Eritrea

UNCT Appeal: Humanitarian Assistance to Eritrea

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January 2000
Executive Summary

Twenty months have passed since the outbreak of the border conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia in May 1998. Although there has been no fighting reported for the last several months, tension along the border remains very high, preventing displaced people from returning to their places of origin.

Despite efforts by the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the international community, the peace process seems to have stalled and there is fear that hostilities could resume and possibly spread, uprooting more people who thus far have not been affected directly by the conflict. This would further exacerbate the already critical humanitarian situation. Even in the most optimistic scenario, there will be a continued need for relief assistance at least until the end of 2000.

Initially, United Nations Agencies The UN Agencies forming the UN Country Team are: FAO, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, WHO, and the World Bank did their best to address some emergency humanitarian needs from regular resources of ongoing programmes. Subsequently, a Flash Appeal was issued in September 1998 outlining requirements through February 1999. A United Nations Country Team Appeal for an additional six months followed the Flash Appeal.

UN Agencies have worked closely with the Eritrean Relief and Refugee Commission (ERREC) to respond to the humanitarian needs since the outbreak of fighting. The Eritrean Government has made a commendable effort to organize camps and provide food, shelter, health care and water for hundreds of thousands of war-affected people. These life-saving activities have prevented a catastrophe. However, at present national stocks are depleted while humanitarian needs persist.

To gain a better understanding of these needs and to enhance collaboration with the Eritrean Government, a comprehensive joint Government/UN Needs Assessment took place in late 1999. The Government and the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) now have a much improved understanding and basis on which to plan for intervention in 2000.

The UNCT Appeal will target a total of 583,660 people, comprising 371,910 war-affected and 211,750 drought-affected people. They represent almost 20 percent of the Eritrean population. The war-affected population includes Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), Rural Deportees and Host Communities especially affected by the influx of IDP’s.

The most pressing needs are for food and shelter. Additional requirements are in health, water and sanitation, education, psycho-social care and protection of children, and coordination and capacity building.

Besides assistance to the war-affected, this Appeal will target 211,750 Eritreans who live in Drought-Affected areas. Provision of full food rations for these vulnerable people are considered essential as a life-saving measure.

The total financial requirement to meet these needs amounts to US$ 42,783,826 for the year 2000.

Table 1: Financial Requirements by Sector and Agency

Sector
Agency
Requirement in US$
Food
World Food Programme
27,942,656
Shelter and Household Items
United Nations Development Programme
5,185,459
Water and Sanitation
United Nations Children’s Fund
3,964,520
Health and Nutrition
World Health Organization
564,529
United Nations Children’s Fund
2,360,000
United Nations Population Fund
597,762
Sub-total
3,522,291
Education
United Nations Children’s Fund
1,705,000
Psycho-social Care and Protection of Children
United Nations Children’s Fund
200,000
Coordination and Capacity Building
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
153,400
United Nations Development Programme
110,500
Total
42,783,826
PART ONE: BACKGROUND AND PROGRAMME OVERVIEW

1. BACKGROUND

A. The conflict and its humanitarian impact

In May 1998 a border dispute in the Badame area escalated into a major military confrontation between Eritrea and Ethiopia. By early June 1998, the conflict had grown worse and spread into the ZalaAmbesa and Alitena areas in the Debub Region and into the Bure area, west of Assab, in the Southern Red Sea Region. The international airport in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, was bombed, causing the international community to evacuate and the government to briefly close the airport. This conflict caused the first wave of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to flee their homes in search of safety.

Intense fighting started up again in February 1999 along the Mereb-Setit front (Badame area) and quickly expanded to the Tsorona area, then spread again to the ZalaAmbesa and Alitena border areas. Aerial and artillery attacks upon civilians living nearby drove additional waves of people from their homes, to both rural and urban centers of the country, including the capital, Asmara, in greater numbers. The displaced people continue to stretch the capacity of existing public services, facilities, and infrastructure.

Adding to the humanitarian crisis, Ethiopia started, and is continuing, to deport people of Eritrean heritage. Over 67,000 deportees have been registered since the eruption of the conflict in May 1998 of whom over 28,000 are Rural Deportees.

The ability of people living along the borders to farm and conduct their normal livelihood has been severely disrupted. Host Communities have had to share their own meager resources with the displaced. Even during peaceful times, the population in the affected areas lived at a bare subsistence level. School and health facilities in the border areas have ceased to function, and in some areas agricultural production has ceased altogether.

B. Drought

The Sahel area of Anseba Region and the Northern and Southern Red Sea Regions are particularly vulnerable to drought. Crop production in these areas has declined each year since 1997, and a severe drought in 1999 as a result of poor winter rains led to widespread crop failure.

Many settled households rely on the sale of livestock to purchase grains to meet their food needs. However, grain is in short supply because of drought and also because people in some of the traditional grain-producing regions of Gash-Barka and Debub have fled and abandoned their farms. The short-fall in the grain supply has raised prices to a level beyond the reach of many households. To pay for more expensive grain, people sell more livestock, in turn driving prices down.

To make matters worse, the drought-affected areas have also been hurt by the loss of cross border trade with Ethiopia, and migrant laborers no longer have access to seasonal employment opportunities in Debub and Gash-Barka Regions.

C. Joint Government/UN Needs Assessment

In order to gain a better understanding of humanitarian needs and to improve targeting for subsequent interventions, a comprehensive Needs Assessment was undertaken in November and December 1999. This was an effort to gather data and assess the humanitarian needs of the IDPs and the Rural Deportees living both in and outside of temporary camps, severely impacted Host Communities, and those most affected by recent drought conditions. The assessment examined food needs as well as the non-food needs for shelter, household items, water, sanitation, health, nutrition and education. The results are contained in a separate report, which forms the basis of this appeal.

WFP used the standard Household Food Economy Approach to assess food needs while the other UN Agencies used three purpose-designed questionnaires and on-site observations to determine non-food needs. All but two of the 30 IDP camps were visited, allowing direct observation of the general camp conditions and the surrounding environment as well as the specific sites of water sources, health facilities and schools serving the camps. Two camps were not visited because one was in the process of being formed and the other was about to be moved to a more secure area. IDPs staying outside camps were also visited.

The assessment represents an important step towards better coordinated planning, implementation and monitoring of humanitarian activities. Given the wide participation involved and its coverage, the assessment has set the stage for more efficient and better targeted programming in 2000 and beyond. Collaboration with ERREC has been further strengthened as a result of the assessment.

The assessment did not cover all areas affected by drought. Thus, only 11 out of 51 Sub-Regions affected by drought were visited. The 11 were selected as the most seriously hurt by drought conditions based on previous studies and secondary information. Similarly, regarding Host Communities, 10 out of 24 Sub-Regions in Gash-Barka and Debub were visited and are being considered for assistance as those most impacted by the influx of IDPs.

D. Affected Populations

People directly affected by the conflict or affected by drought conditions and needing special attention have been categorized into the following groups:

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs)

There are currently a total of 266,200 IDPs, of which 127,850 are living in 30 camps while 138,350 are living with Host Communities outside camps. The IDPs are almost equally divided between Gash-Barka Region, close to the Badame area in the southwest lowlands, and Debub Region, south of Asmara in the highlands. There are also some 7,000 IDPs in the Assab area of the Southern Red Sea Region.

Deportees

Of the 67,000 people of Eritrean heritage who have been deported from Ethiopia, some 39,000 urban deportees have been left to fend for themselves, after token initial support from the Government. On the other hand, about 28,000 Rural Deportees are treated the same as IDPs. More than half of the latter, 15,820, are sheltered in camps while the rest are staying in Host Communities.

Host Communities

The plight of the IDPs has affected another 77,360 persons in the most impacted Host Communities, which have been forced to share their resources and services. These were partially covered in the 1999 UN Country Team Appeal but received only minimal support. Consequently, their condition remains very fragile, especially the families headed by women which make up about 50% of the Host Communities.

The Drought-Affected

In addition to those affected by the conflict, over 211,000 Eritreans are considered particularly vulnerable since they live in areas most seriously hit by drought. During 1999, the winter rains, on which farmers in several coastal areas depend, failed. The assessment indicates that these areas might again be affected by drought in 2000. This primarily concerns farmers in the Northern Red Sea and Anseba Regions.

Table 2: Total War-affected Population, by Region

Categories of War-affected Populations
Individuals
IDPs in camps
Gash-Barka
47,530
Debub
80,320
Sub-total
127,850
IDPs outside camps
Gash-Barka
42,110
Debub
89,240
Southern Red Sea
7,000
Sub-total
138,350
TOTAL IDPs
266,200
Rural Deportees in camps
Gash-Barka
15,820
Sub-total
15,820
Rural Deportees outside camps
Gash-Barka
1,520
Debub
11,010
Sub-total
12,530
TOTAL RURAL DEPORTEES
28,350
Most-impacted Host Communities
Gash-Barka
58,930
Debub
18,430
Sub-total
77,360
TOTAL WAR-AFFECTED
371,910
Population prone to displacement in the event of renewed hostilities
70,000
Table 3: Drought-affected Population, by Region
Drought-affected population
Northern Red Sea
111,350
Anseba
100,400
TOTAL DROUGHT-AFFECTED
211,750
TABLE OF CONTENTS

Executive Summary

PART ONE: BACKGROUND AND PROGRAMME OVERVIEW

1. BACKGROUND


A. The conflict and its humanitarian impact
B. Drought
C. Joint Government/UN Needs Assessment
D. Affected Populations

2. REVIEW OF PAST ASSISTANCE

A. Funding Levels
B. Humanitarian Actors
C. Achievements and Shortcomings
D. Suggested Policy and Programme Actions Based on Past Assistance (Lessons Learned)

3. FUTURE SCENARIOS
4. PROGRAMME OVERVIEW

A. Goal of the Appeal
B. Target Beneficiaries
C. Summary of Humanitarian Assistance Requested
E. Implementation Arrangements and Coordination
F. Monitoring and Evaluation

PART TWO: SECTOR PROFILES AND PROJECT SUMMARIES

EMERGENCY FOOD ASSISTANCE


Emergency Food Assistance to War-affected Persons
Summary
Objectives
Beneficiaries
Food Aid Strategy
Programme Support Activities
Food Requirements
Emergency Food Aid to Drought-Affected Persons
Summary
Objectives of Emergency Food Assistance
Beneficiaries
Food Aid Strategy
Programme Support Activities
Food Requirements

FOOD PRODUCTION
SHELTER AND HOUSEHOLD ITEMS

Problem Statement and Summary of Needs
Target Beneficiaries
Objective
Strategy/Activities
Implementation and Monitoring
Financial Summary

WATER AND SANITATION

Problem Statement and Summary of Needs
Target Groups
Objectives
Strategy/Activities
Financial Summary

HEALTH AND NUTRITION

Problem Statement and Summary of Needs
Target Groups and Beneficiaries
Objectives
Strategy/Activities

EDUCATION

Problem Statement and Summary of Needs
Target Groups and Beneficiaries
Objectives
Strategy/Activities

PSYCHOSOCIAL CARE AND PROTECTION OF CHILDREN

Problem Statement and Summary of Needs
Target Groups and Beneficiaries
Objectives
Strategy/Activities

COORDINATION AND CAPACITY BUILDING

Problem Statement and Summary of Needs
Target Groups
Objectives
Proposed strategy/activities

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