Ethiopia + 1 more

Focus on Ethiopia: May 2007

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HIGHLIGHTS IN THIS ISSUE:
  • REGIONAL OVERVIEW

  • NEWS - ACUTE WATERY DIARRHOEA UPDATE

  • UPCOMING & ONGOING MEETINGS
Focus on Ethiopia is produced by UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), in collaboration with other UN agencies and partner NGOs. Focus on Ethiopia provides a monthly overview of humanitarian trends and activities in Ethiopia, as well as focusing on particular issues of interest. Send comments, suggestions and contributions to ocha-eth@un.org

REGIONAL OVERVIEW

SOMALI

The food security situation in Somali Region requires close monitoring due to poor performance of gu rains and increased reports of Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD).

Security is also of great concern in the area. Incidences including the recent bombing in Jijiga and Degehabur zones, which killed 15 individuals and injured many including the regional president, illustrate the deterioration of the security situation in the region. Security has already posed a challenge for humanitarian response and access. In particular it has deterred efficient and timely AWD interventions.

Although the onset of gu rains was generally good in most parts of the region, they have been erratic, unevenly distributed and inefficient in parts of Fik, Korahe, Warder, Afder and Liben zones. A one month dry spell has been reported in most areas affecting the pasture and water availability both for human and livestock consumption. A water shortage problem in chronically water insecure areas of Geladi, Aysha, Filtu and Guuagado is likely to exacerbate in the coming months.

During the month, AWD has escalated in most areas. Response has been poor with the deteriorating security situation. Out of the 27 woredas affected 14 continue to report cases. WHO is facilitating the re-activation of the AWD regional co-ordination. Moreover, in Jijiga town, a team comprised of the Federal Minstry of Health (MoH), Regional Health Bureau (RHB), Jijiga hospital laboratory and WHO confirmed the presence of AWD in the Sisters of Charity camp which hosts approximately 500 Somali refugees. Absence of clean drinking water, poor sanitation, and a lack of community education programs have exacerbated the outbreak. A committee comprised of the RHB and partners has been set up to strategize the response in the camp.

Moreover, prevalence of malnutrition continues to be a concern in Dolobay and Dolo Odo woredas according to Save the Children US. The livestock physical condition is normal. An unknown camel disease has continued to kill a significant number of livestock in Filtu, Moyale and Hudet woredas, Liben zone. The Zonal Agricultural Bureau supported by LIVA and PCAE has treated several thousand animals.

The terms of trade has deteriorated for pastoralists during the month, largely because food prices have risen and livestock prices have declined.

The number of asylum seekers crossing the border from Somalia has increased. A total of 4,000 asylum seekers have been residing in Kebribeyha and Hartishek woredasand as many as 16,000 in southern parts of the region including Gode, Afder, and Liben zones. To date, UNHCR has registered 1,500 refugees in Jijiga zone. There is a plan to relocate the new Somali refugees from Kebribeyah and Hartisheik camps to a new site at Teferiber.

Meanwhile, UNHCR plans to strengthen its presence in the region with short term deployment of a ten person emergency team to Jijiga and Gode. The team that has been provided by UNHCR Headquarters will assist with the ongoing screening of newly arrived Somali asylum seekers. In Jijiga, the team will assist with the planned relocation of new Somali refugees from Kebribeyah and Hartisheik camps to the new site at Teferiber. A new UNHCR office will be established in Gode, with six members of the team helping set up the office. Those stationed at Gode will conduct assessments and survey border areas in order to determine the presence of Somali asylum seekers in border areas.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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