Eritrea + 1 more

Ethiopia Situation Report for period Nov - Dec 1999

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

The annual FAO/WFP Crop Production and Food Needs Assessment Mission completed its work in late November with the preliminary prediction that production shortfalls in 1999 would lead to an food import requirement in 2000 of between 600,000 and 800,000 MT. The mission estimated the total production figure for 1999 as being between 10 and 11 million MT - down on last year’s revised production estimate of 11.4 million MT;

Reports from recent assessment missions to the central areas of the Somali region indicate an emerging humanitarian crisis with widespread malnutrition, the migration of rural destitute to the towns, decimation of livestock and very little institutional capacity to respond to the crisis;

WFP’s emergency operation for populations affected by the border conflict with Eritrea received a donation of US $2.3 million from the Netherlands for the local purchase of 6,116 MT of cereals. Together with recent commitments announced by Norway and Japan, the shortfall has been reduced to 1,485 MT. Current pledges should be sufficient to meet needs until the end of March;

A series of consultative meetings on landmine-related activities in Ethiopia are being held in Addis Ababa to identify areas of cooperation and support. The meeting’s participants are drawn from non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and national institutions of Ethiopia The forum has established working groups in the areas of demining, landmine education, training and advocacy, survivor rehabilitation, policy development and information and documentation.

General Events and Developments

Drought problems loom in south: The local authorities in the lowlands of Borena and Bale in Oromia say that they are experiencing a virtual total failure of rain. The normal rainy season in the lowland areas of the south-west runs from September to December. In Bale Zone an estimated 150,000 people are affected by drought, with loss of crops almost certain. In Borena, which borders Kenya, drought is affecting about 500,000 people and livestock are reportedly dying. The water shortage threatens a major local disaster according to independent observers. (Addis Tribune, December 3)

Discussion to amend laws on rape, abortion opens: A three-day workshop to discuss an amendment of the Ethiopian Penal Code was opened at the House of Peoples Representatives of Ethiopia Conference Hall. According to Ethiopia Beyene, Secretary of the Standing Committee of Women’s Affairs, the workshop focused on laws that deal with rape, abduction and abortion. The event was organised to gather ideas and inputs from the public at large on issues affecting children and women and the workshop is aimed at preventing "any loopholes that might arise after the process of amendment was completed and its implementation started". To date, six workshops have been conducted under the organisation of the committee. Over 200 participants from Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa as well as from the regions of Ethiopia attended the workshop drawn from members of parliament, the police, and officials from regional and federal offices of women’s affair, religious groups, intellectuals as well as representatives of the Ministry of Social Affairs. Two more workshops on girl and women trafficking and harmful traditional practices including early marriage, female genital mutilation and scarcity will be held in the month of January. (The Reporter, December 1 & 8)

Mengistu Hailemariam receives treatment in South Africa: South Africa’s foreign ministry has said that the former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Hailemariam, accused of genocide, was entitled to stay in the country for medical help. According to a report in the Pretoria News, foreign ministry spokesman Khangelani Hlongwane said that Mengistu would not be extradited to Ethiopia because "he is a refugee and under international law even refugees have the right to humane treatment." Holongwane added that South Africa did not have an extradition treaty with Ethiopia "so we have no reason to send him back". He also pointed out that it would be wrong for the South African government to "hound Mengistu while many South Africans accused of human rights abuses during the apartheid era were not prosecuted for the sake of reconciliation. "If we preach reconciliation in our own country, how can we insist that Mengistu be brought to book?" In a statement issued in Addis Ababa on November 28, Ethiopian government spokesman Haile Kiros appealed to Pretoria to hand over Mengistu even in the absence of a legal mechanism for such a move. The South African government has stated that it would only consider extraditing former Ethiopian leader Mengistu once formal legal application had been received from Ethiopia. Mengistu came to South Africa from Zimbabwe on November 18 to receive medical treatment for an undisclosed illness at a private clinic. Ethiopia later made the extradition request but Mengistu left South Africa and returned to Zimbabwe after a few days. (AFP, November 29 & December 3 & 5; The Monitor, November 39; Xinhua, December 1; Reuters, December 1)

Nile Basin accord signed: An agreement providing for the implementation of a regional project named "Capacity Building for the Nile Basin Water resources Management" has been signed between the Ethiopian Minister of Water Resources, Shiferaw Jarso, FAO Representative in Ethiopia, Anthony V. Obeng, and the Ambassador of Italy, Marcello Ricoveri. The US $5.25 million project is being supported by Italy and will address the issue of equitable management and utilisation of the Nile. The project is to be implemented over a period of three years. (Reporter, December 8)

Embassy denies US Marines in Eritrea: The Reporter Newspaper published an article in its November 22 Amharic and November 24 English issues in which allegations of a US Marines presence in Eritrea were made. The US Embassy in Addis Ababa has denied the allegations calling the presence in Eritrea of American Marines as "patently false and counter-productive to peace efforts." According to the Embassy, in early November 1999, one Marines officer participated as a member of a US Department of Defence team which visited Ethiopia, Eritrea and other countries in the region to discuss humanitarian de-mining projects as part of US interests in that activity. "There are currently no US Marines in Eritrea nor, with the single exception noted above, have there been any US Marines in Eritrea at any recent time." (Reporter, December 8)

Special reports

Land Mine Action Forum in Ethiopia

A series of meetings for cooperation on land mines related activities in Ethiopia are being held in Addis Ababa to identify areas of cooperation and support. The meeting’s participants are drawn from non-governmental organizations, UN agencies and national institutions of Ethiopia. The Ad-Hoc Land Mine Action Forum meets on a regular basis with a view to serving as a catalyst for the future establishment of a formal national institution concerned with the issue of landmines. The forum has established working groups in the areas of demining, landmine education, training and advocacy, survivor rehabilitation, policy development and information and documentation. At its first meeting in April 1999, this networking and information-sharing forum agreed that the main area of programme focus, at present, should be mine awareness and victims assistance interventions.

Since then, UNICEF Ethiopia has instituted a community based land mine awareness education project in the last quarter of 1999 which seeks to equip displaced populations in Tigray region with appropriate knowledge and awareness to better understand and respond to threats posed by land mines in their home areas. The project is being implemented in collaboration with the non-governmental organization Rehabilitation and Development Organization (RaDO) and regional authorities to strengthen sustainable awareness based on international land mine awareness guidelines.

UNICEF/RaDO training sessions have been completed in Mekelle and Sheraro benefiting some 100 participants from Tigray. The training specifically targets residents from localities in the Western Zone where it has been reported that over 100,000 land mines have been laid by Eritrean forces. Casualties of 115 civilians killed or wounded and 300 domestic animals lost in land mine incidents have been reported in the regions since the conflict began. What is significant is the high rate of casualties among children under 18 years (believed to be mostly boys), totaling almost 60% of all reported cases. More recently, RaDO has extended training coverage to Eastern Zone with training completed in Adigrat. UNICEF/RaDO training has covered areas such as mine recognition, mine clues, mine signs and suspected areas as well as mine messages, risk taking behavior and data collection.

Meanwhile, the United Nations Country Team has met for discussions on the problem of landmines in Ethiopia and, more specifically, its relation to the war displaced population in the north of Ethiopia. The participants of the meeting agreed on the need for cooperation and coordination of UN landmine related activities targeting population groups displaced by the conflict. The UNCT has begun planning for possible joint land mine related programmes and research is currently being undertaken through the UN Emergencies Unit on the scope of the problem and the appropriate response. (UNICEF; UN-EUE; Ad-Hoc Landmine Action Forum)

Drought conditions reported from the Somali Region

For the past 30 months the Gode Zone of the Somali Region and surrounding areas have been experiencing erratic rainfall and scarcity of pasture, exacerbated until recently by an unfavourable terms of trade. Along with the livestock ban, which was lifted only recently, these factors have contributed to the gradual loss of animals and other assets necessary for the survival of people in this drought prone area. Recently hit by seasonal floods which were more severe in magnitude than those normally experienced each year, the delay in the deyr rains (Late September to early December) has been the proverbial straw breaking the camel’s back, having a devastating effect on already precarious livelihoods, especially for the peri-urban populations who have become dependent on income derived from their herds of cattle. Following reports of worsening conditions, the UN Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia sent an assessment mission to cover Gode, Kelafo, Mustahil, Abakorow, Adadley and some parts of Denan wereda from 29 November to 6 December.

The mission found that drought-displaced people in bad condition had begun to arrive in the main towns of Gode, Imi and Denan in search of food and healthcare. They reported that more families were left behind, unable to travel because of malnutrition, disease and weakness. The hospital and health center in Gode has conducted outreach services in the drought displaced areas around the town and reported a high incidence of diarrhoea, TB and kwashiorkor. A number of cases of measles were also reported. An additional urgent health concern is related to reports coming from Adadley wereda where the carcasses of dead livestock near water points may be poisoning the water which is also drunk by humans. So far, there have been seven cases of water poisoning from contaminated wells in Adadley.

The livestock of the pastoral communities in and around Gode have been decimated and estimates by the Zonal Disaster Committee suggest that 90% of cattle and 65% of sheep have died in the zone. In and around Kelafo, where the flood waters have receded and maize has been planted, farmers have begun to fence off their farms in an effort to prevent herders from allowing their animals to graze on the rich grass which has sprung up. The tension that exists between the pastoralists who wish to save their herds and farmers who wish to save their harvest is growing in intensity and already there has been at least one shooting.

In an average year, the deyr rains from late September to early December are sufficient to replenish water resources and regenerate grazing thus providing for the recovery and well being of the herds. This allows pastoralists to cope during the hot, dry jillal season from late December to early March. This year, however, the population has few resources or assets left to enable them to withstand the long dry season. While the condition of people in the zone now is described as marginal at best, a further deterioration and emergence of severe malnutrition will be seen in the weeks ahead. A mission report including details of needs and the current emergency response and recommendations for further action is available from the UN-EUE.

Promoting the advancement of women in Ethiopia

In 1994, the Economic Commission for Africa was mandated by the member States at the Fifth African Regional Conference on Women to "initiate and implement measures in support of the African Platform for Action and generally monitor its implementation. This call was repeated in the Declaration of the Dakar African Platform for Action on Women adopted by the African Heads of State and Governments of the Organisation of African Unity in June 1995. Similarly, the member states that adopted the Beijing Platform for Action in September 1995 requested the Regional Commissions to "ensure the implementation and monitoring of both the Platform for Action and the regional platforms and plans of actions.

The Sixth African Regional Conference on Women was organised under the leadership of the Committee on Women and Development (CWD) a subsidiary statutory organ of the Economic Commission for Africa. On the occasion of the 40th Anniversary of the Economic Commission for Africa, the CWD decided to organise a four-day international conference through its secretariat, The African Centre for Women, to:

  • Share experiences on how public policies should equalise opportunities between women and men and redirect resources to those investments in which women’s participation brings about the biggest social returns;
  • Draw strategic lessons from relevant organisations' ongoing women’s programmes for implementing the Beijing Platform for Action;
  • Identify best practices and validate programme modalities for county-level implementation of actions recommended by the Conference;
  • Forge partnerships for post-conference implementation of the recommended actions and programmes.

This meeting, the Sixth African Regional Conference on Women, Mid-Term Review of the Implementation of the Dakar and Beijing Platforms for Action was held in Addis Ababa from 22-26 November. The conference formed an integral part of the regional and international mechanisms set-up by the Secretariat of the United Nations to evaluate the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action whose first global phase (Beijing +5) will take place in June 2000 during a Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Ethiopia’s evaluation of its efforts to address gender inequality have been compiled in its Beijing +5 country report prepared in July 1999 by the Women’s Affairs Sub-Sector of the Prime Minister’s Office and circulated at the Sixth African Regional Conference on Women. According to the report, gender differentials persist at all levels in Ethiopian society as reflected by a range of social indicators. These indicators reveal that 75% of women in the country are illiterate, 75% of Ethiopian girls marry before the age of 17 and approximately 13% marry between the ages of 17 and 21 years.

The Women’s Affairs Office within the Prime Ministers Office was created and mandated in 1992 to coordinate and facilitate conditions to promote gender equality in areas of development. The Ethiopian government established a National Policy on Women in 1993 and promulgated a new Constitution in 1995, which includes Article 25 guaranteeing all persons equality before the law and prohibiting any discrimination on grounds of gender. In addition, Article 35 of the Constitution reiterates the principles of equality of access to economic opportunities, including the right to equality in employment and land ownership. At present, the Government is undertaking an overall review of its family law and penal code to identify and change any discriminating provisions. From December 2, 1998 to July 2, 1999 successive workshops have been conducted to amend gender-biased provisions that are found in the family law of the country. It is expected that a revised family law enshrining gender equality will be promulgated as soon as the group of legislators accomplishes their assignment. It is also expected that discriminatory provisions found in the Penal Code of Ethiopia will be amended as well.

Through the steady effort of the Women’s Affairs Sub-Sector of the Prime Minister’s Office, a Grass Roots Initiative Fund, with US $7 million, will soon be launched on the basis of a tripartite agreement between the World Bank, and the Ethiopian and Italian governments. The fund will help mobilise and strengthen the capacity of women’s organizations by enabling the design of mechanisms through which women’s awareness can be raised and their participation in the national development process increased. According to the report, the fund will "help women to organise themselves, struggle together for their rights."

The declaration of Ethiopia’s first National Policy on Women in 1993 provided a framework within which Government’s commitment to empower women can be channelled. The Women’s Policy primarily aims at institutionalising the political economic and social rights of women by creating an appropriate structure in government offices and institutions so that the public policies and interventions are gender-sensitive and can ensure equitable development for all Ethiopian men and women. In line with the guiding principles of the National Policy on Women, Women’s Affairs Departments were established within 13 strategically situated line ministries and women’s affairs bureaux have been established in 10 regional government and in two special administrative regions. In addition, the Women’s Affairs Office in the Prime Ministers Office has initiated modalities of cooperation to strengthen gender initiatives.

In an agreement reached between the Women’s Affairs Office and the national umbrella organisation for NGOs, the Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA), the two organisations have agreed to cooperate in the area of gender mainstreaming, advocacy, capacity building and creating a grassroots women movement. The National Committee on Traditional Practices in Ethiopia was established as a local NGO in April 1993 has collected national baseline data as to the magnitude of harmful traditional practices by collecting data cross-culturally, targeting over 60 ethnic groups in the country. The Ethiopian Women Entrepreneurs Association, the Ethiopian Midwives Association and the National Association for Handicapped Women are some examples of the encouraging growth of civil society organizations concerned with addressing the specific needs of women. A national steering committee has recently been established to combat abduction and rape comprising representatives of governmental and non-governmental agencies, including parliamentarians women groups and civic organisations.

Agriculture and Weather

Preliminary results of annual FAO/WFP Crop and Food Needs Assessment Mission

The preliminary results of the FAO/WFP Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission were released on December 7, following the annual national assessment mission which took place this year from November 17 to November 29. Six teams reviewed the production figures of 37 zones in all regions of Ethiopia except Gambella. Provisional estimates indicate total production for 1999 will be within the range of 10 to 11 million MT as compared with the revised production figure for 1998 of 11.4 million MT and the bumper year production figure in 1996 of 11.8 million MT. The analysis was based on data was based on area/yield information collected from the zonal offices of the Ministry of Agriculture together with production figures from the past three years. Further analysis was conducted at the federal level using satellite imagery and other data, including the provisional findings of assessment teams from the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission. On the basis of the preliminary analysis (the final report will be issued later in December) the mission estimate an import requirement in 2000 of between 600,000 and 800,000 MT.

The mission found the main feature leading to he reduced production in 1999 to be the almost total failure of the belg rains and the late commencement of the meher rains which led to a widespread switch from long-cycle to short-cycle crops. A high incidence of weed infestation was also found to be a commonly reported problem affecting overall yields in many areas. The main rains were generally good once they started and the extension into October generally a positive factor since the harvest itself was delayed by up to a month in most regions. Fertilizer utilization was estimated to have increased by 2-3% but more had been applied to teff and wheat this year rather than the normally higher yielding maize and sorghum. Extension packages were seen to be adopted widely around the country but the impact on production so far appears to be limited.

The mission found a 4% overall decline in area cultivated with 15% reduction for sorghum, 8% for maize resulting in a corresponding 26% decline in sorghum production and 13% reduction in maize production. Increases were reported for wheat and teff production at 3% and 8% respectively. Production was seen to be significantly down in the north and south of the country. The assessment did not focus much on root and tuber crops and pastoral production was assessed only in terms of crop production and agricultural activity. The Somali region’s total production deficit was estimated at 400,000 MT but this does not take into account livestock production and it was recognized that different approach to assessing food production in pastoral areas is required. The deficit areas were reported to be the Central, East and South zones of Tigray; South Gondar; North and South Welo, Borena, Sidamo, North and South Omo, Wag Hamra, Somali Region, Afar Region. Surplus areas were reported to be Arsi, West Shewa, East and West Gojjam, North Gondar and Hadiya.

While market prices are currently firm, stocks are low and stretching the 1998 harvest to cover the extra month while the current year’s harvest is gathered, this extra month has increased asset erosion and caused a general overall slide into destitution. The mission has been cautious in its analysis for the coming year, especially with regard to the 2000 belg which it has pegged at 250,000 MT, well below the mean, due largely to a serious shortage of oxen for cultivation. As a general comment, the FAO team felt that the belg as a growing season is losing importance though of increasing importance in terms of land preparation for the meher.

Out of the anticipated 600,000 to 800,000 MT import requirement for 2000 it is not yet determined what the split should be between commercial/structural food aid and relief aid, however, relief assistance is expected to comprise the bulk of imports. There may be some scope for local purchase of cereals in surplus producing areas of the country but this may be much less than previous years.

Proposed destitution study.

In response to the increasing number of reports of growing destitution in many rural areas, Save the Children Fund (UK) is proposing that research be conducted in the north-eastern highlands of Ethiopia to determine whether or not the level of extreme poverty is increasing and assess the implications of destitution on the type and level of relief assistance in Ethiopia. Transferring resources to the poor and reversing the processes of long term impoverishment are not needs that are effectively being addressed by current food assistance programmes although such activities do protect assets and support livelihoods in the short term. Overall, it is felt that national assessment and response mechanisms are overly disaster-oriented and do not consider factors behind increasing destitution which include:

  • Erosion of household assets, particularly livestock
  • Loss of means of production, including plough oxen, and the ability to access seeds
  • Limited employment opportunities for a rapidly growing population
  • Reduced landholdings on increasingly degraded farmland

The main objectives of the proposed SCF-UK study are to establish the scale and depth of destitution amongst the rural population in the north-eastern highlands and identify the historical processes and factors leading to mass destitution. The study also aims to identify coping mechanisms through which the destitute are able to survive and suggest ways in which the government can provide support to the rural poor and promote a return to self sufficiency. The research plans to focus on people’s access to income and assets and describe how these have been eroded in the recent years. The study is unique in that unlike other studies on poverty, which generally focus on consumption, purchasing power and distribution of income, this research will focus on people’s asset base through the examination of household productive capacity. The results of the study will serve as a baseline for policy measures and help push the issue higher up the agenda.

The activities envisaged for phase one of the proposal are intended to lay the groundwork for the proposed research to be initiated in phase two. The first objective is to develop and field test a methodology to be used to survey the depth and processes of destitution. The concept of destitution will be defined and the processes contributing to increased destitution will be identified and the most appropriate survey methodologies be developed and field tested. In addition, a literature review of relevant studies on poverty and destitution will be completed. The geographic scope of the survey will be limited to the North Welo and Wag Hamra Zones of Amhara Region. Once the desk study, preliminary field work and determination of methodological approaches have been completed the final research proposal will be prepared. The process is expected to take five months.

Another effort to separate victims of disaster from those who have been made destitute is the DPPC-led multi-agency food aid needs assessment which is expected to be concluded before the end of December. Participants in this year’s assessment have been asked to separate transitory from chronic food aid needs. If successful, this will represent a step toward in clarifying the role of emergency food aid and drawing attention to other means of addressing the needs of the destitute.

At the regional level, the Amhara Region authorities have begun addressing the issue of chronic food insecurity through the creation of a Food Security Unit to serve as a focal point for responses to the basic needs of the poorest and most vulnerable in the region. The Amhara Region government has also drafted an Integrated Food Strategy, a five-year programme that targets 48 of the most drought-prone weredas in the region where a large part of the destitute are found. The region recognises that new strategies to deal with growing numbers of resource-poor farmers are required. For the medium term, the need to establish reliable safety nets and recapitalise households must be addressed.

In the meantime, if institutional responsibilities and resourcing for those with "chronic" needs are not sorted out first the destitute may become ineligible for support from donor emergency resources, as the problem will be defined as a poverty issue. The short-term risk of such research and re-evaluation is that the most vulnerable groups in the highlands could be excluded from food aid resources.

Fertiliser update

Fertiliser was first introduced in Ethiopia in 1970/71, following three years of sample fertiliser demonstrations from 1967-1969 on major cereal crops. Currently there is a multiple channel procurement and distribution system with significant private sector involvement in retailing and, to some extent, in wholesale. Much of the sale of fertiliser is concentrated in three surplus producing areas: Shewa, Gojjam and Arsi, which account for about 74% of the total consumption. This is largely due to the more favourable soil and weather conditions and better access to supplies and extension services in these regions, though all farmers in these regions do not use fertiliser. A disproportionately large amount of fertiliser, estimated between 70% and 80% is applied on teff. The balance goes to wheat (10%), maize (7%), Millet (3%) and barley (2%). The rest is used on other crops like cotton, coffee and tobacco. Despite its importance as the single most important foreign exchange earner coffee is a marginal consumer of fertiliser in Ethiopia.

The import expenditure on fertiliser has increased by 320.8 per cent, from US $25.9 million in 1995/1996 to US $109 million in 1996/1997. There was a minor decline in fertiliser imports from US $105.6 million in 1997/1998 to US $100 million in 1998/1999. There was, as of August 31, 1999, 182,800 MT of left over stock from the 1998/1999 year. Additional fertiliser will be imported to meet the total fertiliser requirement of 422,000 MT (286,000MT of DAP and 136,000MT of Urea) for 2000.

(Capital, December 5; Proceedings of Fourth Annual National Fertilizer Workshop of the National Fertilizer Industry Agency )

Weather assessment

In the first dekad of November, there was little or no rainfall over most parts of the country. Western and Southern Oromiya, most parts of SNNP and Somali regional states received falls less than 25mm during the period. With the exception of Gambella, western Oromiya and pocket areas of southern Somali Region, the rest of the country exhibited below to much below normal rainfall. Extreme minimum temperatures, less than 5 degrees Centigrade, were exhibited in some highland areas of central, eastern and north-western plateau.

Rainfall distribution in the second dekad of November was more varied throughout the country with most parts of northern and central Ethiopia receiving little or no rainfall and western areas of Tigray, parts of eastern, southern, central and north-western Amhara receiving normal to above normal rainfall. Southern Afar, parts of central and eastern including a few areas of southern Oromiya, north-eastern SNNP and south-eastern Somali region also received normal to above normal rainfall. The moist weather could affect harvest and post harvest activities in areas where there are no proper storage facilities. Meanwhile, harvest and post-harvest activities were underway over areas of northern, north-eastern, central and parts of southern Ethiopia. Harvest of cereal crops like teff, millet and barley was being carried out over Majete, Adwa, Maichew, Nazareth and Sodo (Wolaita) during the second dekad.

Dry, windy days and cold nights and early mornings prevailed over much of the country in the third dekad of November. Much of Tigray, the eastern half of Amhara, central and eastern parts of Oromiya experienced dry weather conditions. Western Amhara, Benishangul-Gumuz, some areas of Gambella, western Oromiya, SNNP, Bale, Borena and the south-eastern portion of Somali experienced isolated rain showers. These isolated showers favour the outbreak of pests and agricultural personnel were advised to take proper measures to avoid post harvest losses. The decrease in minimum temperature over much of the country negatively impacts on growing crops as well as crops that are attaining early maturity stages. The decrease in rainfall activity in most places of southern Ethiopia also negatively affects the availability of pasture and drinking water.

Food Aid and Logistics

Pledges against 1999 Food Aid Requirements-Cereals & Pulses (MT)

Relief (MT)
Regular (MT)
10, 000

Source: WFP Food Aid Status Report December 7, 1999

Of the total 464,225 MT of relief cereals and pulses pledged against 1999 requirements, 183,701 MT (40%), had been delivered as of December 7, 1999.

Ethiopia Food Security Reserve update

As of December 1, physical stocks in the Emergency Food Security Reserve amounted to 77,960 MT with 58,753 MT under withdrawal. An outstanding balance pending repayment of 218,950 MT brings the total EFSR stock to 355,663 MT. Food aid shipments totalling 230,886 MT are expected to be delivered over the next three months, from December to February, of which 167,739 MT will be repayments to the EFSR.

Local purchases

WFP continues to investigate the possibility of local purchase in Sudan. In an attempt to get maximum participation in its regional tender for sugar, WFP has visited the Kenana sugar factory in Sudan which produces 400,000 MT of sugar per year, half of which is for export. The Kenana sugar factory is the second largest sugar factory in the world and, according to WFP, preliminary investigations have shown that even after including transportation costs from Gadaref to Gondar, the price of sugar in Sudan remains 30% lower than that in Ethiopia.

WFP is also considering purchasing sorghum in Sudan. The wide varieties of types of sorghum in Sudan means that WFP will have to provide detailed specifications in its tender and ensure that the sorghum purchased is familiar to Ethiopians. The main sorghum used in Ethiopia is the long maturing variety of sorghum called "degalit". This year however due to the failure of long maturing sorghum production a relatively cheaper and less preferred variety of sorghum from Humera called "wedi aker" is being consumed, according to a report on consumption patterns by Save the Children Fund UK.

Status of WFP emergency operations

WFP has increased its budget for the Ethiopian drought operation (EMOP 6143) by US $25.3 million. The initial cost of this operation, US $40.5 million, was revised upwards with the request to donors for an additional 21,308 MT to cover November-December shortfalls, 36,908 MT for January to March requirements and 2,198 MT of high-energy, high-protein foods for supplementary feeding programmes. As of December 1, initial pledges of cereals had been received from the European Union (11,000 MT) and Finland (1,070 MT).

In addition, WFP’s emergency operation for populations affected by the border conflict with Eritrea received a donation of US $2.3 million from the Netherlands for the local purchase of 6,116 MT of cereals. With new commitments also from Norway and Japan, the shortfall in resources under WFP’s operation for the displaced (EMOP 6080) has been reduced to 1,485 MT. Current confirmed pledges of 35,235 MT should be sufficient to meet the needs of the target beneficiaries until the end of March 2000.

The government of the Royal Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has donated 1,000 MT of dates to WFP’s refugee assistance programme in Ethiopia. The dates, valued at US $832,000 are destined for refugee camps in the south-eastern Somali region of the country. The Saudi contribution, and the planned distribution, is timed to coincide with the Islamic calendar’s holy month of Ramadan that begins in early December and is observed by fasting from sunset to sunrise. Dates are traditionally eaten during Ramadan.

Refugees and Returnees

Refugee Statistics as at 1 October 1999

West (Sudanese)
Bonga: 13,317
Fugnido: 30,552
Dimma: 8,607
Shirkole: 16,471
Sub-total: 68,947

South (Kenyans/Somalis)
Moyale: 4,780
Dolo*: 8,000
Sub-total: 12,780

East (Somalis)
Hartisheik (A & B): 22,920
Aisha: 15,283
Kebribeyah: 11,622
Teferiber: 29,101
Derwenaji: 25,136
Camaboker: 28,590
Rabasso: 16,811
Daror: 33,950
Sub-total: 183,413

Addis Ababa (various): 466
Afar (Djiboutians): 1,099

GRAND TOTAL: 266,705

*Not a formally recognised refugee settlement

Source: UNHCR-RLO Information Unit.


UN; Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC); National Meteorological Services Agency (NMSA); EFSRA Newsletter; UNHCR; WFP; FAO; UN-EUE mission reports. Also media sources: The Ethiopian Herald; AFP; Walta Information Centre; ENA.

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