|FLOODS||FOOD AID AND LOGISTICS||HEALTH, NUTRITION AND WATER|
|REFUGEES AND RETURNEES|
New banknotes for Ethiopia: Ethiopia is introducing new Birr notes in order to avoid any complications and difficulties that might arise from the fact that Eritrea is about to launch its own new currency, the "Nakfa". The new banknotes are designed to reflect the current political reality, omitting symbols and slogans used in the past and showing the map of Ethiopia without the territory of Eritrea. Redemption of the old bank notes began on 8 November at all government and private banks throughout the country. The redemption of the 50 and 100 Birr notes is limited to a period of 21 days while the exchange period for the other denominations is scheduled to last 50 days. The exchange rate of the new against the old Birr is one to one.
New leader for Somali region: The council of the Ethiopian Somali National Regional State elected in mid-October a new 21-member executive committee, including the head of the Regional State. The new leader is Mohamed Mealin Ali-Kedir, a member of the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), while Riale Hamed of the Ethiopian Somali Democratic League was elected deputy. Id Tahir, the former head of the Regional State, had resigned following a dispute with the former executive committee.
Obelisk to return soon: The National Committee for the Return of the Axum Obelisk announced that the historic treasure standing in Rome since the years of the Italian occupation of Ethiopia is expected to be returned to the country in April next year. The Obelisk, weighing 160 tons, will be flown back in pieces and re-erected at its original site in Axum by the Italian International Technical Institute in cooperation with Ethiopian scientists and experts.
Germany cancels 40 million dollar debt: The government of Germany has canceled a debt of 39.8 million dollars owed by Ethiopia. Of the total loan canceled, 16 million dollars was a debt owed to former East Germany for purchasing weapons. The remaining 23.8 million was a debt that was supposed to have been paid by 1997. Ethiopia owed Germany before the debt cancellation a total of 51.6 million dollars. The remaining debt of 11.8 million is payable within 23 years with a grace period of six years included.
Billions of Birr in tax arrears: The Minister of the Federal Revenue Board said development enterprises are in arrears of taxes amounting to 1.8 billion Birr. The Addis Ababa Administration, however, had earlier announced that a sum amounting to 12 billion Birr which should have been paid by enterprises over the past three years has not yet been collected.
Large scale deforestation: Ethiopia is said to be losing its natural forest at an estimated rate of 200,000 hectares per annum. A senior expert with the Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (MEDaC) revealed that the depletion is continuing unabated driven by demands for fuelwood, construction materials and farmland. Re-forestation efforts being made in the country are not proportional to the magnitude of forest destruction, the expert stated.
Need for agricultural information system: Speaking at a four-day workshop at Africa Hall in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Agriculture Minister Seyfu Ketema said the establishment of a national agricultural information system is an absolute necessity in order to collect, process, store and to provide to users timely, comprehensive and reliable agricultural information.
The impact of this unseasonal weather is extremely difficult to gauge as some areas and/or crops will benefit from the extension of the rainy season while other areas or crops will be adversely affected. On the positive side, crops which were planted late because of either the poor belg or of the late onset of the main rainy season will benefit from the additional moisture. Also, although these untimely rains will have little impact on crops in the drought affected areas, they will have a major and very positive impact on the regeneration of pasture and ground water resources. The negative impact of the rains may be more difficult to quantify but current concerns center around: the impact on teff, a local grass-like grain very susceptible to lodging; the spread of blights and fungus on other cereal crops; possible delays in harvesting; and, the potential for increased post-harvest losses if grain is harvested damp.
While the current El Niño event is viewed as possibly the most significant this century, there remains considerable controversy over its relevance and impact on weather patterns over the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia. The following is one view which has been taken from a recent report issued by the DPPC:
"El Niño episodes seem to be associated with drought occurrences in Ethiopia. The association has been recognised by the National Meteorological Services Agency (NMSA) for several years now and El Niño information is included in making seasonal forecasts. As a result, the quality of the forecasts has greatly improvedů The areas particularly affected during El Niño years are Eastern and Southern Tigray, North Welo, South Welo and North Shewa. During the main rainy season (kiremt) the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) runs north-south along the Ethiopian escarpment. Generally, areas to the west of the ITCZ get rain and those to the east do not. A west shift of the position of the ITCZ could easily explain the drought-prone nature of these areas of the country while the western parts of the country are not affected."
The report goes on to emphasise that more work is required to establish just how an El Niño event affects weather patterns in Ethiopia. Among the questions that need to be answered are: How does the strength and position of the Tropical Easterly Jet (TEJ) during El Niño years compare with non El Niño years? What is the effect on the strength and depth of the low level south-westerly winds that supply moisture to Ethiopia? Does the El Niño influence the African Easterly Jet (AEJ)? Does the El Niño phenomena affect both belg and kiremt rains? With limited resources, the NMSA has begun to address some of these questions but support for further research is urgently needed.
Although the rains normally withdraw from the highlands in October, this is the normal period for the short rains in the lowlands of Southern and South-Eastern Ethiopia, including much of the Ethiopian Somali National Regional State. Last year these rains were extremely poor and much of this area suffered from severe drought. This year, the rains began on time and have been unusually heavy and many areas have been badly affected by flooding. First hit was the Dollo area near Ethiopia's border with Kenya and Somalia where an estimated 15,000 displaced people from Somalia and other areas have set up temporary camps. According to the local administration, the flooding forced 2,579 families in the district to leave their homes and seek shelter on higher ground. The floods also destroyed some 362 hectares of irrigated farmland planted with maize, fruit and vegetables and caused the loss of numerous water pumps. UNHCR in cooperation with WFP and the DPPC organized an assessment mission by air to the area on 30 October and as a follow-up to this mission UNHCR have donated 500 tents to families who had lost their homes in the flooding.
At about the same time, the Wabe Shabele river broke its banks inundating and isolating up to 40 agro-pastoral villages downstream of Gode. Particularly badly hit has been the town of Mustahil about 150 kms downstream of Gode where virtually the entire population had to seek shelter in the surrounding hills. The DPPC, with the cooperation of the local military, organized a helicopter assessment on 2 November and followed this up with several relief flights of shelter materials and high protein biscuits using an Ethiopian Airlines Hercules from Dire Dawa to Gode. As much of the area remains cut off, the military have agreed to provide a helicopter to assist with the onward distribution. The new Regional President also visited the area from 7 November onwards.
Although the unusually heavy rains have caused the loss of property and livestock as well as a number of deaths, in the long term they could be very beneficial to the regeneration of pasture land and water points. Also, once the water recedes there is excellent potential for flood recession agriculture if the affected communities still have maize or sorghum seeds.
The EFSR continues to play an extremely important role in meeting emergency relief needs and over the last three months, in spite of low stocks and limited pledges, the Reserve has loaned out over 80,000 tons. Prompt loan repayments, however, remain of critical importance if the Reserve is to fully meet the kind of heavy demands placed on it over the last year.
As of 20 October 1997 the EFSR reported the following overall stock
position: (metric tons)
|Stock at Hand||
|Unpaid balance from recycling||
|Unpaid balance from swapping||
Although the physical stocks available at the beginning of the new year
will depend on actual ship arrivals as well as any new withdrawals that
might be made over the next two months, it is still estimated that actual
stocks at the end of December will be around 125,000 tons, well below the
optimum considering that generally, in-country carry-over stocks are likely
to be very low this year.
Food and Logistics
Cereal and pulse relief pledges against the 1997 DPPC appeals jumped during the month of October with the confirmation of various notional pledges and the announcement of several new pledges. According to a report issued by WFP on 28 October, the status of relief pledges (cereals and pulses only) was as follows:
With the announcement of new pledges and the confirmation of previously
announced notional pledges, the percentage of deliveries against pledges
dropped during the month of October and now stands at about 25%. The tentative
shipping schedule for the remainder of the year and the first quarter of
1998 for carry-over pledges and confirmed new emergency pledges for all
commodities is as follows (in metric tons):
|January 1998||Euronaid "A"||wheat||22,689|
|1st quarter 1998||Euronaid "B"||wheat||23,000|
|1st quarter 1998||WFP||wheat||15,200||30,970|
Of the November/December expected arrivals, a significant portion will
go directly to the Emergency Food Security Reserve as repayments for previous
Local purchase programme
The 1997 local purchase programme is nearing completion and at the end of October WFP reported roughly 79,000 tons had been delivered by various suppliers with approximately another 10,000 tons due by the end of the year. The WFP local purchase programme, which was by far the largest this year mainly involved some 83,000 tons of cereals - 3,000 tons of which was used in 5,600 tons of locally produced blended foods - 4,200 tons of pulses and 570 tons of salt.
The untimely rains will also make the job of the FAO/WFP Assessment Mission much more difficult as their field work will also take place in early November and the rains will add many new variables to an already difficult and complex process. In spite of these difficulties the mission plan to adopt the same basic methodology of rapid rural appraisal as they have used in the last three years and over a 12 to 14 day period they plan to visit 38 zones. The four FAO teams will be composed of two consultants from FAO Rome, two local consultants and up to 4 representatives from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture while WFP, which will concentrate on the food deficit areas, will have 6 teams led by one person from WFP Rome, WFP staff from the Ethiopia office and representatives from NGOs and the donor community. The FAO teams will deal primarily with the zonal agricultural teams while the WFP teams' main point of contact will be with the zonal and wereda administration and DPPC representatives at the zonal level.
On their return to Addis Ababa around 20 November both missions will continue their detailed discussions with the Ministry of Agriculture, DPPC, other Ministries and the donor community.
HEALTH, NUTRITION AND WATER
Maternity related death rate one per cent: Out of 100,000 women in the child-bearing age group, some 1,000 die each year of complications related to pregnancy and child-birth, an official of the Ministry of Health has disclosed, adding that the major reasons behind the death toll are low health service coverage, early marriage and illegal abortion.
Refugee statistics and registration
The refugee population in Ethiopia by site as at end of September 1997 stood as follows:
East (Somali) West (Sudanese)
Aisha 15,282 Bonga 11,818
Camaboker 36,120 Dimma 7,436
Daror 49,355 Fugnido 17,847
Dharwanaji 40,601 Shirkole 17,590
Kebribeyah 10,445 TOTAL 54,691
Moyale 8,671 (Based on a registration by ARRA in November 1994.
Since then figures remained static)
North East (Djiboutians)
Afar Region 8,000 (Estimate presently used by WFP for food allocation.
Spontaneous departures are not recorded)
Addis Ababa 756 (Urban refugees)
GRAND TOTAL = 349,880
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.
UNDP/EUE field reports; CARE;
Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC); European Union;
FAO; FEWS; National Meteorological Services Agency (NMSA); Grain Market
Research Project (MEDaC); SCF (UK); CRS; UNICEF; UNHCR; WHO; AFP; ENA.
9 November, 1997
|UN-EUE||Tel.: (251) (1) 51-10-28/29|
|PO Box : 5580||Fax: (251) (1) 51-12-92|
|Addis Ababa, Ethiopia||Email: email@example.com|