Ethiopia: Emergency and humanitarian action weekly update - Week 41 (05 - 11 Oct 2009)

Situation Report
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- According to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), 634 new cases of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and one related death (CFR 0.2%) have been reported between 21 and 27 September (epidemic week 39).

- The Government and humanitarian partners have begun mid-meher assessments on 28 September, following the late start of the meher rains and generally below normal precipitations across most of the country.

- Increasing numbers of malnutrition cases are reported in East and Oromiya's West Harerghe, Arsi and West Shewa zones as well as in many parts of Somali Region.


- The overall security situation remains stable. No major security incidents involving humanitarian staff members have been reported.

Food security and malnutrition

- The meher rains (from July to September, with harvest from November) were two- to four-week late and stopped early in most of the crop-producing areas, leading to poor crop in many parts of the country. Unless rainfall continues well into October, crops may not reach maturity, causing the poorest harvest in the past six years.

- While findings from the ongoing mid-meher assessment may take a few weeks to analyse and publish, the present food security situation on ground already appears worrisome. The meher is the dominant rainy and harvest season, ensuring about 90% of the national crop production – yet the prospects do not look good. To worsen the situation, the last belg season (short rains from January to March with harvest from July) crop was below normal and the last meher food stocks are consequently running out. The price of staple food is currently higher than normal, making households even more vulnerable to food shortages.

- Food security is deteriorating particularly in many parts of Somali Region, and in East and West Harerghe, Arsi and West Shewa zones of Oromiya Region. In parts of southern Somali Region, there are reports of livestock deaths, increased and unusual human migrations from rural to urban areas and to Food Distribution Points and critical water and pasture shortage. Following two consecutive poor belg/gu seasons in 2008, pastoralists have not fully recovered their livestock.

- Crops are performing poorly or even drying up in several areas of eastern and southern Tigray Region, parts of eastern Amhara Region, many low lands of eastern Oromiya Region, the southern low -lying areas of Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region (SNNPR), and nearly the whole of Gambella Region. The prospect of harvest in these areas looks gloomy.

Acute watery diarrhoea (AWD)

- According to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), 634 new AWD cases and one death (CFR 0.2%) were reported in Afar, Amhara, Somali, Oromiya, and SNNP Regions and Addis Ababa city between 21 and 27 September. The continuous movement of hundreds of thousands of pilgrims and migrant labourers to and from holy water sites and private farms are contributing to the spread of the disease. The re-opening of schools mid-September also requires a special attention. Contingency plans have been developed by the FMOH, regional health bureaus (RHB) and humanitarian partners to address the situation.

Figure 1. National trend analysis of watery diarrhoea cases and deaths between 1 January and 20 September 2009.

Influenza A (H1N1) update

- According to the FMOH, no new cases of Influenza A H1N1 have been reported this week. The total number of confirmed cases in the country is still six.