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Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia 


Ethiopia is the tenth largest country in Africa. It has an area of 1,235,000 square kilometres,about 60 percent of which is arable, with 10.4 presently cultivated.  


There are two seasons in Ethiopia: the dry season, which runs from October through May, and the wet season, which runs from June to September. The wet season itself is divided into the short rainy season (belg) during which time the belg crops are planted, and the main rainy season (kiremt), during which the meher crops are planted and belg crops harvested. 


Ethiopia has an elevated central plateau varying in height between 2,000 and 3,000 metres. In the north and centre of the country there are some 25 mountains whose peaks rise over 4,000 metres. The best know Ethiopia river is the Blue Nile (or Abbay), which runs a distance of 1,450 kilometres from its source in Lake Tana, to join the White Nile at Khartoum.


Roads: There are some 3,600 kilometres of asphalt roads with a 10,000 kilometres of gravel and dry weather roads.

Railway: A 778-kilometre long railway line links Addis Ababa with Djibouti, and carries both freight and passengers.

Air: Ethiopian Airlines has an extensive domestic network flying to 43 airfields and an additional 21 landing strips.


About 90 percent of the population earn their living from the land, mainly as subsistence farmers. Agriculture is the backbone of the national economy and the principal exports from this sector are coffee, oil seeds, flowers, vegetables and sugar. There is also a thriving livestock sector, exporting cattle, hides and skin.


Amharic, with its unique alphabet, is the official language. However at the regional level, local languages prevail, including several main languages such as Tigrinya, Oromiffa and Somali as well as many dialects.


Ethiopia is in the GMT + 3 hours time zone, and follows the Julian calendar, which consists of twelve months of 30 days each and a thirteenth month of five or six days.


The population of Ethiopia is over 54 million (1994 population census), with a large percentage of young people under 20 years of age. The ancient Ethiopians were Hamitic people who later intermingled with Semitic immigrants from southern Arabia.


The local currency is the Ethiopian Birr, made up of 100 cents.

Government of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

The Government of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia came into power in 1995, after a four year transitional period. The Government is headed by Nagassu Gidada (President) and Meles Zenawi (Prime Minister).


Source= "Selamta" Ethiopian Airlines Quarterly Magazine