Ethiopia: Floods Emergency Appeal No. 05EA013

Originally published


The Federation's mission is to improve the lives of vulnerable people by mobilizing the power of humanity. It is the world's largest humanitarian organization and its millions of volunteers are active in over 181 countries.

In Brief



The situation

The heavy rains which hit the eastern and southern part of Ethiopia in April 2005 have lead to severe flooding that has left 156 dead and thousands others homeless. Information obtained indicates that a total of 235,418 people have been affected by in the Somali and southern part of the country. Tens of thousands of livestock had also been killed. A total of 8,645 households have been affected in the Dale (312), Humbo (4,933) and Arbaminch (3,400) districts respectively. Agricultural land under annual and perennial crops has been damaged.

The potential disease prevalence in the affected areas is high. Non-existent or limited health facilities and sanitation are major contributing factors to consequent malaria and diarrhea diseases leading to epidemics. While rains continue more people will be affected, and the lack of shelter will result in further health problems mainly among vulnerable groups, women and children.

The floods have washed away pipes linked to protected springs in Tebela, as well as the collection reservoir at Sodo. The situation is worse in Gamo Gofa (Arba Minch Zuria) where reports from the Government authorities show that 25 shallow wells, a protected spring, a motorized system and a borehole fitted with a windmill are destroyed.

This appeal intends to assist flood affected communities in Dale, Sodo Zuria, Humbo and Arbaminch woredas of Sidama, Wolayita and Gamo Gofa zones of the Southern Nations Nationality Peoples Region (SNNPR). The administrative centers of Dale, Sodozuria, Humbo and Arbaminch districts are situated at approximately 300km from the capital Addis Ababa.

The emergency operation is proposed for 6 months, and aims at providing non-food items, rehabilitation of water supply systems (including community training), improving the environmental health through vector control, providing acute watery diarrhea treatment, and conducting measles vaccination and Vitamin A distribution for children in the affected areas as an outreach programme. This appeal also highlights the potential need for food aid, seeds, fertilizer as well as the need to conduct rehabilitation activities in areas with damaged infrastructure (as long-term interventions).

Non-Food and Food Security situation

The Arbaminch District is composed of 13 Kebeles (villages) of which four have been affected by the recent heavy rains caused by the burst of the Sile and Sego rivers out of their course. A Red Cross and Red Crescent assessment noted that the road connecting Arba Minch with Jinka had been cutoff and the community in the affected area was retreating to the high land areas.

Four Kebeles, with 3,400 households and the total population of 18,650 persons, were identified as most affected. Crops in these areas have been damaged and the population isolated from other parts of the district due to the floods. Consequently, the possibilities of delivering assistance have been denied. All the infrastructures such as schools, health posts, etc., are over-flooded, and families displaced. According to district authorities, of a total of 3,911 arable hectares (ha) of land, 710 ha covered by annual crop and perennial crops respectively have been damaged.

The Humbo District is one of the 10 districts/town administrations of the Walayita zone. It has a total population of 140,083. Since the occurrence of the floods district authorities conducted two ssessments. A total of 13 settlements with a total population of 24,633 have been affected. The most affected kebeles are Abaya Chewcore and Abaya Guricho where a total of 1,633 and 1,650 households. These communities are entirely depend on the belg rain and lost the season due to the flood. The remaining seven kebeles lost between 15 and 85 per cent of their expected production. The major crops damaged include maize, sweet potato, onion, beans and bananas.

The Regional Disaster Response Team (RDRT) assessment found that 766 household heads have been displaced, and a total of 2,552 hectares of cropped land damaged.

The Sodo zuria District of the Walayita zone has a population of 209,620. It is one of the most densely populated areas of the country. In the Diablo Wagone kebele, the assessment team conducted a focus group discussion and field visit. Authorities estimate that a total of 17,545 people and 1,154 ha of land have been affected by the current disaster. Maize, potato, banana and vegetables have suffered most from the floods and hailstorm.

The Dale District is found in Sidama zone of SNNPR. Some 312 households in the lowland Kebele of Abaya Zuria have been displaced by the overflow of Bilate River. Throughout the district a total of 2,072 households as well as 2,000 ha of crop land have been affected.

The bridge on Bilate River, which connects the local community with the market, has been washed out. Two people died and four were seriously injured. Initial assessments determined that the displaced populations require non-food items such as blankets, plastic sheets, water jerry cans, cooking and house hold items.


The RDRT assessment results indicate that the areas of Dale, Walayita Zuria, Humbo and Arba Minch share the same concerns related to the precarious health situation. There are fears of possible outbreaks of malaria and communicable diseases. The health and nutrition status of the affected population is dependent on their ability to cope with the current food insecurity and deteriorating sanitation situation. Due to the floods, many families deserted their villages, thereby overstretching the limited health facilities at the places of new settlement.

The number of displaced families is larger than the available shelter facilities and, with rains continuing, further health problems mainly among vulnerable groups (women and children) are expected to occur. Most people cannot access the health centers in less than 4-5 hours, making the treatment of immediate life-threatening conditions very difficult.

According to health officials, malaria is already highly endemic in the affected areas with more than 3,000 cases (or 27 per cent of the total population in March 2005 in Humbo). Diarrhea is the second common disease in the Wollayta, Gamo Gofa, and Sidama Zones. The floods destroyed existing latrines, and coupled with contaminated water sources, makes diarrhea a serious threat.

Water and Sanitation

District authorities indicate that safe water and sanitation coverage ranges between 20 and 40 per cent in the assessment areas. The situation is worse in Gamo Gofa (Arba Minch Zuria) where 25 shallow wells installed with Afridev pumps; a protected spring, a motorized system, and a borehole fitted with a windmill are destroyed. In Sodo Zuria, the floods have washed away 10 lengths of 3-inche pipe and fittings between 3 protected springs (Tebela) and the collection reservoir.

In Dale-Abaya Zuria, communities scoop sand along the riverbed to access 'clean' water that is not safe for drinking. The water is brown in colour (highly turbid) due to silt from cultivated land. Very few households have latrines, and human waste near household surroundings is posing a problem.

All International Federation assistance seeks to adhere to the Code of Conduct and is committed to the Humanitarian Charter and Minimum Standards in Disaster Response in delivering assistance to the most vulnerable. For support to or for further information concerning Federation programmes or operations in this or other countries, or for a full description of the national society profile, please access the Federation's website at

For further information specifically related to this operation please contact:

In Ethiopia: Takele Jemberu, Acting Secretary General, Ethiopian Red Cross Society, Addis Ababa; Email ;Phone 251.1.15 9.074; Fax 251.1.512.643

In Ethiopia: Pirkko Tolvanen, Federation Head of Horn of Africa Sub-Regional Office, Addis Ababa; Email ; Phone / Fax: +251.1.514.317

In Kenya: Steve Penny, Federation Disaster Management Coordinator, East Africa Regional Delegation, Nairobi; Email ; Phone +; Fax +

In Geneva: Richard Hunlédé, Federation Head of Africa Dept.; Email ; Phone +41.22.730.4 314; Fax +41.22.733.0395

For longer-term programmes, please refer to the Federation's Annual Appeal.

(pdf* format - 165 KB)