Ethiopia

Rapid assessment of the nutritional situation of under five children and of the water situation - Korahai Zone, Somali National Regional State


10 - 16 April 2000
INTRODUCTION

Action contre la Faim (ACF), based in Kebri-Dehar, Korahai Zone and implementing activities in its four districts (Kebri-Dehar, Sheikosh, Dobowein, Shilabo) has been the only only International NGO present in this part of the Somali Region.

ACF is currently increasing its relief activities particularly focusing on emergency water supply and nutrition. To date (21.04), there has been no rain in any part of the zone, and usual preliminary signs of rains are not to be seen. Korahai Zone is populated at 80% by pastoralist Somalis who largely rely on camel herding. The capacity to resist to droughts is therefore higher there than in part of Gode Zone where more people are relying on cows. This capacity is however reaching some limits, essentially due to the critical lack of water now affecting all parts of the Zone. Malnutrition also starts reaching unusual high levels.

1. NUTRITIONAL SITUATION

The nutritional assessment was conducted in three of the four districts mentioned above : Dobowein, Kebri-Dehar and Shilabo. Sheikosh was not visited due to concerns related to local unstability. In each district the under-mentioned villages were assessed :

District Village
Population average
Doboweyn
Doboweyn
2 000
Har Caano
2 600
Kebri Dehar

Dallad
4 600
Geladid
2 500
Kebri Dahar
24 400
Shilabo




Baliwiriir
500
Dawacaale
3 000
Jaleelo
4 333
Laasoole
4 333
Sangalooh
500
Shilabo
11 333

Nutritional screening

The screening methodology was chosen according to the size of the village.

Shilabo and Dobowein : Random screening every 5 households. All children of the household surveyed were measured on the MUAC basis.

- Kebri-Dehar town: Random screening in the three kebeles (1, 2 and 3). The team went to the town center and chose randomly a direction.

Following this direction, the first house to be visited was also chosen on a random basis, and each house was visited thereafter following the same line.

In each of the visited household, all under five children were checked (MUAC and oedema). A sample of 30 households was taken in each Kebele.

- Villages :

All houses were visited. All under five children were screened (Muac, Oedema).

Shilabo District

MUAC
Dawacaale
Laasoole
Sangalooh
Shilabo
Jaleelo
Baliwiirir
TOTAL
<110mm
1
1
2 (0,8%)
110/=119mm
7
2
1
10 (4,3%)
120/=130mm
23
2
9
4
4
42 (18,3%)
131/=135mm
8
2
4
11
6
7
38
>135mm
31
6
10
49
16
25
137
TOTAL
70
10
14
71
26
38
229

Kebri Dehar District:

Kebri Dehar town

MUAC
KEBELE1
KEBELE2
KEBELE3
TOTAL
< 110mm
0 (0%)
110/=119mm
1
1
1
3 (2,4%)
120/= 130mm
5
13
18 (14,3%)
131/=135mm
4
6
5
15
>135mm
25
35
30
90
TOTAL
35
42
49
126

Nomadic camps around Kebri-Dehar :

MUAC
Mabal Wayeel(2km de KD)
Camp- kebele3
TOTAL
< 110mm
2
1
3 (4.7%)
OEdème
1
1 (1.6%)
110/=119mm
3
3
6 (9.5%)
120/= 130mm
14
4
18 (28.6%)
131/=135mm
10
2
12
>135mm
15
8
23
TOTAL
45
18
63

Villages in Kebri Dehar District:

MUAC
Geladid
Dalat
TOTAL
< 110mm
11
11
22 (7.4%)
OEdème
0 (0.0%)
110/=119mm
30
36
66 (22.3%)
120/= 130mm
54
66
120 (40.6%)
131/=135mm
22
20
42
>135mm
22
23
45
TOTAL
139
156
295

Dobowein District

MUAC
Doboweyn
Har Caano
TOTAL
<110mm
3
2
5 (4,5%)
110/=119mm
7
19
26 (23,4%)
120/=130mm
15
34
49 (44,1%)
131/=135mm
5
6
11
>135mm
10
10
20
TOTAL
40
71
111

First conclusions and recommendations

All villages visited have been selected through ACF water teams as vulnerable zones on water availabilty and nutrition status grounds. Among the three districts, Kebri Dehar appears currently the most vulnerable, especially the villages with deep water points attracting the nomadic population. In the other districts, the situation remains worrying but some food is still available (wheat, milk). The nomadic people appear to be moving towards these villages in search of water or support from relatives living there. They appear to have lost all their small animals and cattle. However most of them still have a good proportion of their camel herds, which constitute their most valuable asset, but the situation may further deteriorates should the drought continue in the coming weeks. Access to medical services is non existant or at best not sufficient. A large majority of children have been showing symptoms of infectious diseases such as fever, coughing, diarrhea. Meals are currently exclusively composed of wheat (from the DPPB distribution) and camel milk, all in not sufficient quantities.

Action contre la Faim intervention

A team of 5 expatriates is currently involved in the implementation of the nutritional project in the Korahai zone. The operation has been divided in two major components :

  • Opening of a referral therapeutic feeding center in Kebri Dehar town, located nearby the existing hospital ; this structure able to welcome up to 300 severely malnourished children or adults will be opening within the next three days ; the rehabilitation has been completed and recruitment / training of technical staff is under process. All the items required for the opening of the center have been shipped from France through Addis 10 days ago and are available in Kebri Dehar. Additional medicine necessary is expected shortly.
  • 4 dry ration distribution points have been selected for the beginning in the most vulnerable zones identified in the three targeted districts : Geladid, Dalat, Dawahale and Jilahle. First distributions are scheduled to start by the 26th April , targeting up to 5000 moderately malnourished children. These distributions will include a ration of BP5 (proteined biscuits), Unimix, Oil and sugar. In addition a medical component will be integrated as the children will be systematically screened in order to detect associated pathologies. Medicine will be provided if necessary and severe cases will be referred either to the hospital or the ACF therapeutic center in Kebri Dehar.

2. WATER SITUATION

General background

The April rainy season expected is late and may even fail. If it happens, water provided will be insufficient to refill both deep and shallow aquifers, respectively supplying boreholes and wells.

Water availability

Following several assessments carried on all along the past quarter in areas where Action contre la Faim is currently working (Kebri-Dehar and Shilabo districts), the organisation has been able to witness that the overall situation has worsened regarding water availability in Korahai zone.

Most of the wells are nearly dry and birkads have been empty for a long time now.

The wells currently providing water are located in river beds or in areas which have benefitted from the few rains of last October (Shilabo Northern and north-eastern areas). Nomads are obliged to go inside the wells to collect the remaining water using small containers. The increase of diarrhoeas affecting people shows that water quality is worsening: pollutant concentration increases as water quantity drops, and contamination increases by overuse of those water points by both animal and human populations.

Pumping-stations are being over used due to the lack of water in rural areas. For most of them, generators and pumps are being used 24 hours a day, which can contribute to a premature depletion of all the equipments. All of them are facing problems and breakdowns are common. Moreover, fuel availability to run those pumping-stations keeps on decreasing as herders (supposed to pay for water) incomes keeps falling. Water committees are neither able to deliver the fuel necessary nor to get spare parts. Currently Dawacale and Geladid are the only rural pumping-stations able to provide water, leading to a growing concentration of both animal and human populations.

According to Action Contre la Faim's observations, three main areas most affected by the drought have been identified:

- North-eastern area of Shilabo district (birkad zone);
- North-eastern area of Kebri-Dehar district (birkad zone);
- Doboweyn town and surroundings.

Action contre la Faim intervention

  • Pumping-station support

Since the resuming of its activities in Korahai Zone, Action contre la Faim has been supporting pumping-stations by providing spare parts, generators, fuel and maintenance, and repairing pumps:

* Dawacale (approximately 2.000 persons, 2.500 camels and 4.000 shoats a day):

- Providing maintenance and spare parts;
- 1 generator lent after breakdown of pumping-station generator;
- 1 mechanic staff is constantly on site for general maintenance and repairs since early march;
- Fuel supply (2.800 litres for the past 2 months);

* Jidhale (approximately 3.000 persons)

- Providing a pump and fuel (200 litres);

* Kebri-Dehar (approximately 20,000 beneficiaries)

- Repairing breakdowns of pump (sweet water) and generators (sweet and RRC water boreholes);
- Fuel supply (400 litres in April);
- Spare parts supply;
- Repairing of main lines of town network;

  • Water-trucking activities

Since early March 2000, Action contre la Faim has been running water trucking for birkad zone located North-east of Shilabo. Tuule Isse, Baliwiriir, Jaleelo, Goodle, Qarsoni are the main villages supplied (5.000 litres every 4 days).

Nowadays, Action Contre la Faim is implementing water trucking to provide water to main villages of above mentioned stressed areas, using 6 water tanker trucks and supporting DPPC to run 2 trucks.

Regarding the logistics and security constraints, the size of the area and the total targeted population to be covered, an initial objective of a minimum of 2 liters/person/day has been decided as a complement (4 trucks in Kebri-Dehar district, 1 in Shilabo district, 1 in Dobowein district).

Total estimated beneficiaries are about 40.000.

  • Pumping-station fuel support

Due to the current problem faced by water committees of pumping-stations in order to get fuel, Action contre la Faim will provide support to 4 committees by providing 40 litres of fuel a day each of them.

Total estimated beneficiaries are about 30.000.

  • Water point rehabilitation

Action contre la Faim will continue to run its current middle term activities aiming at rehabilitating wells, birkads and pumping-stations throughout Korohai zone.