Eritrea + 7 more

FEWS Greater Horn of Africa Food Security Update 28 Feb 2003

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Summary
Pledges to the food aid appeal of the governments of Eritrea and Ethiopia for 2003 have reached over 897,000 MT or 47 percent of the total appeal of 1.92 million MT from the two countries. However, the amount is still insufficient to meet the emergency requirements for 2003.

The current food aid distributions in Eritrea are being provided at reduced rations of 60 percent of the assessed needs. In Ethiopia, the pipeline is only secure through mid May. In both countries, there are increasing levels of serious to critical child malnutrition compounded by inadequate supplementary feeding programs.

Additional pledges and distributions, including supplementary feeding and emergency seeds, are needed, particularly during the critical period between March and October 2003.

Current conditions for agricultural production are favorable for most of the GHA countries. The DMC-N, March-May 2003 seasonal forecast predicts near normal rainfall in equatorial GHA.

The current moderate El Niño event is expected to significantly weaken in the coming months (up to June).

Encouraging donor responses to food aid appeals in Eritrea and Ethiopia but more is needed...

Pledges to the food aid appeals for Eritrea and Ethiopia are initially encouraging. Out of the total appeal of 1.92 million MT from the two countries, over 897,000 MT or 47 percent have been pledged. In Ethiopia, donors have pledged over 771,000 MT, or 54 percent (Figure 1) of the total emergency food relief needs of 1.44 million MT by end of January. The European Union (EU) and United States Government (USG) have contributed 82 percent of the total donation (EU -- 42 percent and USG -- 40 percent). For Eritrea, pledges and commitments as of early February were about 126,000 MT, representing nearly 26 percent of the total humanitarian food aid request of 476,000 MT and 43 percent of the appeal for the drought affected population (290,000 MT) (Figure 1). The USG is the largest contributor with 56 percent of all pledges.

Figure 1: Status of Food Aid Pledges for 2003 in Ethiopia and Eritrea

Sources: WFP, Addis Abeba (Ethiopia), Eritrea Relief and Refugee Commission (Eritrea)

Despite the pledges, the amount is still far short of the amount to meet the emergency requirements for 2003. In addition, most of the pledged food aid has not yet arrived in the countries for timely distributions. In Eritrea, the harvests, which normally take households through April, were already depleted by January. This forced the better-off households to depend on market purchases and the poor households to resort to non-sustainable coping strategies as current aid distributions are being provided at reduced rations of 60 percent of the required amount. The current food aid pipeline will burst in April. In Ethiopia, although total pledges could cover food needs through mid-June, the pipeline is only secure through mid May. Ongoing food distributions have been borrowed from the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR), whose stocks have run low and, if not replenished, will run out by early March. In both countries, nutritional assessments indicate increasing levels of serious to critical child malnutrition with inadequate supplementary feeding programs.

Increased pledges and arrivals are needed to stave off famine threats and facilitate recovery in the coming months. This must also include supplementary and therapeutic feeding and other recovery interventions such as seed for planting in the coming seasons. In Eritrea, the peak period of relief food needs is March to October 2003 but could extend to November and beyond if harvest expected in November fails. In Ethiopia, additional pledges are required from June to September 2003 assuming current pledges are translated to actual deliveries. Emergency seed distributions and other production inputs distribution needed by March in both Eritrea and Ethiopia.

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