Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia


Consolidated UN report prepared by the Information Section of the Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia from information and reports provided by specialised UN agencies, the Government and NGOs

Table of Contents



Italian president visits Ethiopia: Mr. Oscar Scalfaro, President of the Republic of Italy paid a four day official visit to Ethiopia from 23 November—the first such visit since 1941, the end of the six year war between the two countries. During the visit, President Scalfaro held talks with President Negasso Gidada and Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. He also addressed the Ethiopian Parliament, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and African and European diplomats in Addis Ababa. He told MPs that his visit could be taken as a step to dress old wounds and forge stronger ties between the two countries.

Emergency relief transport organisation to be established: At its 7th extraordinary meeting, the Council of Ministers approved a draft decree establishing a relief transport organisation using vehicles from the former Transport Operation for Refugees. TOR was originally set up under a tripartite agreement between German Technical Cooperation (GTZ), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) in 1989. Operations were later conducted in close cooperation with the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) until activities were suspended at the end of last year pending an agreement on the future use of the trucks.

Price of petrol and diesel falls: Effective 7 November, the retail cost of petrol and diesel was substantially reduced in the country in line with a decrease in world market prices. The measure, taken by the Ministry of Commerce and Trade, was in line with the decision made a year ago to make price adjustments every six months corresponding with the world market for crude oil. In Addis Ababa, petrol now costs 2.51 Birr per litre ($0.37), a reduction of about 5 percent over the price adjustment made in April, while diesel now fetches 1.76 Birr per litre ($0.26), a 9 percent reduction over the previous price.

Ethiopia issues new bank notes: The National Bank of Ethiopia commenced the circulation of new Birr notes on Saturday 8 November, replacing the old notes which have been in use since 1976. The deadline for changing old 50 and 100 Birr notes, originally given as 28 November, was later extended by two weeks due to the floods which was preventing people in peripheral areas from reaching the banks. Smaller denominations will remain legal tender until December 27 according to the current timetable. Notes are being redeemed with no charges and on par value. The new currency is similar to the old although smaller and without the symbols associated with the regime of the ousted military leader, Mengistu Haile Mariam. Eritrea also issued its new currency, the Nakfa, on the same day giving the country full monetary independence from Ethiopia. The exchange rate between the two currencies will remain one to one for two weeks and thereafter will be determined by the market. In a related development, on 22 November it was announced that business transactions between the two countries would be conducted in US dollars and other hard currencies. To avoid disrupting the small-scale transfer of goods across the border, exemptions will be made for licensed traders moving commodities with a value of not more than Birr 2,000 (approx. $300).

Four million children struggling to survive – UNICEF: Quoting a recent UNICEF study, a government magazine has reported some four million Ethiopian children, 100,000 of whom are already street children, are facing major problems of survival. The study, conducted in 25 major Ethiopian towns, revealed that a further 500,000 children who have no-one to care for them are also on the brink of joining those already on the streets. The collapse of the extended family system, especially in urban areas, had contributed to the increase in destitute children in Ethiopia. According to the study, only 25,000 children are being cared for in 106 children’s centres throughout the country.

Ethiopia coffee crop not affected by unseasonable weather: According to experts, the Ethiopian coffee crop has not been adversely affected by the recent unseasonable weather conditions. Heavy rains in the coffee growing belt of the south-west came after the flowering stage and as such will have no impact on final production, according to Ethiopia’s Coffee and Tea Authority. The Authority expects that the export target for 1997/98 of 128,000 tons will be met generating an expected income of around $348 million. Ethiopia is Africa’s third largest exporter of coffee after Uganda and the Ivory Coast and generates some 60 percent of the country’s foreign exchange revenues.


On 28 November, in a formal presentation to international donor organisations, embassies, UN agencies and NGO representatives, the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission launched its relief appeal for 1998 indicating that some 4.2 million people would be in need of more than half a million tons of food assistance for a period of up to 12 months. The appeal was based on a detailed pre-harvest assessment of needs conducted by field teams deployed over the past two months by the Early Warning Department of the DPPC in conjunction with donors and the UN.

Poor weather conditions blamed

The appeal made reference to steadily increasing relief needs during the course of 1997 — with the number of people requiring assistance rising from 1.93 million (December 1996 appeal) to a total of 3.4 million (August 1997 appeal). Unfavourable weather conditions were cited as the principal reason for this decline in food-security, which has occurred despite the apparent gains made following last year’s very favourable harvest. While the drought during the early part of the year had a significant impact on pastoralists living in the lowlands of the south, the failure of the belg (short-season) rains had serious implications in the central highlands for land preparation and sowing of main season crops. Despite late commencement, the main season, kiremt, rains over the highlands and mid-altitude areas were generally considered to be satisfactory for crop development. However, interruptions and poor distribution, particularly in the eastern lowlands and parts of southern and south-eastern Tigray and Welo, led to an almost complete failure of long-cycle maize and sorghum crops in these areas and forced the migration of livestock in search of better grazing. More recently, unseasonable heavy rains throughout the country have disrupted harvesting and caused significant damage to late planted crops and mature stands of teff. These unusual rains in the highlands also contributed to serious flooding in the eastern periphery of the country (see section on floods).

Despite limited resources, the Government has largely been able to meet the needs that have arisen during the year. However, according to the new appeal, this has only been possible through careful prioritization of existing relief resources and by diverting resources away from development activities. Total relief food distributed to the end of October was estimated by the DPPC at slightly over 267,000 tons. In addition, around 50 million Birr (US $7.36 million) was committed by government to meet the cost of transporting food stocks, providing emergency water supplies in drought areas and to meet various health related emergency needs.

Substantial relief food needs projected

Faced with a precarious food supply situation, the Government of Ethiopia anticipates fairly major relief requirements for 1998. On the basis of its recent field assessments, which also attempted to take into account the impact of the recent unseasonable rains, the DPPC estimates a total of 572,835 tons of relief food will be needed to assist a needy population of some 4.26 million for a period of between 6 and 12 months. In addition, slightly less than 1.56 million people have been identified as in a precarious situation requiring careful monitoring over the coming months. The DPPC notes that these figures could increase further if there is further heavy unseasonable rain or if, as some observers are suggesting, the present El Niño episode (see last month’s situation report) results in the development of drought conditions later next year. A detailed breakdown of current food needs by region is given in the table below:

1998 Food Assistance Requirement  
Population needing:
Requirement (MT)




Other areas*





















5,820,415 1,557,900 4,262,515 572,835
  *Others = Gambella, Somali, Harari, Dire Dawa, Afar and Addis Ababa (displaced)

Though donors with existing pledges are attempting to expedite delivery, the food pipeline to the country remains weak. Unlike in the past, when there used to be substantial carry-over stocks and undelivered pledges, the Government is concerned that in-country stocks of emergency food will be very low at the end of December. With relief operations currently underway required to continue uninterrupted and expand over the coming months (current distribution plan allows for approximately 42,000 tons per month), the Government emphasizes the importance of early pledging to make possible loans from the Food Security Reserve. On its side, the DPPC Commissioner announced that the Government of Ethiopia was planning the commercial importation of an amount of food using its own resources. This unprecedented step would be taken within the next few weeks in order to demonstrate the government's commitment to meeting a portion of the needs and in the hope that donors would be encouraged to meet the balance. In addition, if and when required, the government will deploy military and other assets in support of the relief effort as is being done at present in the Somali region in response to the flood emergency.

Non-food relief needs

The non-food component of the appeal addressed the current flood emergency in the south-east as well as building up a capacity to respond to possible future quick-onset emergencies in the coming months. The Government is already planning to support drought and flood victims alike with the provision of seed and will be sharing the details of rehabilitation needs in the agricultural sector with FAO and interested donors shortly. Meanwhile, the recent heavy rain has given rise to fears of possible epidemics of malaria and cholera and to combat this the government has set up a special budget while the Ministry of Health is taking steps to prepare for such a contingency by pre-positioning drugs in the areas at risk. In addition, the Ministry is preparing details of the support which may be needed from external sources which will be submitted to the international community shortly.

To meet the most urgent needs in cases of further sudden flooding in flood-prone areas of the country, the Government is also appealing for 150 water bladders, 10 water purification plants, some 1,920 rolls of plastic sheeting, 400 family tents, motorized inflatable rubber boats, walkie-talkies and other miscellaneous shelter materials. In addition, a requirement for 2,700 tons of high energy biscuits has also been identified.

Concerns over relief situation will not prevent progress on strategic issues

In his formal presentation of the appeal, Commissioner Simon Michale said that while focussing at present on the immediate emergency needs, the Government remains committed to addressing the country's vulnerability through a range of long-term development programmes and strategies. These include the preparation of a National Food Security Strategy which is presently being elaborated at the regional level. Programmes from the four main agricultural regions of the country will be submitted in December when they will be discussed with partners. He went on to say that relief food requested for 1998 will, to the extent possible, be utilised in a manner that contributes towards the attainment of long-term food security. In this regard, extra effort is needed to build a national capacity to plan and implement fully-fledged Employment Generation Schemes in the most vulnerable areas. The DPPC is also preparing a five year strategic plan the main focus of which will be on programmes that help reduce vulnerabilities to famine and food shortages. On completion of the plan, expected towards the end of this year, relevant elements will be submitted for donor support.

In closing his speech, the Commissioner reiterated that relief operations in the coming year will require a concerted effort on the part of all concerned. As well as the contribution to be made by donors, NGOs are also expected to play an important, proactive role in both mobilising resources and the implementation of relief programmes. The DPPC is committed on its part to ensuring that operations are well coordinated and proceed smoothly.


Crop production and food needs assessments

The thirteen DPPC-led pre-harvest assessment teams finally returned to Addis Ababa during the third week of November. The teams had returned to the field for an additional 2-3 weeks after the Council of Ministers ordered a quick assessment of the impact on the main season harvest of the heavy unseasonable rains that had fallen over much of the country in late October. On their return, the teams reported that the unusual weather was having a mixed impact. In the lowlands of Tigray and Welo the late rain had helped regenerate pasture and replenish water sources. However, although livestock conditions were improving, markets remained very weak. In cropping areas, the heavy storms in October and again in November had caused serious damage to mature stands of teff and late planted maize and sorghum. On the other hand, late planted teff, as well as barley and wheat appeared to be benefiting from the rain provided the duration and intensity had not been too great. In parts of Shewa and the central highlands, farmers had sown again in mid-October and if the moist conditions persist are optimistic of producing a secondary crop. Farmers in belg growing areas are also taking advantage of the unusually wet weather by ploughing their land early. For most crops, farmers will plough at least twice before planting and normally this cannot be started until the first rains which normally commence in late January/early February. In the south the unusual weather is delaying the planting of sweet potato—an important intermediate crop—while in the north west, especially the Western zone of Tigray, a good surplus is anticipated though still down on last year’s bumper harvest.

Crop pests

The Crop Pest Division (CPD) of the Ministry of Agriculture has released a report on its pest control operations covering the latter part of 1997. Major outbreaks of Armyworm were first reported from the south and south-east of the country as early as May. Later, gregarious larvae were encountered in central and northern areas but infestations did not reach the scale observed in 1994, the last major outbreak resulting in significant crop losses. This year, control operations were conducted in 7 regions supported logistically by CPD and with the active participation of farmers and local inhabitants. During the peak of the infestation (May/June) a total of 140,000 hectares of cropland and some 52,000 hectares of rangeland had been recorded as heavily infested. Of this, a total of around 78,500 hectares of cropland was sprayed with various insecticides obtained from Government and donor sources.

Grain-eating birds (mainly Quelea quelea) were a local problem in sorghum/maize growing areas of the eastern lowlands (especially around Jijgiga in the Somali region), central rift valley, Shewa Robit lowlands (South-Eastern part of Amhara region) and the Cheffa plain (North Welo). In these areas, the CPD estimated a total infestation of some 108 million birds covering an area of nearly 1,800 hectares of cropland. 33 roosting sites and colonies were located and sprayed with "QueleaTox" (a detergent-based pesticide) and Fenthion. The operations were conducted in cooperation with the Desert Locust Control Organisation (DLCO), and achieved kill rates of 80 to 98 percent.

Grain markets

Wholesale cereal prices generally show a sharp decline in November/December, reflecting the increase in traded volumes as the main season harvest reaches the market. While there was initially a drop in maize prices of around 10 percent in October this was not sustained in November and overall the declines were much less than normally expected for this time of the year. The relatively static prices are probably due to traders’ perception that the main season harvest this year will be much less than the bumper harvest of 1996.

While aggregate cereal prices showed only a small decline in most rural markets (often less than 1 percent over the average of the past three months), the price of teff and barley rose by as much as 12 percent partly due to concern over the impact of the unseasonable rains on these two crops. In general, wholesale cereal prices continue to remain very high for the time of year being, on average, about 40 percent higher than the same time last year.

Selected wholesale prices in mid-November were as follows (Ethiopian Birr per 100kgs): Mixed Teff, Birr 146-255 (Shambu/Dire Dawa); Barley, Birr 158-225 (Ambo/Gobdar); Sorghum, Birr 142-203 (Barhidar/Dire Dawa); and White Maize, Birr 74-155 (Shambu/Mekele).

Weather patterns

Satellite imagery indicates that rainfall amounts were well above the five-year average over the whole of Western Ethiopia during the first dekad of November while other parts of the country, especially Somali, east and South Oromia and parts of Afar received below normal rainfall. In some central highland areas, normally dry at this time of year, ground stations recorded over 100 mm of rain in one day and, over the dekad, over 70 times more rainfall than the long-term average. Influenced by a tropical storm tracking north-west over the Indian Ocean, during the following ten day period, heavy cloud cover gradually spread to the south and south-east of the country where a pattern of more seasonal rainfall became established. Though weakening towards the end of the period, moist airflows over the northern part of the country continued to produce above average rainfall with some heavy storms reported from various parts of central, northern and western Ethiopia. In some mid-altitude areas, the resumption of the rains at this time was particularly damaging to mature stands of teff, which is vulnerable to lodging and seed-shattering.

Towards the end of November, the weather system over the Horn of Africa appeared to take on a more normal pattern with the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) moving to the south and producing good rainfall over the southern and eastern parts of Ethiopia while generally dry, sunny conditions prevailed again over much of the central, western and northern highlands.


New pledges

The Canadian Government has announced a new pledge of 12,300 tons of relief wheat in response to the Government’s belg appeal. This brings the total Canadian commitment this year to 15,500 tons. While no firm pledges had been confirmed as of 5 December, following the DPPC appeal for 1998 it is known that both the US Government and the European Union are considering significant commitments with other donors expected to follow suit.

Food Security Reserve

During the course of 1997 the Emergency Food Security Reserve has again proved its worth as a key element of the Ethiopian Government’s relief preparedness strategy. Through the granting of expeditious loans, the management of the EFSR have been able to make good the time delay between the confirmation of pledges and actual delivery of food—be it through local purchase or external procurement. However, the high number of drawdowns this year has frequently placed the reserve under pressure and brought physical stocks to extremely low levels. As of 27 November, out of a total holding of 283,000 tons, the reserve held physical stocks of just under 61,000 tons with outstanding loans of around 208,000 tons.

With a number of repayments against incoming shipments from WFP, SIDA and the US Government due to be delivered in the coming weeks, it is estimated that physical stocks in the reserve will steadily climb to a possible high of 170,000 tons by early in the new year, subject to the slippage of current delivery schedules and the possibility of further emergency loans being granted following confirmation of new pledges. Under a European Union initiative, a study/review is to be made next year of the functioning and use of the reserve. The study is expected to come up with recommendations regarding the level of future holdings and possible changes in operational modalities. One of the key issues to be addressed is whether the facility should remain as purely a "last resort" source of emergency food aid or be expanded to function more as a national buffer stock. In the meantime, a grant of 24,000 tons from the European Union is expected to bring the reserve to its mid-term holding of 307,000 tons while an additional grant of 100,000 tons is pending further consideration in Brussels.


In a statement released 19 November, the head of the Ethiopian Somali National Regional State, Mr. Mohammed Mealin, reported that a total of 297 people had lost their lives as a result of extensive flooding in the region over the previous three to four weeks. This followed unseasonable heavy rain in the highlands of Ethiopia in October/early November and the widespread inundation of the lower reaches of the Shebelle, Ganale (Juba in Somalia), and Dawa rivers. In addition to the cost in human lives, more than 12,000 domestic animals were reported lost, some 30,000 hectares of cropland inundated and 4,252 homes destroyed. According to later reports, out of approximately 80,000 families affected, a total of some 16,000 families lost their homes or have been made destitute as a direct result of the floods.

Flooding has also hit other vulnerable areas of the country with the DPPC reporting that localised inundation of the Awash river basin has displaced some 7,500 families around Melka Werer and Gewane while in the Hadiya zone of SNNPR flash floods reportedly killed 20 people and led to the displacement of some 47,000. In the west of the country, the Baro and Akobo rivers have also been running very high, threatening a number of low-lying communities in the Gambella region. In all locations, the government has taken measures to pre-positioned relief food and shelter materials.

Immediately following the occurrence of the flooding in the south-east (viewed as the most seriously affected region) the Government took steps to assess the extent of the damage while at the same time dispatching emergency relief supplies. With a number of villages still cut-off, an air-relief operation was mounted with a Hercules L-100 aircraft hired from Ethiopian Airlines used to pre-position supplies in the central Ogaden town of Gode while an airforce helicopter was deployed to shuttle supplies to affected communities around Kelafo, Mustahil and Ferfer and to rescue people trapped by the rising water levels. Using its own resources, supplemented by supplies provided by the Ethiopian Red Cross, the DPPC quickly transported 35 tons of relief grain, 20 tons of high energy biscuits, 80 rolls of plastic sheeting and some 37,000 litres of fuel to the main operations base at Gode; while some 40 tons of grain, 15 tons of biscuits and 35 rolls of plastic sheeting had been dispatched by truck to meet the immediate needs of people displaced by the flooding of the Ganale and Dawa rivers close to the Ethiopian/Somali/Kenyan border.

Fearing that continued heavy rain in the highlands would lead to further flooding and with a number of locations still inaccessible by road, on 20 November the DPPC appealed to the international community for additional logistical assistance, shelter materials, food and medicines. This met with a favourable response, and following a commitment of $50,000 from the Organisation of African Unity, the DPPC also received cash contributions of $25,000 from the US government for supporting relief and rehabilitation actions and $158,000 in re-phased emergency funds from UNDP for meeting part of the costs of mounting the airlift operation. The Italian Government also responded with a pledge to airlift health kits, plastic sheeting, motor boats and other relief equipment. The donation, worth approximately $233,000, included transport from the UN-DHA emergency warehouse in Pisa to the DPPC operations centre in Gode.

On 22 November, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi visited the areas between Kelafo and Ferfer worst hit by the floods. After speaking with elders and officials he promised the Federal Government would do its utmost to provide relief, furnish farmers with seed and repair damaged roads.

Throughout the last week of November, the logistics operation was greatly enhanced following the French Government’s decision to deploy two medium-lift Puma helicopters and a C-160 Transall transport aircraft from its military base in Djibouti. The DPPC also chartered a JetRanger helicopter from the NGO Helimission while the Ministry of Defense made available 6 motorised boats for the Gode area and one additional heavy-lift helicopter for operations along the Dawa and Ganale rivers in Liban zone—where damage to the road network had led to the isolation of numerous villages, including the border town of Dolo where upwards of 8,000 refugees and displaced people are encamped. With this additional logistics capacity, by the end of November the DPPC had been able to pre-position and distribute a total of 310 tons of relief grain, 45 tons of high energy biscuits and 115 rolls of plastic sheeting.

Working closely with the emergency task force established by the regional and military authorities in Gode, the ICRC is presently undertaking the distribution of 10,000 blankets, 5,000 cooking pots, 5,000 jerrycans, and 80,000 square metres of plastic sheeting to around 25,000 people. Some medical supplies have also been pre-positioned but will remain in store until adequate supervision structures are established as part of the medical task force soon to be established by the local health bureau. In addition, with a view to the longer-term rehabilitation needs of the affected population, on 24/25 November the ICRC together with the Ethiopian Red Cross transported sufficient veterinary medicines for the treatment of around 430,000 camels, cattle, sheep and goats.

With a return to more normal weather conditions in the Ethiopian highlands and a fall in river levels, the immediate danger of further flooding in the periphery of the country can be expected to diminish somewhat. Traditionally, farmers along the Shebelle and Ganale rivers take advantage of these occasional inundations by practicing "flood-recession" agriculture: planting maize and vegetables as their fields re-emerge. In the past the additional nutrients left by floodwaters together with high residual moisture levels have led to bumper harvests. This was particularly the case following extensive flooding in 1992 and again in 1995, when local surpluses were even traded across the border into Somalia. Given that farmers may have lost their seed stocks, a number of agencies, including local NGOs, are presently assessing the needs and are considering assistance with seeds and tools. This includes the ICRC who, together with the Ethiopian Red Cross, are presently planning to purchase certified seeds for some 50,000 farmers in the Somali region. Distribution in the affected areas, however, will depend on the reopening of access roads.


The first phase of the national polio immunization campaign took place from November 13 to 16. Following completion of the second phase, due to take place from December 12 to 15, the Ministry of Health expected a total of 8.5 million children under the age of five years to have been vaccinated bringing the national coverage to 100 percent. As part of the worldwide effort to eradicate polio by the year 2000, Rotary International has joined other donors and philanthropists in making available 400 million dollars for the campaign, of which, 1.5 million Birr (approx. $225,000) has been pledged to the Ethiopia programme. Other donors to the programme include USAID which has made funds available for the purchase of some 21 million doses of vaccine and to meet operational costs of the campaign.

Following the recent floods, WHO has recruited a consultant to work with the affected regions for five weeks and support the development of emergency plans. A particular concern at present is the threat posed by possible outbreaks of malaria and cholera in the aftermath of the floods, especially in the densely populated areas along the Shebelle and Ganale rivers.

Following an appeal in April this year, WHO raised funds for the purchase of 11 health kits – sufficient for 110,000 people for three months. Following delivery to the country in October, these kits were immediately dispatched to the south and east of the country for use by regional health bureaus in areas affected by the floods. The distribution plan is presently as follows: Oromiya region 6 kits (4 Borena & 2 Bale); Somali region 3 kits (2 Kebridehar & 1 Gode); and SNNP region 3 kits (2 North Omo & 1 South Omo). Adjustments in the plan may be made to meet the changing situation.

A second public health conference for the Horn of Africa is being planned for the first week of March 1998. To be attended by Ministers of Health and technical specialists, the meeting will consider plans for emergency health interventions in the sub-region. To help prepare for the conference, a consultant is to be hired by WHO by the end of December.

Following the launch of the DPPC relief appeal for 1998, WHO and UNICEF have begun a series of consultations with the Ministry of Health aimed at elaborating the health aspects of the appeal. Donors will be notified of the requirements once the needs have been clearly identified.


Health and nutrition

The final report on the joint UNHCR/ARRA/WFP/SCF(UK) nutritional survey of Somali and Sudanese refugees conducted in August/September this year, has been compiled and widely circulated. The report has confirmed that the nutritional situation is satisfactory only in Rabasso, Daror and Dimma (8.5 percent, 9.9 percent, and 10.8 percent < 80 percent WFH respectively). It is alarming and serious in Aisha and Fugnido (19.2 percent and 27.2 percent) and poor in the remaining seven camps ranging between 11.3 percent and 17.6 percent < 80 percent WFH. The reasons for poor and/or serious nutritional status have been highlighted and recommendations to overcome the situation proposed.

Dolo emergency operation.

Due to the heavy rain and localised flooding at the three sites of Dolo Odo, Dolo Bay and Suftu resulting in the destruction of a significant number of houses the incidence of acute respiratory infections, diarrhoea and malaria has started to increase. Tents and essential medical supplies were subsequently donated by UNHCR to the Dolo district authorities to help combat these problems.

There were 1,699 direct beneficiaries of the wet and supplementary food programme at Dolo. Only 149 of the beneficiaries were cases less than 80 percent WFH indicating the much improved nutritional status of the caseload. Supplementary food supplies, however, are low and efforts are being made to replenish them.

The targeted general food distribution (99 tons sorghum) for October was accomplished uneventfully reaching some 8,250 beneficiaries. The fact that the area is presently cut off by land because of the heavy rains is of serious concern as food and other supplies cannot for now be transported by road. Using a helicopter provided by the defense forces, the DPPC is working to shuttle supplies from Bokolmayo (last point on the road passable by truck) to the main population centres affected by the flooding.


Ethiopians from Sudan

A tripartite meeting was held between representatives of the Governments of Ethiopia and Sudan and UNHCR in Geneva on 15 October to discuss modalities for the repatriation operation and other issues such as the rehabilitation of refugee-impacted areas and long-term re-integration of returnees.

Somalis to NW Somalia ("Somaliland")

Registration of refugees willing to voluntarily repatriate to North-West Somalia continued in Teferiber, Dharwanaji and Hartisheik camps. Supplementary agreements have been signed with ARRA and CARE Ethiopia and UNHCR expect to repatriate some 30,000 refugees by the end of the year.

Repatriation to Sudan

UNHCR in Fugnido camp has been receiving applications (128 to-date) from refugees expressing the wish to voluntarily repatriate to southern Sudan. They claim that their areas of return are now safe and would like UNHCR’s assistance to repatriate. UNHCR is monitoring this development closely.


The refugee population in Ethiopia as at the end of October 1997 stood as follows:
West (Sudanese) 
Bonga             11,818  
Dimma             7,575  
Fugnido          17,847  
Shirkole          17,965  

Total               55,205  

The figures for Bonga, Dimma and Fugnido are the result of the re-registration of February/March 1997, a list of "absentees" agreed with ARRA and a trickle of new arrivals since then. The new arrivals from the Blue Nile region have been settled at a new site in Shirkole.  
East (Somali) 
Aisha                15,282  
Campaboker      36,120  
Daror                 49,355  
Dharwanaji         40,601  
Hartisheik          53,760  
Kebrebeyah       10,445  
Rabasso            28,381  
Teferiber            43,818  

Total                277,762  

Figures are based on the revalidation of September/October 1994 and subsequent registration of new arrivals until June/July 1995, when ARRA ceased to register any new arrivals. Since then the figures have remained static, with the exception of small adjustments such as transfers. Births/deaths or other increases/decreases are not being registered by ARRA. 9,947 registered refugees were repatriated to NW Somalia ("Somaliland") during the period February-July 1997.  
South-East (Somali)
Dolo Odo             3,000  
Dolo Bay             1,200  
Suftu                   1,800  

Total                    6,000  

UNHCR estimate. Refugees arrived in early 1997 from the area of Baidoa in Bay Region and receive only targeted assistance on a temporary basis pending a more permanent solution.  
South (Kenyans)
Moyale               8,671  
Based on a registration by ARRA in November 1994. Since then figures have remained static. The new arrivals of 1997 have not yet been registered.
North-East (Djiboutians)
 Afar region         8,000  
Estimate presently used by WFP for food allocation. UNHCR estimates the urban component to be no more than 3,000.  
Addis Ababa (urban refugees)
Grand Total  




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); 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.
5  December, 1998

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