Ethiopia Weekly Humanitarian Bulletin, 08 October 2012

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 08 Oct 2012

Food Security Update

Meher crops are largely at a normal stage of development following the generally favourable kiremt rains, according to the latest report from FEWS-NET, although hailstorms and localized floods damaged crops in pocket areas of northern and northeastern Ethiopia. Reduced crop production is expected in the eastern marginal meher crop-producing areas of eastern Amhara and Tigray due to the predicted early cessation of the kiremt rains. Good rains in highland areas have led to improvements in pasture and water availability, supporting improved livestock body condition. In the pastoralists areas of southern and southeastern Ethiopia, which are usually dry from July to October, cold temperatures and heavy cloud cover reduced evapotranspiration, meaning that pasture and water sources are depleting slower than normal. With the increased likelihood of normal to above-normal rains due to a weak El Niño and assuming continued humanitarian assistance, food security is expected to improve throughout the pastoralist lowlands in the coming months, including in parts of the Somali Region that received poor 2012 gu (April to June) rains.

In SNNPR, the normal to above-normal performance of the kiremt rains was generally favourable for agricultural activities, despite erratic rainfall in some lowland areas of Segen, Hadiya, Wolayita, Gamo Gofa and Sidama zones. The start of the green harvest is resulting in improved access to food in rural areas and should help stabilize food security through the end of the year. However, significant declines in double-cropping due to the delayed belg (mid-February to May) rains is likely to affect overall production. For example, maize production in the region is expected to be much below normal. Food prices also remain high in SNNPR (for staples such as root crops), in the eastern marginal meher crop-producing areas (cereals), and in the eastern and southern pastoralist areas of Afar, Oromia and Somali Regions (food and livestock prices remain above the five-year average), which will continue to affect poor households’ access to food. Most areas currently experiencing “crisis” conditions should improve to “stressed” with the start of the meher harvest and the onset of the deyr/hagaya (October-December) rains. For more information, contact:

Relief Food Update

As of 28 September, dispatch of sixth round relief food (targeting 3.8 million people) reached 33 per cent, with 57 per cent to areas covered by the Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS), 10 per cent to WFP-covered areas in the Somali region, and 33 per cent to the NGO consortium Joint Emergency Operation (JEOP). DRMFSS also approved an additional round of relief food for 41,000 beneficiaries affected by conflict in the Moyale area, including 26,000 in Oromia and 14,000 in Somali Regions. With serious shortfalls in the relief food pipeline looming, food partners note that while it should be possible to meet seventh round requirements with existing resources, there are shortfalls for the eighth or subsequent rounds. For more information, contact wfp.addisababa@wfp,org

WASH Update

Most areas of Afar Region, and Fafan (formerly Jijiga) and Siti (Shinile) zones of Somali Region, where the karan (July to October) rains are drawing to a close received normal to above-normal rains in the past week. Early onset of the deyr rains was reported from Jarar (Degahabur) and Nogob (Fik) zones, but acute water shortages continue in Doolo (Warder), Korahe, Afder, Liben and Shebelle (Gode) zones. Drought-prone parts of Oromia Region, including East Shewa, East Harerge, Bale, Borena and Guji zones, also saw below-normal to no rainfall during the week. However, as a result of the good rainfall, the number of woredas in need of water rationing in Afar decreased from five to three, with 10,650 people continuing to receive water trucking. Nationally, 27 water trucks are currently operational, including 12 in Somali Region, six in Tigray, seven in Afar, and two in Oromia. With support from UNICEF, Oxfam GB deployed two water trucks in conflict-affected parts of the Moyale area. The trucks are expected to operate for three weeks while the agency works to rehabilitate a borehole in the area. Additional water responses are required to assist the conflict-affected population. For more information, contact:

Refugee Update

While there are reports of Hepatitis E virus (HEV) outbreaks in refugee camps in South Sudan and Kenya, UNHCR confirms no cases recorded in refugee camps in Ethiopia. Nevertheless, UNHCR, the Government’s refugee agency, ARRA, and partners including UNICEF, WHO and the Ministry of Health have developed an HEV response plan in case of any outbreak. Enhanced communicable disease monitoring activities are on-going in all camps through the routine Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) system. The WASH sector is working to promote hygiene among refugee communities, and will start trainings on HEV case detection and case management. On 3 October 2012, the new all-weather airstrip in Dollo Ado was inaugurated. The new airstrip, built by WFP with US funding, will support improved access to Dollo Ado, where previous rainy seasons have brought air traffic to a halt. As of 2 October, there are 169,617 Somali refugees in Dollo Ado, including 1,700 new arrivals in September. For more information, contact: Health Update

An increasing number of malaria cases - 81,683 in the reporting week ending 4 October – were reported nationally, with the majority from SNNPR (39 per cent, Amhara (37.5 per cent) and Oromia (18.3 per cent). The most affected zones include Sidama, Wolayita, Halaba and Gamo Gofa (SNNPR); west Gojjam, North Gonder, Awi and South Gonder (Amhara); and Jimma, East Wellega, West Shewa and Ilu Aba Bora (Oromia). The Ministry of Health (MOH), Regional Health Bureaus and partners are conducting active surveillance in hot-spot woredas and monitoring disease trends. In Oromia, a new monitoring assessment conducted by the RHB and WHO in West Shewa zone revealed ongoing preparedness activities, including: distribution of malaria guidelines to woredas and health facilities; completion of indoor residual spraying in 75 per cent of highly malaria-endemic woredas; and distribution of 17,000 insecticide-treated bed-nets.

There were 36 new suspected measles cases during the week in Oromia, Amhara and SNNPR, and 18 new cases of meningitis in Amhara, Dire Dawa, SNNPR and Tigray. Given the upcoming meningitis transmission season, WHO has provided funding to initiate enhanced disease surveillance and training on case management and outbreak investigation for health workers in Amhara, Beneshangul Gumuz, Gambella, Oromia, SNNPR and Tigray. For more information, contact:

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