Ethiopia - Drought Fact Sheet #3, Fiscal Year (FY) 2003

Note: This Fact Sheet updates USAID/OFDA Ethiopia Fact Sheet #2, dated November 13, 2002.

In 2002, below-average belg, or secondary rains (March-May) coupled with delayed and sporadic meher, or main rains (July-September) led to widespread food insecurity in Ethiopia. The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia's (GFDRE) Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC), along with the U.N.'s Emergency Unit for Ethiopia (UN/EUE), issued an appeal on the food security situation in the country on September 30, 2002, indicating that the number of Ethiopians vulnerable to food insecurity totaled more than 6.3 million people.

In addition, given the poor performance of the meher rains, food insecurity continues to spread to agro-pastoral and agricultural areas, particularly the lowlands and midlands of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples (SNNP), Tigray, Oromiya, and Amhara regions. USAID's Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) estimates that overall crop production will be 8-15 percent below average. However, in isolated areas, estimates of crop losses are significantly higher than the overall average percentage loss.

Current Situation

The Ethiopia Network on Food Security, an initiative by USAID/FEWS NET and the European Union's Local Food Security Unit (EU-LFSU), released a report on January 21, 2003 indicating that current food aid pledges are sufficient to cover needs through May 2003. However, unless additional pledges are made, the food aid pipeline is expected to collapse in June 2003.

On December 30, 2002, WFP and FAO released the results from their comprehensive crop and food supply assessment mission to Ethiopia conducted during November and December. The report sites that crop production has decreased 25 percent below 2001 levels and that grain prices have increased substantially in the second half of 2002. FAO/WFP estimates that Ethiopia's food deficit in 2003 will be more than 2.3 million metric tons (MT), with increased food aid, commercial imports, and internal production needed to meet the deficit.

On December 7, 2002, an appeal issued by the GFDRE/DPPC and UN/EUE indicated that 11.3 million people will require more than 1.4 million MT of food aid in 2003. In addition, the appeal determined that an additional three million people require close monitoring.

USAID/OFDA assessments in November concluded that the most affected areas are mainly in the Afar Region and West Hararghe Zone, Oromiya Region. However, other emerging areas affected by the humanitarian situation include Arsi, Shewa, and Bale zones of the Oromiya Region, lowland areas of the Amhara Region, Shinile and Fik zones in the Somali Region, and areas of southern and eastern Tigray Region. In addition, USAID/OFDA field reports recommended an early and robust intervention in the water/sanitation and agriculture and sectors by a diverse range of humanitarian actors.

USAID/OFDA field reports indicate that the prospects for the 2003 planting season, which begins with the start of the belg rains in March/April, are not encouraging due to the depletion of farmers' individual seed stocks and consecutive years of drought.

U.S. Government Assistance

From January 16-20, 2003, USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios traveled to Ethiopia to assess the status of the drought, review response measures to date, identify upcoming food and non-food needs, and consider longer-term measures to improve national food security and reduce the likelihood of recurrent crises.

On August 1, 2002, the U.S. Embassy in Ethiopia declared a disaster in response to the developing drought situation. In response, USAID/OFDA, USAID/FFP, and USAID/Ethiopia contributed more than $71 million in humanitarian assistance in FY 2002. In addition, in FY 2002, USDA contributed $34.4 million of section 416(b) emergency food assistance and State/PRM provided $7.2 million towards assistance to refugees in Ethiopia.

Following the initial October 22 deadline, USAID/OFDA has reviewed all proposals submitted in response to its Annual Program Statement (APS) and committed funds of more than $7.1 million to support emergency water and sanitation, health and nutrition, and agricultural recovery activities in drought-affected areas of Oromiya, Afar, Amhara, and SNNP regions.

In October, USAID/OFDA deployed an Emergency Disaster Response Coordinator (EDRC) and Information Officer to Ethiopia to coordinate USAID/OFDA's humanitarian response to the situation. USAID/OFDA's Horn of Africa Regional Advisor and an Agricultural and Food Security Technical Advisor deployed for short-term assessments of the situation. In addition, USAID/OFDA is funding a Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Epidemiologist to provide technical assistance to USAID/Ethiopia. USAID/FFP deployed staff to augment USAID/Ethiopia's Food and Humanitarian Assistance (FHA) Unit.

In FY 2003 to date, USAID/FFP has committed more than 358,200 MT of P.L. 480 Title II emergency food assistance, valued at more than $171 million. During his visit, Administrator Natsios pledged additional emergency food aid for the people of Ethiopia that will bring the total amount of USAID/FFP contributions to more than 508,000 MT.

While no funds have been obligated in FY 2003 to date, it is anticipated that addition USDA Section 416(b) emergency food assistance and State/PRM refugee assistance will be made available.

U.S. Government Humanitarian Assistance to ETHIOPIA
Implementing Partner
FY2003 (TO DATE)
AmRC Water/Sanitation Oromiya
CARE Water/Sanitation Oromiya
CRS Agriculture, Water/Sanitation Oromiya
FHI Agriculture Amhara
IMC Primary Health, Nutrition Orimiya
IRC Water/Sanitation Oromiya
WorldVision Nutrition, Livelihoods Afar, SNNPR
UN OCHA Coordination Afar, Somali
USAID Administrative All
WFP 259,000 MT of P.L. 480 Title II Emergency Food Assistance Countrywide
JEOP 94,000 MT of P.L. 480 Title II Emergency Food Assistance Countrywide
ICRC 5,200 MT of P.L. 480 Title II Emergency Food Assistance Countrywide

1 USAID/OFDA funding indicates committed and/or obligated amounts as of January 30, 2003

Public Donation Information

The most effective way people can assist relief efforts is by making cash contributions to humanitarian organizations that are conducting relief operations. A list of humanitarian organizations that are accepting cash donations for their drought response efforts in Eritrea can be found at Information on other organizations responding may be available at

USAID encourages cash donations because they: allow aid professionals to procure the exact items needed (often in the affected region); reduce the burden on scarce resources (such as transportation routes, staff time, warehouse space, etc); can be transferred very quickly and without transportation costs; support the economy of the disaster-stricken region; ensure culturally, dietary, and environmentally appropriate assistance.

More information on making donations and volunteering services can be found at:

Information on relief activities of the humanitarian community can be found at

USAID/OFDA fact sheets can be obtained from the USAID web site at

Information on USAID Annual Program Statements (APS) can be found at procurement_bus_opp/procurement/annual_pstatements/