Ethiopia Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 4 March 2013

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 04 Mar 2013

Humanitarian Requirements Document Update

The 2013 Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) covering the first half of the year was launched on 28 February. The document identifies emergency requirements in the food and non-food sectors based on the findings of the joint meher/deyr/karma multi-sectoral assessment conducted from 20 November to 15 December 2012, as well as government early warning information. In the first half of 2013, some 2.4 million people will require relief food assistance nationwide. As in the previous year, the regions with the highest requirements are Somali and Oromia, with 963,801 (38 per cent) and 846,417 (34 per cent) beneficiaries respectively. Overall, some US$ 175.7 million are identified in net requirements, including 165,751.69 MT of food (estimated at $132.4 million) and $43 million in non-food assistance. Given the poor belg (Mid-February to May) rains forecast by the National Meteorological Agency (NMA), early revision of the beneficiary figures may be required, as additional vulnerable households may need humanitarian assistance in the coming months. For more information, contact: infodrmfss@gmail.com

Food Security Outlook

According to the National Meteorological Agency (NMA), seasonal agricultural activities in much of the eastern half of the country will likely suffer, as a result of the forecast poor belg rains. The pastoralist and agro-pastoralist parts of southern Oromia, central and southern Somali and northern Afar Regions will also likely experience water and pasture shortages, through the next rainy season. Meanwhile, the forecast near-normal to above-normal belg rains in the central, southern and south-western Ethiopia will positively impact the overall belg agricultural activities, as well as improve availability of water and pasture in pastoralist and agro-pastoralist areas, according to NMA. Contrary to the forecast timely onset, however, the rains are already one month late in Amhara and three weeks late in Oromia and SNNP Regions – these areas had suffered from the late onset of the 2012 belg rains. Given the increasing water shortages reported from north-eastern Amhara, Afar, Tigray, south-eastern Oromia and southern Somali Regions, and the resultant deterioration in the food and nutritional security, poor and very poor households in these areas might require humanitarian assistance to meet basic survival needs in the coming months. A recent report from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fews Net) indicated that East and West Harerge zones of Oromia Region have become increasingly food insecure, as a result of two consecutive, poorly-distributed rainy seasons. With the forecast for the belg rains still unclear, according to the Fews Net report, and limited income from other sources, increased humanitarian assistance is necessary to prevent further loss of assets, facilitate the planting of short-cycle belg crops in March and long-cycle crops in March/April, and prevent further deterioration of food security in these areas. For more information, contact: ethiopia@fews.net

Health Update

As we are currently in the peak meningitis transmission season, which extends up to May, suspected cases of meningitis were reported from SNNP and Oromia Regions. Since the start of the season in January, sporadic cases were recorded from close to 60 woredas across 14 zones of SNNP, Oromia and Tigray, with upsurges of cases in 16 woredas of SNNP and Oromia. Woredas reporting increased cases of meningitis include Arbaminch Zuria, Halaba, Hawassa town, Dale, Shebedino, Gorche and Wonsho in SNNPR and Arsi Negele, Shalla, Shashemene Town, Shashemene Rural, Dodolla, Siraro, Wondo and Gedeb Assassa in Oromia Region. In response, the SNNP and Oromia Regional Health Bureaus and Woreda Health Offices, in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health/Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute and health partners, are vaccinating high-risk groups, including people between the ages of 2 and 30 years, and those living in crowded settings like prisons and universities. Some 721,000 people have so far been vaccinated, and some 2.5 million additional doses of vaccine are required to reach targeted people in high risk areas nationwide. The Ministry of Health and Regional Health Bureaus have strengthened preparedness and response measures, including enhanced disease surveillance system, strengthened case management, community awareness-raising and distribution of required drugs and medical supplies to health centres. Field-level interventions are closely monitored and supported by technical experts, and through coordination forums, including the federal level command post.

Meanwhile, suspected measles outbreaks were reported from Kebribeyah woreda of Fafan zone (Somali) and Semen Bench woreda of Bench Maji zone (SNNP), in the past weeks. Children between the ages of 5 and 14 years in Somali and between the ages of 1 and 4 years in SNNP Regions, are reportedly the most affected by the outbreaks. Health authorities have strengthened surveillance and case management, including provision of Vitamin A supplement, in all affected areas. Community health education and evaluation of risk factors are ongoing to prevent the spread of the outbreaks, and reduce mortality and morbidity. For more information, contact: who-wro@et.efro.who.int

Refugee Update

The Dollo Ado refugee complex continues to receive increasing number of Somali refugees, with over 4,650 new arrivals registered in February, compared to 3,654 in January. With the existing camps already at capacity – 190,444 people are currently hosted across five camps - UNHCR, and the Government refugee agency, ARRA, are focusing on expediting the opening of the sixth camp, as well as increasing the capacity of existing ones. Elsewhere in southern Ethiopia, UNHCR updated its contingency plan for Moyale in view of the March elections in Kenya. Registration and settlement sites were identified to receive and assist displaced Kenyans, should election-related violence forces civilians to cross the border. Core Relief Items were also identified from existing stocks, enough to cover needs of some 20,000 people. Shortage of shelter, however, remains a challenge.

In western Ethiopia, UNHCR and ARRA are closely investigating reports of some 10,000 people from Sudan’s Blue Nile State, possibly moving towards Benishangul Gumuz Region of Ethiopia. In Gambella, UNHCR and ARRA are focusing their efforts on relocating some 16,000 refugees from South Sudan living in host communities along the border, in Gambella’s Wanthowa woreda, to Pugnido camp. For more information, contact: gegziabk@unhcr.org or prokopch@unhcr.org

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