Ethiopia: 2003 mid-year review of the Joint Appeal, Jun 2003

Originally published

1 Overview/Executive Summary
Since the launch of the Joint Government-UN appeal "Emergency Assistance Requirements and Implementation Options for 2003" in December 2002, the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) issued their "Food Supply Prospects in 2003" report to the humanitarian community to provide the latest projections for food requirements and beneficiary numbers for food assistance.

In March, an update to the "Emergency Assistance Requirements and Implementation Options for 2003" (referred to as the "Addendum" to the Joint Government-UN appeal) was issued in attempts to draw attention to updated needs estimates for all sectors in relation to the drought emergency. It stressed the need for an increase in commitments and deliveries of emergency assistance for all sectors, for the distribution of full cereal rations and the fulfilment of supplementary food distribution targeted to an estimated 35% of the population expected to need enhancement of their diet.

The Addendum highlighted the challenges that lie ahead in the delivery of general food assistance, nutrition, health, water, agriculture, livestock, education, HIV/AIDS and capacity building and in the coordination of these interventions. It emphasized that the situation can best be overcome by continued and enhanced collaboration among all partners and the sustained support of donors. The document represented the consultative and collaborative efforts of the Government of Ethiopia and its partners through the sector task forces established to deal with the emergency.

In addition, rapid joint multi-agency re-assessments were conducted countrywide to determine adjustments in current beneficiary numbers and to identify areas where assistance requirements are particularly acute. Results of these assessments were issued by the DPPC at a briefing on 24 April 2003 and in a special Early Warning System report "Update on Current Food Situation and Additional Food Situation Requirement" and identified an additional 1,227,077 people in need of emergency assistance. The total population in need has risen to 12.5 million from 11.3 million out of a population of 69 million resulting in the need for an additional 79,122 tonnes of food, which means a total of 944,280 tonnes for the May to end December 2003 period. The increase stems from the significant reduction in on-farm production, over estimates of meher production, decline in purchasing power of rural communities, low harvests for crops that usually compensate for food gaps (i.e. sweet potato) and lack of sufficient targeting of beneficiaries at the community level.

The extremely positive response to both the Joint Government-UN Appeal and the subsequent Addendum has provided, as of 5 June 2003, food aid pledges (confirmed and unconfirmed) amounting to 1.35 million tonnes out of a requirement of 1.54 million tonnes, the unresourced amount is 11% or 194,000 tonnes. Non-food pledges total US$65.5 million out of a requirement of US$81.1 million leaving a shortfall of 19% or US$15.5 million. However, there is still the need to resource a significant amount of food and non-food pledges until the end of the year, especially given that the crisis in the country remains precarious despite massive efforts by the humanitarian community.

2 The External Environment: Effects on the Humanitarian Programme

The re-assessments in April were necessary due to the deteriorating nutritional status in many of the worst affected areas in the country. Other related factors and indicators of deteriorating food security were increasing social disruption, school drop outs, distress migration and the dilution of food aid rations in some areas that could not be prevented up to the present time. According to the assessment results an additional 1.2 million people are in need of immediate food aid from May to the end of the year which brings the total to 12.5 million people needing food assistance requiring an additional 79,122 tonnes of food. Additional beneficiaries are highest in Oromiya (710,650) and SNNPR (324,600) followed by Tigray (180,027) and Amhara (11,800). Over the past two months, the humanitarian community witnessed a dramatic deterioration in many parts of Southern Ethiopia, particularly in SNNPR despite ongoing relief food distribution by the Government and NGOs. This is due in part to an increase in the number of needy population who are forced to re-share their food resources, which has seriously diluted the emergency and recovery efforts in some areas. Therapeutic feeding centres are being established by NGOs in response to the low status of health and high malnutrition level. Additionally, despite the seed distribution by government, NGOs and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), there is large number of needy population who did not receive the required seeds. Moreover in most cases improved seeds including hybrid seeds are distributed without fertilizer as most farmers cannot afford the purchase of chemical fertilizers. Therefore, even if weather conditions favour crop production, the use of improved seeds without fertilizers is likely reduce potential production of the next harvest.

SNNPR is not the only area in the country that is suffering from reports of high malnutrition levels. A total of 90 nutritional surveys were conducted in 2002 and 2003, which have provided a clearer picture of the areas of concern. The surveys highlighted the need for rapid interventions in the most seriously affected areas such as East and West Hararghe where the migrants remain in camps and with individual families in Bale Zone.

Results from recent nutritional surveys by NGOs indicate severe malnutrition in several areas of the country including districts in Afar, Tigray and SNNPR. The surveys also reported some improvements in other areas that were severely affected in September 2002, which may be attributed to accelerated relief distributions. Similar surveys also indicated the emergence of new hot spots particularly Fik Zone of Somali Region where the food security situation is reported to have seriously deteriorated and the Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) has reached an alarming 33.9%. Severely affected areas require rapid interventions with general ration distribution, supplementary and sometimes therapeutic feeding.

In order to strengthen the capacity to handle the nutritional emergencies in the country, procurement of therapeutic food, although still limited, has been stepped up in preparation for the anticipated worsening of the nutritional situation nationwide. Therapeutic feeding interventions by NGOs and government units working with UN support have expanded considerably in the last few weeks to face the increasing load of malnourished children in several regions, with a total of 34 Therapeutic Feeding Centers (TFC) already or soon in operation. Training on management of therapeutic feeding and supplementary feeding for health professionals from drought-affected regions, NGOs, partner agencies and universities started in February, and is currently on-going at various levels. Efforts are being made to periodically update nutritional surveys but it is difficult due to the wide geographic area that needs to be covered and is also limited by the fact that cluster surveys can leave out pocket areas of high malnutrition.

The availability of blended food will be much improved, yet it is essential that the situation is monitored closely and very carefully and that continued funding support is provided, as the critical months before harvest period are still to come and are likely to bring worsening conditions. Food must be delivered on time, in sufficient quantity and reach the most needy (particularly women and children) to avert a major crisis and loss of life in the coming two to three months.

Another response to the deteriorating malnutrition levels in the country is the announcement by DPPC that the general food ration is being raised from 12.5 kg to 15 kg per person per month starting in May in SNNPR and other regions for the worst affected districts, i.e. priority one areas with GAM equal to or greater than 15%. This measure, though helpful, needs to be complemented by better targeting and provision of supplementary foods for the most severely affected. Although the full impact and implications of the decision are still unknown, it is an encouraging sign that necessary changes are being met to alleviate the problems.

Food aid targeting remains an important bottleneck to avert malnutrition in several areas. Many districts still face the problem that food rations are diluted due to poor targeting and that the supplementary food is being shared among all family members despite the provision of instructions on who should use this food. WFP, DPPC and NGOs have been working on improving the food aid delivery system and making deliveries more effective for the needy. DPPC is requesting to strengthen the food monitoring system in SNNPR where they now have three monitoring teams including staff members from DPPC, the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Water Resources that operate from Awassa, Soddo and Butajira. Regional and zonal staff have been trained in national food targeting guidelines in March but improvements at the district level have not yet been enough. WFP is seeking to deploy qualified staff to SNNPR to support regional and district structures.

The overall food aid contribution situation remains relatively good, with 80% of the needs for the year covered by confirmed contributions by 5 June 2003. However there are unconfirmed contributions amounting to 107,000 tonnes and if these are confirmed then coverage would increase to 87% of the food tonnage appealed for. As supplementary food needs have exceeded stocks available, targeting areas of greatest need has been necessary. These include emerging hot spot areas where nutritional conditions are deteriorating. However, the situation is expected to improve with contributions in the pipeline and the second half of the year looks better. Additionally, stocks are being prepositioned for the July to September period where areas become inaccessible during the main rainy season.

The short season (belg) rains continue in various parts of the country. The belg picture is very mixed; although recent rains have been positive many areas have suffered from a dry period in March and DPPC reports that area planted in some parts of the country is less than usual. Recent rains will hopefully reduce the need for water tankering in some of the drought-affected areas. This will give the opportunity to the water and sanitation (WES) operations to intensify efforts and resources to longer-term solutions to pervasive water scarcity. However, the rains in the southern highlands of Ethiopia have brought excess water to the main river in Somali Region, the Wabe Shebelle, even more extreme than the 1997 "el Nino' flood. Flooding is needed in the area for flood recession agriculture, but there has been an immediate negative impact causing displacement, submersion of low-lying fields and increased health hazards.

Another worrying projection is that the on-going resettlement programme and the largely insufficient seed distribution of partly inadequate seed varieties could significantly disrupt the forthcoming agricultural seasons and hence, national food production, despite predicted good rains both for the short belg and the long meher planting seasons. The upcoming national belg assessments will provide a clearer picture of the situation.

For many farmers in southern Ethiopia agricultural assistance for long cycle crops is arriving too late to fully benefit from the long rains and the meher planting season. Even though some districts managed to use some of the money left over from last year's budget to purchase seeds, there is a general and acute lack of seeds in many districts in SNNPR. Generally, only half of the listed beneficiary households that are targeted to be supplied with seeds are actually receiving inputs.

The current rains in many parts of the country combined with an already weakened population are creating the right mix for the spread of infectious diseases, including water borne diseases and malaria. Measles outbreaks have also been reported from Somali Region and SNNPR. The Inter-Agency Co-ordinating Committee has finalised plans the third phase for measles and vitamin A campaigns in drought-affected areas targeting a total of 16.2 million children under 15 years of age countrywide.

The UN has deployed UN staff to the field within regional government structures to support government counterparts and NGO partners in the effective implementation and monitoring of emergency programs. Six regions with the most affected population have been selected for special attention.

3 Progress Made Towards Stated Goals and Objectives

3.1 Programme implementation and impact on affected populations

This present Mid-Year Review mainly reflects activities and progress made by UN agencies in cooperation with governmental line ministries and NGOs. UN-EUE/OCHA is consulting NGOs and other agencies to ensure that reporting mechanisms capture all ongoing emergency activities.

3.1.1 Food Assistance

A new phase of WFP emergency assistance (Emergency Operation 10030.2), "Relief Food Assistance to Small Scale Farmers and Drought-Affected Pastoralists" was approved for the period April 2003 to March 2004 (481,950 tonnes, with total costs at US$ 205 million for the 12 month period). Under this operation, WFP is appealing for resources to cover the needs of 4.6 million beneficiaries out of 12.5 million people in need. As in previous years, WFP will cover part of the total relief requirements, with the remainder to be met by bilateral donations to the Government or to NGOs. WFP aims to cover 40 percent of overall requirements for cereals and part of the needs for supplementary food for 2003. The DPPC is WFP's implementing partner for this Emergency Operation. Beneficiaries are to receive food rations for typically between 5 and 10 months, averaging 7 months overall. The planning period covers the time until the next main harvest in November-December 2003 and makes provision for the expected needs in the first quarter of 2004.

Confirmed contributions towards WFP needs for 2003 as of 5 June 2003 (EMOP 10030.1 and EMOP 10030.2) total 429,000 tonnes (368,000 tonnes cereals, 57,000 tonnes blended food and 4,000 tonnes vegetable oil). However, there are contributions under negotiation for a further 107,000 tonnes. When these are confirmed, 85% of WFP emergency requirements will be covered for the year. At the national level, pledges confirmed and unconfirmed to NGOs, WFP and the government currently stand at 1.35 million tonnes towards total needs of 1.54 million tonnes (i.e. 87 percent resourced). These requirements include an increase of additional need of 79,122 tonnes for 1.2 million beneficiaries. Donors are being encouraged to confirm current pledges and make new commitments so that needs beyond September can be covered and cereal rations can be at the planned 15 kg of cereals/per person/per month for all areas. The ration in practice has been 12.5 kg of cereals and has only recently been increased to 15 kg/person/month for the worst-affected areas. When available, supplementary monthly rations of 4.5 kg of protein-rich blended food and 0.75 kg of vegetable oil are targeted ration to children under five, pregnant women and nursing mothers. Blended food availability has only met about half the requirements for the first five months of year. However, the availability will be greater for the second half of the year and most people targeted for supplementary rations are expected to be reached from July onwards. Almost 70% of the supplementary food aid needs are covered for 2003. Local production capacity cannot keep up with current demand by WFP, NGOs and government for local procurement of blended food at this time. Therefore, most of the blended food now in the pipeline is being procured internationally, much of it provided as in-kind contributions.

Certain areas of the country become inaccessible between July and September, at the height of the main rainy season. Thus there is the need to pre-position relief food for certain districts during May and June for the requirements between July and September. The needs for this action are around 70,000 tonnes of food..

An encouraging shipping performance has been reported, with WFP and other relief agencies able to off-load and transport 114,000 tonnes of relief food from Djibouti port into Ethiopia in January, 74,000 tonnes in February, 117,000 tonnes in March, 157,000 tonnes in April and an expected 183,000 tonnes in May.

WFP maintains sub-offices in Mekele, Dessie, Nazareth, Gambella, Jijiga and Gode. Dedicated monitoring staff operating from these sub offices currently number 35.

3.1.2 Health and Nutrition

Health conditions in drought-affected areas of Ethiopia are very serious. There is also an anticipated seasonal and unpredictable increase in malnutrition. Therapeutic feeding will play a key role in controlling the situation. About 60,000 severely malnourished children are estimated in the country based on two percent of 3 million children under five in drought-affected areas. One tonne of therapeutic food is estimated to rehabilitate around 80 children; therefore 750 tonnes of therapeutic food are required without considering relapses. Relapse rates are expected to be high if there is no targeted supplementary feeding program to refer the child upon discharge. Therapeutic feeding interventions by NGOs & Government units with UNICEF support have expanded considerably in the last few weeks, to face the increasing load of malnourished children in several Regions, A total of 21 Therapeutic Feeding Centers (TFC) had been operational as of 8th May, and 13 more planned to be opened before the end of May, distributed in Somali, SNNPR, Oromiya, Afar, Amhara and Harar Regions. Since the onset of the current drought crisis (late 2002), UNICEF procured the following therapeutic food: 31.25 Tonnes F-75 milk, 232.9 Tonnes of F-100 milk, 31.5 Tonnes of BP-100 biscuits and 3.2 Tonnes of Plumpy Nut (high energy food).

Procurement of therapeutic food has also increased in preparation for the anticipated worsening of the nutritional situation. In spite of the generous response by many donor countries, food relief has not been able to maintain a satisfactory nutritional level in the drought-affected population in some areas (i.e. SNNPR, Fik in Somali Region), for various reasons: inadequate targeting to priority areas and beneficiaries, inadequate quantity of food (12.5 Kg instead of the recommended 15 Kg per person per month), inadequate quality (the food basket is often made up of cereals only, with no or little complementary food such as blended food and oil), logistic difficulties (many areas cannot be easily reached, and current rains will make it even more difficult), traditional food sharing (in many communities, available food is shared among anybody in the clan, thus diluting the impact upon the actual needy members), delayed shipment of blended food and oil, difficulties in compiling correct beneficiary lists, inefficiency of distribution chain in some regions and supplementary food requirements only met by 50 %, largely through blanket (not targeted) supplementary feeding. Plans are to increase UN staff in the region, to enhance response, reporting and monitoring.

Besides malnutrition, measles is one of the major current threats to the population in Ethiopia, mostly children, and the spread is exacerbated by drought conditions. The number of cases has been increasing with reports of small outbreaks in different parts of the country. The goal of the global measles campaign for 2003, implemented by the Ministry of Health (MoH) with various partners including UNICEF and WHO, is to reduce measles cases by 90% and measles deaths by 90% in comparison with 2002 data with a budget of US$13 million. Plans are to vaccinate at least 90% of children 6 months to 14 years in 2003 and 2004 in phases and to provide Vitamin A capsule supplementation to at least 90% of children 6 to 59 months during measles supplemental immunization. The target population in 2003 is 17,450,972 children 6 months to 14 years of age, in addition to the 2,277,988 children targeted in the campaign of December 2002 in Afar and E/W Hararge. The first 2003 measles and vitamin A campaign, co-sponsored by UNICEF and WHO began in March with micro-planning activities in four zones in three Regions most affected by the drought: Bale zone in Oromiya, Shinille zone in Somali and Gurage & Silti zones in SNNPR, targeting 1,941,988 children between 6 months and 14 years of age. The second round, which will be completed in June, is targeting 5,413,755 children in S/N Wollo, Wag Himra, Arsi, Wollayta, Sidama and Fik zones. It will be followed by a third round in July covering Hadiya, Jijiga and Gode zones, targeting 913,508 more children.

A final campaign will catch-up 9,181,721 more children.

Malaria affects 4 to 5 million people annually in Ethiopia and is prevalent in 75 percent of the country, putting over 40 million people at risk and represents the largest single cause of morbidity. Southern Ethiopia is known for malaria epidemics. As the rains are now ongoing in the southern parts of the country, physically weak and malnourished people are at high malaria risk such as in Omo Shelenko District, Kambata Zone of SNNPR, where in April 33 people died due to a malaria outbreak which can be related to combined factors such as physical weakness due to food shortage and unavailability of malaria drugs. So far the malaria programme has distributed funds to the zones for social mobilization and is producing information, education and communication (IEC) materials. 22,000 mosquito nets were sent in the past to the SNNP Region of which 14,000 were distributed to the target districts, while 8,000 are still in the Regional Health Bureau stores. In addition to the initial emergency supply of 253,000 treated mosquito nets, UNICEF has started the procurement of a new lot of 68,000 Insecticide Treated Nets and malaria kits for malaria-prone districts, with more to come after the 2003-2004 plans of actions are finalized.

In response to the drought situation in Ethiopia WHO-country office with funds from the donor community, donated 56 Emergency Health Kits (EHKs) to the Ministry of Health (MoH). The EHKs will serve a population of 560,000 for over three months. In addition, the health Kits will help health facilities to build their health services during non-emergency times. It is to be recalled that WHO has recently donated 160 EHKs to MOH with the financial allocations from donors. WHO is also finalizing its preparation to intervene in the water sector, particularly in quality aspects in collaboration with Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR). About 150 emergency drug and supplies kits were provided by UNICEF early in 2003 to various regions, and 647 more kits are being procured, each kit to benefit 10,000 people for 3 months. As soon as additional donor contributions become available, more supplies will be procured as needed. In fact the period when the drought's adverse impacts will be highest in Ethiopia is anticipated in the coming months, until the new harvest will hopefully ease the situation of the drought-affected people.

3.1.3 HIV/AIDS Prevention

One of the major lessons learned about the HIV/AIDS pandemic is the fact that it spreads fastest in conditions of social instability, conflict, poverty and powerlessness - conditions that generally prevail among populations under critical emergency situation. In drought situation populations can become mobile or displaced and are at a higher risk of encountering HIV/AIDS and also fuel the problem at the host community's level.

UNICEF is working to ensure that HIV/AIDS education is provided as part of the overall emergency response to the drought. To intensify its response to HIV/AIDS prevention, UNICEF is in the process of hiring two consultants to be deployed in the drought-affected areas in addition to one already deployed in the Somali Region.

With the UNICEF support Save the Children UK is working in five drought-affected districts in Oromiya, Amhara and Somali regions to integrate HIV/AIDS awareness activities with other emergency activities. To date outreach awareness raising activities, such as presentation of drama, have been carried out in three SC UK food distribution sites in South Wollo. Training was conducted on HIV/AIDS prevention for the food ration providers and anti-AIDS clubs in Shinille and Jijiga zones, Somali region. In addition IEC materials were produced and distributed to drought-affected zones in Somali region. UNICEF supported as well the religious leaders initiative to conduct a sensitisation workshop on HIV/AIDS for people living in Hartishek IDP camp and for leaders from the surrounding community in Somali region.

In collaboration with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church UNICEF will offer training on HIV/AIDS education for Mekane Yesus staff working in Bale IDP camps and to the health personnel from the nearby Health Centre.

3.1.4 Agriculture

While the belg (short) cropping season will play an essential role in early recovery for farmers, the meher (long) is the main cropping season for the majority of the country. In many areas of the country (particularly Southern Tigray and Amhara, as well as certain areas in Oromiya), the belg rains are looking more positive. The Ministry of Agriculture, FAO and various NGOs and International Organizations have ongoing seed distribution interventions in various parts of the country. For some farmers, however, the agricultural assistance is too late to benefit from the belg season. Although time is running out for those farmers, quick action is critical to assure access to meher crop seeds that need to be planted within the coming months. The meher rain offers a second chance for short-cycle crops in most of the drought-stricken areas. Planting time for these crops will be from end of June to mid-July.

A concentration of seed assistance can be observed in East and West Hararghe (Oromiya), and Sidama (SNNPR), that are among the most drought-affected areas. Apart from these areas and Shinille zone in Somali Region, a serious shortfall in seed interventions remains. The major requirements, as well as the major shortfall in terms of seed requirements, can be found in Tigray (requirement US$5.1 million, shortfall US$3.7 million) and Amhara Region (requirement US$4.4 million, shortfall US$3.3 million).

With some exceptions for the better-off farmers, most farmers in the drought-stricken areas are having serious difficulties meeting planting requirements for a reasonable harvest.

FAO will distribute cereal seeds as well as vegetable seeds to female-headed households and other groups. Between the belg and meher seasons, FAO plans to provide seeds to drought-affected farmers to plant 101,382 hectares in Oromiya, Amhara, SNNP and Tigray regions, for a total value of US$3.4 million. In addition FAO in collaboration with Christian Relief Service (CRS) Ethiopia has organized two "seed voucher fairs" in Kalu district, South Wollo in April. 500 pre-selected beneficiaries and suppliers of seeds came together in a market event. Beneficiaries were given coupons that they can trade for local seeds of their own preference. This is a pilot project. If successful, FAO will apply the approach on a larger scale. Many NGOs are distributing seeds in the drought-affected areas.

Concerns have recently been raised about the distribution of hybrid maize seeds to farmers without the necessary fertilizer and agricultural package that should go with it for best yield results. Some NGOs would like to distribute chemical fertilisers along with improved hybrids of maize but the general government policy on acquiring and on the use of improved farm inputs, particularly fertilizers, prevents NGOs from providing this input directly to the farmer. Planting maize hybrids without the proper fertiliser application will give poor yield results and hence a considerable loss in potential production, even if weather conditions are favourable.

3.1.5 Livestock

Due to the drought the natural resistance of animals has decreased. The onset of the rains usually increases the infection pressure causing a possible flare up of diseases and parasites. These diseases will have devastating effect on the animal population and hence on pastoralist food security. To support the effort of the government in minimizing loss of livestock due to disease FAO purchased vaccines and drugs and distributed to drought affected regions including areas within Afar, Shinille and Oromiya regions.

Emergency interventions in most cases focus only on food aid. This will only save the life of pastoralists but not their livelihood. Pastoralist livelihood is mainly based on livestock resource and when it is depleted due to drought pastoralists will become destitute have difficulties recovering. Moreover, pastoralist food is mainly composed of milk. Therefore, pastoralists and agro-pastoralists prefer to receive assistance that improves the milk production of their animals rather than receiving relief food. FAO through the livestock-working group has improved the awareness of donors on this issue. As a result, unlike previous drought years more funding was made available for livestock emergency feeding. This enabled FAO to implement emergency livestock feeding (pellets and teff straw) in areas of Afar and Oromiya regions.

The emergency unit of FAO organized a monthly livestock working group (LWG) meeting to exchange ideas and experiences related to livestock emergency interventions. In addition to the LWG meeting, FAO in collaboration with the regional agricultural bureaus organized two regional livestock emergency coordination workshop, one for the pastoral and one for the agro-pastoral regions. The objectives of the regional workshops were to identify who is doing what, identify gaps and prepare joint action plan. The livestock emergency unit also supported NGOs and the Ministry of Agriculture in preparation of contingency plans and emergency project proposals.

3.1.6 Water Supply and Environmental Sanitation

Ethiopia is among the least developed countries in the world with regard to water and sanitation coverage, with 28% coverage for water and 17% for sanitation countrywide. Actual coverage is even lower if we consider that, due to over-use and lack of adequate maintenance, an estimated 30 to 60 % of the existing water schemes at times are not functional.

In the context of the current drought crisis, a recent Emergency Water Supply need survey by UNICEF, in cooperation with Ministry of Water Resources and Regional Water Bureaux, in the 6 Regions most affected by drought, has revised the figures of people in need of emergency water supply as of end of April, from the originally estimated 2.7 million to 4,241,447. 381,942 of them were earmarked for emergency water tankering, of which 120,979 (i.e. 32%) have been served by UNICEF funded tankering during the period January-May. If rains continue in sufficient quantity, the need for water tankering should gradually reduce, releasing more resources for long term solutions. However IDPs and newly resettled populations, will need longer tankering support, as well as many of the recently opened Therapeutic Feeding Centers in various locations.

During the period January to mid-May, UNICEF and its local partners have completed the rehabilitation of 466 existing water schemes (most of them in Oromiya, Amhara and Tigray Regions), benefiting 948,700 people, while UNICEF drilling of a total of 219 new schemes has benefited 292,240 people who did not previously get any clean water: 15 new schemes in Afar, 4 in Somali, 56 in Oromiya, 64 in SNNP, 43 in Amhara and 41 in Tigray Regions.

The total figure of people reached by the UNICEF Emergency Water supply in 2003 is therefore 1,341,919, i.e. 32% of the 4.2 million currently in critical need. This is a good achievement towards the UNICEF 2003 target to increase the national water coverage; this is expected to have a significant impact as well on the health status, by reduction of water-born diseases and improved hygiene. Increasing the national sanitation coverage, with special emphasis on community and school latrines, is another challenge which is faced along the emergency water supply intervention, with training of a large number of village Water & Sanitation committees (WASHE).

UNICEF, in partnership with NGOs and District Authorities, are closely monitoring the water and sanitation needs of the recently resettled people in Oromiya Region, as well as of the people affected by recent floods in Gode Zone (Somali Region): high human concentration and contaminated water points pose a continuous threat to the health status of many children and their families, often requiring water chlorination.

3.1.7 Emergency Education

The drought has had a negative effect on the ability of some families to provide basic education material support. To compensate for this, the Ministry of Education, UNICEF and their partners are targeting 200,000 pupils whose educational opportunities are critically limited. All activities under the Emergency Education Intervention Project in the drought regions complement and reinforce the regular UNICEF supported Primary Education Program. UNICEF has completed a rapid assessment on the educational and psychosocial needs of children in drought-affected areas. The preliminary findings confirm that children are dropping out of school or not attending school regularly, Girls in particular are kept home to take care of domestic chores, as parents have to tend for cattle. But no major displacement of children with their families has been observed. Teachers feel very much marginalized and neglected. Urgent actions are needed. The assessment strongly recommends that UNICEF and WFP work together to expand and strengthen the school-feeding programme. School materials and training to sustain the teachers and help them to cope are badly needed. About 150 combined desks were recently delivered to Afar region to target the schools where a UNICEF-WFP-WHO consortium will cooperate to improve water supply, environment, sanitation, nutrition and finally learning opportunities, on a trial-project base. The experience will then be replicated in other regions.

3.1.8 Gender and Child Protection

The effects of drought have impacted across Ethiopia and exacerbated pre-existing threats to the survival and well being of women and children. Drought and displacement have undermined traditional family and community cohesion. Traditional capacities and patterns of protection and care have been disrupted or destroyed placing women and children at heightened risk of physical and psychological trauma and exploitation. Documented instances of sexual exploitation of women and children, steetism and child labour have already occurred amongst a small number of IDPs. Stronger support mechanisms and more effective safety nets are needed if such adverse coping strategies are to be addressed and prevented from replicating. Wherever possible support is being provided to facilitate delivery of essential services directly to affected communities to pre-empt displacement. A successful training on the Prevention of Sexual Exploitation in a Humanitarian crisis, was held in Addis on 13-14 March. UNICEF held as well a training of trainers for both Government and NGO participants, from 26 to 30 May in Addis Ababa. It is anticipated that the training will then be rolled out into the affected regions and include officials involved in food and emergency supply distribution as well as representatives from affected communities, particularly women and children. A training of trainers has also been conducted early in May for psychosocial assessment skills and interventions in Tigray targeted at refugee communities who are still struggling to reintegrate. An emergency Child Protection consultant is also in the process of being recruited and will specifically focus upon displacement and issues related to the Ethiopia-Eritrea border demarcation process, as well as undertaking other emergency assessments.

3.1.9 Capacity Building

Capacity building at government level is crucial to improve disaster prevention, preparedness and response. For 2003, priority capacity building areas have been adjusted in accordance with revised staffing and equipment requirements for the information centre but remain consistent in other areas as identified in the Emergency Assistance Requirements and Implementation Options for 2003. WFP/UNICEF support is being provided to the Emergency Nutrition Coordination Unit (ENCU). ENCU was established to facilitate improved targeting of resources and co-ordination. Nutrition and nutrition-related information will become a management tool for DPPC, Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB) and other managers taking decisions regarding emergency resources. Units are being established in Amhara and Tigray to facilitate the use of good quality nutrition-related information for the rational use of food aid and other resources in emergency-affected areas.

Improve communication and logistics equipment

Communication facilities in most rural areas either do not exist or are still inadequate, constraining the effectiveness of relief management. To further strengthen the information flow and improve co-ordination efforts, radio communications and logistics equipment (such as field vehicles) is critical. Assistance has not yet been provided from the requirements outlined in the appeal, but at least one donor is considering support to this area.

Staff Deployment

Following consultations between the Government at both Federal and Regional levels, it was agreed that the size and the complex nature of the humanitarian crisis that Ethiopia faces called for an enhanced UNICEF support to the regional counterparts. In that respect, the deployment of UNICEF staff in the field within regional government structures to support government counterparts and NGO partners in the effective implementation and monitoring of emergency programs are now in process. UNICEF has not established formal offices, but uses the existing government infrastructures on a temporary basis. It emphasizes the importance of UNICEF staff working closely with their government counterparts, guiding and strengthening their capacity to implement, manage and monitor UNICEF supported programs. Six regions with the most affected population have been selected for special attention. They are Somali, Oromiya, Tigray, Afar, Amhara, and SNNPR.

Area Program Officers, whose role is to build the DPPC capacities as well as to facilitate the UNICEF emergency response, are being deployed within the regional structure of DPPC offices in Harar, Awassa and Bahr-Dar. UNICEF field officers were already posted in Mekelle and Jijiga. These staff also provide support to UNICEF technical experts who themselves are attached to their respective line bureaux within the region (Health, Education etc.). In addition to the 6 Area Program Officers already deployed, to date 15 technical experts (8 for Health and Nutrition 6 for Water and Sanitation, 1 for HIV/AIDS) have been posted in 5 regions (SNNPR, Oromiya, Somali, Afar and Benishangul-Gumuz).

Training on food aid targeting

Relief resources (food aid in particular) are scarce and should be utilised as efficiently as possible. Building on work undertaken in relation to the development for the National Food Aid Targeting Guidelines, training by WFP and DPPC on food aid targeting needs has begun in select chronically food insecure districts identified in the national Food Security Strategy.

Modernization of DPPC Information/Communication Technology and strengthening DPPC emergency Information Centre

The project document "Modernization of DPPC Information/Communication Technology and strengthening DPPC emergency Information Centre" was formally signed by UN-OCHA-EUE and the government in April 2003. The UN-OCHA-EUE and WFP who have supported the DPPC Information Centre through the initial supply of computer equipment and human resources. This UN Country team support has allowed the Information Centre to become established and partially staffed for a limited period. However, it is anticipated that the donor community will share in its operational costs. Most of the equipment necessary in order for the information centre to operate has already been procured. Lacking however is the full funding for the human resource and capacity building components, which are critical for the success of this project. To date the centre has already begun to produce limited output that is serving stakeholders in the emergency. Contribution and activity information is being collected from major humanitarian stakeholders in order to capture a holistic picture of the emergency response and a detailed database developed to monitor the resource situation during the course of the emergency. The EUE has also seconded an Information Advisor to assist DPPC in the management of the centre. Once fully staffed and operational it will have the capacity to capture required emergency coordination data in as complete a manner as possible that will allow measurement and analysis of the emergency situation, and for the production of thematic maps.

The procurement and instalment of additional warehouses for relief food outlets

Most areas that are frequently affected by drought still do not have warehouses for relief commodities. Yet they are important to reduce time and distance the beneficiaries have to travel to receive relief rations and to prevent them from forced selling of relief food they received at low prices to get cash that is easier to carry long distances than food. The provision of warehouses of moderate capacity in the form of mobile units to priority areas is therefore important. WFP has been providing additional mobile warehouses.

3.1.10 Emergency Coordination

Once the Government, through its regular communication channels learned of the seriousness of the rain failure in mid 2002, they organized and dispatched multi-disciplinary teams to the most affected regions and enlisted the participation of donors, NGOs and the United Nations in missions to these areas to examine firsthand the disaster that was affecting the country. The ministerial level National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee began to meet more frequently and to strategise on the response. National level emergency coordination task forces were established in the ministries of Water Resources, Health and Agriculture and the National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee maintained its role as lead Government body in the coordination of food assistance. Non-governmental organisations and United Nations agencies were co-opted into the task forces, with the chairs of those task forces reporting weekly to the Chairman of the Crisis Management Committee, the Deputy Commissioner of the DPPC, who then in turn reports to the National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee (NDPPC). Similar Crisis Management Committees were established at regional level and a Technical Information Management Exchange (TIME) forum was created by the DPPC into which the sector task forces and partners in the humanitarian response could exchange information and identify ways forward.

With the DPPC serving as the central focus for the coordination of the emergency response, NGO and United Nations partners identified areas in which they could enhance their respective organizational coordination, which could then feed more effectively and harmoniously into the Government coordination mechanism. The Christian Relief and Development Association provides a common forum for NGOs while the United Nations utilizes its Disaster Management Team, Emergency Officers meeting forum and the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia (UN-OCHA-EUE), and WFP's logistics and procurement coordination meeting as the means for ensuring their respective coordination efforts.

To take advantage of increased collaboration among all partners, the DPPC established an Information Centre, enlisted the support of the WFP and UN-OCHA-EUE and engaged the participation of a technical committee to provide support and guidance in the determination of the way in which information will be gathered, analysed, processed and disseminated. The DPPC has also maintained its partnerships with the wider humanitarian community in the conduct of regular and important assessments of the main and minor harvest seasons and of pastoral areas. The Editorial Committee, comprising DPPC, donor and UN representatives serves as a sounding board for views and perspectives that come from the wider humanitarian community and serve as the forum in which appeals are written and presented to the donor community.

3.2 Impact on funding levels on humanitarian programme

Supporting such a large number of people early in 2003 was possible due to a timely donor response to the drought. The early food aid pledges, in combination with the Ethiopian Food Security Reserve (EFSR), has allowed food aid to be in place in time. Although with a slower start, the donor community has also responded favourably to non-food needs. Factors that led to both of these responses included an efficient and credible government early warning system, the active involvement of donors in the assessment process from the very beginning of the drought crisis, and early advocacy by the Government, United Nations agencies, NGOs, donor representatives, and the media.

Summary: Food and Non Food Pledges against the Joint-Government UN Appeal
Shortfall as %
Grains (Cereals)
Blended Food
Appeal Total Food
Capacity Building
Gender, Child protection and Shelter
Health and Nutrition
Water and Environmental
Appeal Total
*Confirmed and Unconfirmed
** US$ 6.2 million additional pledges were provided to the education sector, but not all pledges were against the requirements in the appeal.

4 Priorities to end of 2003

The clearest indicator of the severity of the present crisis is the alarming rate of global acute malnutrition (GAM) and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in some regions. Immediate and substantial action is needed to prevent further deterioration and unavoidable death of many people who are now already are in critical condition. Special emphasis will be placed on water activities due to the increase from 2.6 to 4.2 million people currently in need of emergency water assistance, vaccination campaigns and on improving nutritional capacity to meet emerging needs.

Major challenges will be to propose and implement proposals that improve food aid targeting for relief as well as for supplementary food according to respective guidelines and to find ways how to raise therapeutic feeding capacities that will enable NGOs and other actors active in SNNPR to treat the numerous severely malnourished children who need immediate attention. Deploying more experienced staff to monitor and supervise food aid distributions can increase relief food aid targeting. More federal emergency monitoring teams can be deployed to follow-up more closely emergency activities in the worst affected districts of SNNPR. Food aid rations have already been raised for beneficiaries in the most affected districts. Supplementary food distributions need to be followed more closely and more emphasis put on the importance that those beneficiaries in need of these supplementary rations are the ones to consume instead of sharing with their fellow family members. Ensuring full ration of 15kg cereals plus supplementary food (fortified blended food or pulses and vegetable oil) can also help to improve the nutritional situation.

5 Outlook for 2004: Scenarios and prospects

Relief requirements for 2004 will be assessed during the November/December multi-agency assessment of the main season (meher) crops. Contingency planning scenarios for 2004 may be presented in September/October 2003. The recovery requirements will be great in 2004, especially for farmers that had to make major asset sales to survive during the prolonged drought in 2002-2003. There is also a need for a robust rehabilitation programme for pastoral areas affected by drought. Acknowledging 4 to 5 million chronically food insecure people that need assistance each year, structured programmes to reduce the vulnerability of this population remain a priority. Resettlement is one approach being undertaken but all development initiatives need to be enhanced to break the cycle of poverty and destitution.


The designations employed and the presentation of material in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the UN concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

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ARRA Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs
COOPI Cooperazione Internazionale
CRS Catholic Relief Service
DPPC Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (Federal Government level)
DPPB Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (Regional level)
DPPD Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Department (Zonal level)
EFSR Emergency Food Security Reserve
EMAO Ethiopian Mine Action Office
ERP Emergency Response Program
ERPMU Emergency Response Program Management Unit
ERS Economic Reintegration Support
ETB Ethiopian Birr
FAO Food and Agricultural Organisation
FDS Families of Deceased Soldiers
GFDRE Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
ICRC International Committee of the Red Cross
IDP Internally Displaced People/Person
IRC International Rescue Committee
MEDAC Ministry of Economic Planning and Cooperation
MSF Médecins Sans Frontières
NGO Non-Governmental-Organisation
ORHC Office of Regional Humanitarian Coordination (for the Horn in Addis Ababa)
OXFAM Oxford Committee for Famine Relief
RADO Rehabilitation and Development Organization
REST Relief Society of Tigray
SC-US Save the Children Fund United States
SC-UK Save the Children Fund United Kingdom
TSS Transitional Subsistence Support
TSZ Temporary Security Zone
UNCT United Nations Country Team
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UN-EUE United Nations Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia
UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
UNICEF United Nations Children Fund
UNMEE United Nations Mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea
USAID United States Aid for International Development
UXO Unexploded Ordnance
VOCA Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance
WB World Bank
WFP World Food Programme


Dega Expression for one of the altitudinal agroecological belts in Ethiopia. In Tigray between 2500 to > 3400 m a.s.l.
Kebele Smallest administrative unit in Ethiopia
Kolla Expression for one of the altitudinal agroecological belts in Ethiopia. In Tigray between ~1400 to ~1800 m a.s.l.
Tabia is the Tigrigna language name for 'kebele' that is the smallest administrative unit of the Ethiopian Federal Government.
District Local administrative unit
weyna dega Expression for one of the altitudinal agroecological belts in Ethiopia. In Tigray between ~1800 to ~2400 m a.s.l.

Glossary of important meteorological and seasonal terms used for Ethiopian highland areas

Meteorological Drought Defined

Drought is a period of insufficient water initiated by reduced precipitation. The impacts of drought on crops and society are critical but not easily quantified. The result is that "drought" does not have a universal definition. "Meteorological drought" is defined as a sustained period of deficient precipitation with a low frequency of occurrence. While crops may be damaged by lack of precipitation and high temperatures in just a few days, such short periods are not considered to be meteorological droughts. A three-month period is defined by the American Meteorological Society to be the shortest period that can be defined as a drought. (Source: The American Meteorological Society)

Ethiopia's 'Keremt' or 'Meher' Rains Defined

Since Ethiopia and Eritrea are in the tropics, physical conditions and variations in altitude have resulted in a great diversity of climate, soil, and vegetation. Rainfall is seasonal, varying in amount, space, and time. There is a long and heavy summer rain, normally called the big rain or keremt, which falls from June-September. It is followed by the baga hot, dry period from October through February (see below for definition). In some areas there are short and moderate spring rains in March and April known as the little rains or belg. These rainy periods correspond to Ethiopia's primary and secondary agricultural seasons, known as the meher and belg. (Source: FEWS)

Ethiopia's 'Belg' Rains Defined

In spring, a strong cyclonic centre develops over Ethiopia and Sudan. Winds from the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean highs are drawn towards this centre and blow across central and southern Ethiopia. These moist, easterly and south-easterly winds produce the main rain in south-eastern Ethiopia and the little spring rains to the east central part of the north-western highlands. The little rains of the highlands are known as belg rains, referring to the second most important sowing season of the region. (Source: FEWS)

Ethiopia's 'Baga' Season Defined

Since Ethiopia is in the tropics, physical conditions and variations in altitude have resulted in a great diversity of climate, soil, and vegetation. Rainfall is seasonal, varying in amount, space, and time. There is a long and heavy summer rain, normally called the big rain or keremt, which falls from June-September. It is followed by the baga hot, dry period from October through February. In some areas there are short and moderate spring rains in March and April known as the little rains or belg. These rainy periods correspond to Ethiopia's primary and secondary agricultural seasons, known as the meher and belg. (Source: FEWS)