FEWS bulletin - 28 Nov 1997

from US Agency for International Development
Published on 28 Nov 1997
Unseasonable, heavy rains fell in much of Ethiopia during the second half of October -- the month when the harvest in
western Oromiya Region and in many areas of the northern highlands usually begins -- and again during the second and
third weeks of November (figure 1). The heavy rains damaged some maturing crops, particularly teff, as well as
harvested crops that had not been properly stored. The loss in cereal and pulse crop production could be as great as
20 percent overall. Local losses will be considerably higher in some areas of the northern highlands, where rains have been
most damaging and teff is an important crop.

The additional rain that has been forecast for many areas of Ethiopia could cause more damage and higher postharvest
losses, but could also lead to higher production for late-planted, perennial, and recessional crops.

Before preharvest assessment teams led by the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission had completed
their draft reports, the Ethiopian Council of Ministers directed them to return to the field to assess the impact of the
unseasonable rains. The commission will use the teams' findings in its annual appeal for food aid in late November.
Total food aid pledges to Ethiopia currently stand at about 192,320 MT of cereals. Donors -- including USAID, which is
planning to provide substantial additional food aid -- are expected to pledge further assistance after the Government's
annual appeal.

In the southern rangelands, where the deyr (secondary) rainy season is under way, rains were far above normal during the
second half of October and in mid-November, causing severe flooding in areas around the three major rivers of Somali Region:
the Wabe Shabelle, the Dawa, and the Gennale. As of November 20, the floods had caused the deaths of about 300 persons, as well as the loss of more than 14,000 head of livestock, as well as homes and other property. Several thousand people have left their homes and sought higher ground, carrying what they could. The Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission, which has been providing flood relief to the region, on November 20 declared a disaster and requested international assistance, stating that the situation had deteriorated beyond the commission's capacity to respond appropriately without external aid.

The FEWS bulletin is published for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Africa Bureau, Assistant Administrator, Disaster Response Coordination (AFR/AA/DRC) by: The FEWS Project, No. 698-0491 (Contract No. AOT-0491-C-00-5021-00), ARD, Inc.

Contractor: Associates in Rural Development, Inc., Burlington, VT.

Electronic hypertext versions are available at http://www.info.usaid.gov/fews/fews.html.

This document should not be construed as an official Agency pronouncement. Comments and suggestions regarding the FEWS bulletin should be addressed to the FEWS Director at the address below.

FEWS Project
ARD, Inc.

1611 N. Kent Street, Suite 1002
Arlington, VA 22209 USA
Telephone: 703-522-7722
E-mail: info@fews.org