Ethiopia

FEWS Ethiopia Food Security Update: 14 Mar 2003

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As of March 6, cereal food aid pledges amounted to 56 percent of 2003 emergency relief requirements, or enough to partially cover needs through the end of June. However, beginning in July, cereal food aid resources will run out completely unless additional pledges are made in the next couple of months.

Delivery of already pledged food aid and repayment to the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR) also have to be expedited in order to prevent depletion of the reserve and consequent break in food aid distributions.

Given the substantial monthly food aid requirement of approximately 110,000 to 170,000 MT between January and September 2003, the expected pipeline breakdown in May/June is particularly damaging since it will be necessary to preposition food aid to inaccessible areas at just about this time. About 60,000 to 70,000 MT of food aid to these areas has to be pre-positioned in May and June in order to allow continued distribution through the end of September when the areas become accessible again of the end of the main rains.

Nutritional status improved only marginally or continues to deteriorate despite on going food aid distributions. In others, however, malnutrition has either persisted at previous levels or declined only slightly. This could be explained by either an inadequate general ration and supplementary food distribution, poor food aid targeting and/or disease burden among children.

Ensuring adequate and timely delivery of food and non-food relief assistance (health and nutrition, water and sanitation, etc.) as well as improved targeting practices have to be pursued in order to register a sustained positive impact on nutritional status among those affected by the drought.

Cereal prices increased slightly during February. On going food aid distributions and improved rainfall performance and prospects may be the stabilizing factor that have prevented further increase in prices despite the overall food shortage in the country.

Ethiopia faces a significant food aid shortfall for the second half of the year

Food aid pledges against 2003 emergency relief requirements in Ethiopia have improved in recent months. However, they remain far short of requirements. Under such circumstances, it is customary for the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) to reduce the ration from the recommended 15kg per beneficiary per month to 12.5kg.

As of 6 March, cereal food aid pledges amounted to 56 percent of 2003 emergency relief requirements, or enough to partially cover needs through the end of June1. As Figure 1 shows, however, beginning in July, cereal food aid resources will run out completely unless additional pledges are made in the next couple of months (Figure 1).


Figure 1. Needy Population, Cereal Food Aid Requirement and Availability


In addition, the already-pledged food aid needs to be delivered and the Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR) needs to be replenished in order to prevent a total depletion of the reserve and a consequent break in food aid distributions (Table 1).

Table 1. Emergency Food Security Reserve (EFSR) Projection, March-May 2003 (in Metric Tons) as of 7 March 2003


Available stock at the beginning of the month
Expected repayments during the month
Actual and projected loans from the reserve
Stock balance at the end of the month
Month
A
B
C
D=A+B-C
March
58,523
127,917
123,446
62,994
April
62,994
92,946
137,447
18,493
May
18,493
109,400*
137,935
-10,042
Source: Emergency Food Security Reserve Administration (EFSRA). *109,400 MT of expected repayments to the EFSR have yet to be confirmed.

Given the substantial monthly food aid requirement of approximately 110,000 to 170,000 MT between January and September 2003, the expected pipeline breakdown in May/June is particularly damaging since it will be necessary to preposition food aid to inaccessible areas at just about this time. Several of the worst drought-affected areas become inaccessible during the peak of the main rainy season, around mid-July. About 60,000 to 70,000 MT of food aid has to be pre-positioned in these areas in May and June in order to allow continued distribution through the end of September, when the areas become accessible again.

With regard to food for supplementary feeding programs, donor pledges to date only cover 43 percent of requirements for the year. This has already negatively affected blended food distribution in January and February. Unless additional pledges are made immediately, already high malnutrition levels are expected to persist or even get worse in the coming months.

Note: 1 This includes a pledge of 37,000 MT by the European Union. The implementation arrangements for this pledge are under discussion with the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission.

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