FEWS Ethiopia Food Security Emergency: 29 Aug 2003

Situation Report
Originally published

Additional 600,000 people need food aid in 2003

An assessment of household food security conditions and food and non-food humanitarian needs, carried out in the belg-crop producing and pastoral areas of Ethiopia in June-July, found that an additional 2.4 million people need food aid between August and December -- a net increase of 600,000 -- concentrated in the eastern half of the country. The assessment, led by the government's Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC), raises the total number of people needing food aid in 2003 to 13.2 million and total food aid needs to 739,000 MT, not counting supplementary food needs for targeted feeding programs.

According to the assessment, the jump in food needs was due to seed shortages that reduced area planted; erratic rainfall that lowered crop yields; lack of household recovery from last year's poor harvest; high malnutrition rates; a drop in cash crop income and absence of alternative income sources; low purchasing power; and poor food aid targeting compounded by social obligations to share with ineligible households. Ethiopia, in the midst of a worsening humanitarian emergency due to consecutive droughts, deep poverty and ensuing livelihood crises, has averted outright famine due to massive food aid pledges and deliveries. While current pledges are sufficient to meet this latest increase in food aid demand, the DPPC has appealed for an additional 200,000 MT of cereals and 50,015 MT of pulses to cover unanticipated needs during the early months of next year . Moreover, public health services need support to combat a spreading outbreak of malaria, the third biggest killer in the country.


  • All traditional and non-traditional food donors should pledge generously and deliver early to the DPPC appeal for contingency food aid in early 2004 to replenish the Ethiopian Food Security Grain Reserve.

  • Donors should continue to support critical needs in the non-food sector, such as water and sanitation, public health and nutrition, and livestock asset protection.
Timeline of Critical Events for Determining Food and Non-food Needs in 2003 and 2004