a collective effort, drawing on inputs from the Government, donor community, and Non-Governmental Organisations and the UN system.


The Constituent Assembly, consisting of 548 members elected in June (all regions except Region 5) and October (Region 5) 1994, convened for the first time on 28 October. Representatives of the diplomatic community, political parties of Ethiopia and public personalities were invited to participate in the inaugural ceremony. The Constituent Assembly has been charged with the responsibility of ratifying the draft constitution.

Population and Housing Census

The 1994 National Population and Housing Census was officially launched on October 11,1994. From a relative slow start the operation advanced quickly and is reported to be on schedule. According to UNFPA, approximately 67,000 enumeration agents and 15,000 field supervisors were deployed. The returned questionnaires indicate that the census was completed in all parts of the country except in nomadic areas where it was expected to take longer to finalise. Questionnaires are now being processed; preliminary results are will be available within four months, and final results are expected before the end of 1995.

Development issues

The UNDP Headquarters Programme Review Committee approved $40 million assistance in support of two additional national programmes which aim at achieving sustainable food security in Ethiopia. Approved are the National Agricultural Programme, towards which UNDP plans to contribute $26 million over the next five years and the National Programme on Disaster Prevention, Preparedness and Mitigation, towards which UNDP will contribute $14.1 million. This brings the level of UNDP's approved assistance to the Government of Ethiopia during the Fifth Country Programme Cycle to $74 million.


Weather situation

According to the National Meterological Services Association (NMSA) weather assessment report, the 1994 long cycle rain season (Kremt) was normal except in pocket areas which experienced shortages, heavy rainfall, late onset or early withdrawal of rains.

The Bega season, normally starts in October and ends in January. During this period, the southern parts of Ethiopia receive their second modal rains, but this year the rains started as early as the last dekad of September.

Pest infestation

Control measures against large populations of quelea birds in the Rift Valley area took place in early October. Surveys are continuing in case of future occurrences of the infestation.

Seed requirement for 1995

The delay in the onset of Belg rains and low rainfall during this season in many areas resulted in the 1994 short and long cycle crops of maize and sorghum suffering due to moisture stress. The overall production of these staple crops is estimated to be much lower than the 1993 harvest. Although most Meher short cycle crops were planted at their normal time, except those replacing maize and sorghum, some pocket areas also lost Meher crops due to inconsistent rainfall patterns.

In areas such as Region 3 (Amhara), which experienced the failure of long cycle crops as well as short cycle Meher crops in certain areas, the seed requirement for the 1995 cropping season is expected to increase. The results of an assessment conducted by FAO during October in Region 3 indicate that the seed requirement of this Region for major crops is approximately 8,600 tons to cover 134,000 hectares.

Fertilizer situation

The fertilizer sales target for the peasant and state sectors in 1995 is between 230,000 and 250,000 tons. So far, the breakdown of tentative donor pledges is as follows: USAID (16,000 to 50,000 tons), the Netherlands (18,000 tons), Italy (12,400 tons), European Union (103,000 tons), the World Bank (40,000 tons), the African Development Bank (80,000 tons), and Japan (10,000 tons).


Pledges, shipments and deliveries

As at 24 October, from the total import requirement of 1,278,000 tons, 979,422 tons have been pledged. Most of the shortfall is in the structural sector where only 100,890 tons have been pledged against a requirement of 367,000 tons. As at 24 October, WFP report that of the total pledges, 760,931 tons have been delivered, bringing the total imports including 1993 pledges delivered in 1994 and refugee supplies to a total of 808,686 tons.

Donors are moving towards advance programming, with notional pledges for 1995 already exceeding 400,000 tons and NGOs submitting tentative requests. Food aid shipments for next year are also taking place, with a US pledge of 40,000 tons for 1995 planned for arrival before the end of 1994.

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

Food Distribution

With the end of the Kremt rainy season and improved accessibility, food deliveries have increased. The roads damaged by heavy flooding are being repaired in most areas, either by the beneficiaries or the local administrations, thereby allowing transportation of relief supplies to the more remote distribution sites.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRCS) have resumed relief distributions in North and South Welo and Tigray, although certain parts of these areas were still inaccessible in the early parts of October. The Red Cross increased the number of beneficiaries for September and October. However, as a result of the largely satisfactory Kremt rains, IFRCS is preparing to resume longer term rehabilitation programmes.

Distribution of food to beneficiaries from 1 January to 31 August reached over 426,000 tons, with September distribution figures estimated to be approximately 67,000 tons. Estimated allocations for distribution in the last quarter, should they be implemented, are likely to reduce carry over stocks at the end of the year.

Refugees and returnee food pipeline

The plans for the repatriation of refugees into Somaliland have been given a possible boost with the Government proposals to complete repatriation by March 1995. According to WFP, food resources available to the refugee programme are not sufficient to meet the continuing requirements of maintenance and to provide a minimum package of three months' rations for refugees on departure. A six months' ration is an alternative but would further aggravate the resource situation.


The joint USA/EU/WFP mission scheduled to visit Ethiopia and Eritrea in October, to hold discussions with the governments of the two countries regarding port investment, clearing and forwarding monopolies and the liberalisation of the private sector has been postponed.

Although there have been delays in the clearance of food items including vegetable oil, blended foods and milk powder due to disputes with customs authorities, this issue has now been resolved. Following the intervention of major donor representatives, the Ethiopian customs authorities have once again allowed the importation of these items. However, as vegetable oil is a standard part of current relief rations, the solution needs to be confirmed in order to avoid delays in 1995 imports.

Discussions are still continuing on the ownership and operation procedures of the strategic fleet for 1995.


Support to health services

During October, UNICEF carried out the monitoring of ongoing funded projects, assessment of the emergency situation in different parts of the country, initiation and development of Oral Rehydration Therapy/Expanded Programme of Immunization (ORT/EPI) programmes in emergency operation areas, provision of essential medical supplies and drugs, and preparation for UNICEF participation in the RRC needs assessment missions.

UNICEF Emergency Officers visited Borena zone in Region 4 and North and South Omo zone in the Southern Ethiopian People's Administration to monitor ongoing projects. In North and South Omo, it was observed that although the nutritional status in the zones has improved, food production is far from satisfactory due to the effects of armyworm infestation, lack of farmland and over-population. UNICEF is in the process of initiating a micro-plan for child health that covers ORT/EPI and Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) as well as a supplementary feeding programme for malnourished children in the zones. Discussions are underway with the zonal authorities and NGOs operating in the region on possible collaboration in implementing this programme.

Supplies of vaccines were provided by UNICEF to Medecins san Frontieres (Belgium) to assist MSF in restarting EPI activities among 28,000 refugees, returnees and displaced persons in the Gode area of Region 5 (Ogaden). MSF has been operating heath care and supplementary feeding programmes in Gode and will probably conclude their activities at the end of this year. According to MSF, there is a need for general food distributions to continue thereafter in order to avoid a deterioration in the nutritional status of beneficiaries.

In support of efforts to meet the needs of the recently drought-affected population in Ethiopia, the UNICEF Ethiopia country office staff members, both local and expatriate, have collectively raised over $7,000 to be donated to the UNICEF emergency programmes in Bolosso wereda in North Omo zone. The funds will be utilised to provide relief assistance to 1,000 children under five and 5,000 families affected by drought. The funds will also be used to improve the nutritional status of the target group through initiation of a community based employment scheme.

Rehabilitation of health facilities

A WHO mission visited Region 1 (Tigray) and parts of Region 3 (Amhara) to assess the progress of the repair of partially damaged health care facilities; identify completed facilities that need to be equipped; obtain information on the status of the health care facilities in the visited zone; and to advise authorities to submit complete reports on each health facility.

In Tigray, North and South Welo and North Shewa, the team witnessed different levels of progress ranging from partial to completed repair, and highlighted the need to accelerate the repair of remaining facilities.

During the month, malaria epidemics were reported in some parts of the country. A WHO team travelled to Meki, Zwai and Awassa, where high incidence rate of infection were detected. According to WHO, the rise in the number of malaria cases could be attributed to the prolonged rains leading to increased vector breeding sites, and to the discontinuation of spraying due to a periodic decrease in the occurrence of the disease. Consequently, WHO provided medical supplies, laboratory re-agents and microscopic equipment worth $56,300 to the Malaria Control Programme.


Sudanese refugees
The assisted population reached 50,527 with the following breakdown: Bonga: 15,114; Fugnido 24,088; and Dimma 11,325.

Nutrition surveys were conducted in Dimma, Bonga and Fugnido by the Administration for Refugees and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), and a three day nutrition workshop was attended by health personnel from the three settlements in Gambella (Region 12). In general, the nutritional status of the refugees was found to be satisfactory.

In Mizan, 302 refugees started their higher secondary education at the Mizan National School.

An anthropologist from Oxford University arrived in Gambella for a six week mission to review the situation of the Uduk refugee population in Bonga and to investigate the feasibility of their achieving self-sufficiency.

On 13 October, a private truck was ambushed by unidentified gunmen some seven kilometres outside the refugee settlement in Dimma, during which two passengers were killed and five wounded.

Somali refugees
There has been some concern expressed over security in the Jijiga area. Several incidents took place in October including fighting between refugee groups in Hartisheik and attacks on transport and fuel vehicles in the Jijiga area. The situation in Hartisheik camp has returned to normal, but as a result of fighting in Hargeysa a few hundred Idagale clan members (mainly the elderly, women and children) were reported to have fled northwest Somalia to the Aware camps in Ethiopia.

On 23 October ration cards were successfully revalidated in Aysha, completing the revalidation in all of the camps in eastern Ethiopia. The 15,282 in Aysha brought the total population on revalidated rations cards to 184,900 individuals.

A delegation from the United States Department of State and U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, accompanied by the UNHCR Acting Representative and Senior Repatriation Officer, visited the Somali refugee camps from 8 to 9 October to explore with the refugees, among other thinqs, their readiness for repatriation to Somalia.

Following their visit to the Somali refugee camps, the U.S. delegation and UNHCR team proceeded to Humera with the Swedish Ambassador on 10 October to assess the repatriation programme in Region 1.

Djiboutian refugees
A joint ARRA/UNHCR mission travelled to Region 2 (Afar) from 25 to 29 October to assess the situation of Djiboutian refugees in the area.


Repatriation from Djibouti
From 26 September to 24 October, a total of 3,152 Ethiopians repatriated by train from Djibouti via Dire Dawa. Despite some start-up problems and concerns about "absorption capacity" at the rate of 500 to 1,000 per week, weekly trains are scheduled until at least the end of 1994.

Repatriation from Sudan
The airlift of Ethiopian returnees from Kassala, Sudan, which started on 20 September, was completed on 8 October. As a result of this operation, a total of 1,112 Ethiopians have repatriated. The breakdown by destination is as follows: Jimma (341), Bahir Dar (509), Addis Ababa (191) and Gambela (71).

Meetings were held in Addis Ababa between ARRA and UNHCR Ethiopia and Sudan to plan the 1995 repatriation operation. The parties agreed on a planning figure of approximately 50,000. They recognized, however, that this could only be achieved if additional land could be identified, particularly in Region 1 (Tigray), for returnee farmers. A UNHCR mission departed to Mekele and Humera on 26 October to discuss the immediate allocation of land so that the necessary site planning can proceed during November-December.

Repatriation from Kenya
ARRA Moyale reported the spontaneous repatriation of 959 returnees to Chilanko, El Gof and Jara. These may be some of the group who had previously opted not to repatriate when the camp at Banissa, Kenya was closed in February 1994.

Individual Repatriation
A total of 11 returnees repatriated by air from Kenya (8), Sudan (2) and the USA (1).

Repatriation to Somalia
The Technical Committee continued meeting weekly to refine the operations plan, including a pilot repatriation of some 10,000 towards the end of 1994. Although the UNHCR staff in northwest Somalia was evacuated briefly following the 15 October fighting at the Hargeysa airport, a technical mission was able to proceed to Hargeysa from 23-30 October to continue planning with the Central Administration on both repatriation and reintegration activities.

Table I
Status of 1994 import requirements and pledges as of 25 Oct. (MT)
Relief/Regular  EFSR  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 979,422 
Shortfall against 298,578 revised requirement  

Table II

Status of 1994 deliveries and confirmed/unconfirmed shipments as of 25 Oct. (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 21 September and 24 October 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.
         * Excluding 10,500 tons shipments for Eritrea.


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 other sources of information as necessary.

2 November, 1994


UNDP/EUE field reports; Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs; CARE; CRDA; Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC); European Union; FAO; FEWS; National Meteorological Services Agency (NMSA); Ministry of Agriculture; SCF (UK); UNICEF; UNHCR; WFP; WFP Food Aid Information Unit; WHO.

UN-EUE  Tel.: (251) (1) 51-10-28/29 
PO Box : 5580  Fax: (251) (1) 51-12-92 
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  Email: undp-eue@telecom.net.et