December rainfall has eased pasture and water supply somewhat in Jijiga zone and, to a lesser degree, parts of Shinile zone. These areas normally get 4-5 days rainfall (dalalo/hays rain) in December. This year the rains started as late as 24 December. Good rains fell in Dembel (Shinile zone), Awbere (Jijiga zone) and are reported to extend across the border to Somaliland where major Ethio-Somali livestock and human migration from Ayisha and Shinile districts of Shinile zone is now reported to be taking place. The migration is in response to the better pasture and water resources on the other side of the border due to better rain in this area (known as Guban), and is abnormal in the scope of the migration and in the fact that whole families are moving and are reported to be taking their assets with them. The government along with NGOs and UN agencies working in Shinile are organizing a rapid assessment of the situation to determine appropriate action to be taken. DPPC-led needs assessment teams were in southern parts of Somali Region in December and report that throughout the region, deyr rains started early or on time. However the rains ceased early in Fik, Gode, Degehabur and Korahe zones. Water resources in southern parts of Somali Region are sufficient at the moment. Insufficient rainfall in the highlands meant that Wabi Shebele river-levels were not conducive to recessional agriculture in southern Gode zone. The deyr rains improved pasture and browse resources for livestock, despite a prevailing shortage in parts of Shinile, Fik, Korahe (Shegosh woreda) and Jijiga (Harshin woreda). Livestock condition is fairly good in the deyr-receiving parts of the region. The majority of cattle and camels in these areas have conceived following favorable conditions created by the improved pasture and water resources. As earlier reported, extensive migration of cattle (less drought-resistant) took place from Shinile zone to Jijiga zone and northern Oromiya Region in December. More drought-resistant animals such as camels and goats have migrated to Somaliland (though at this time, the increased migration into Somaliland includes other animals as well). By and large, sheep remain in Shinile. Unlike 1999/2000, extensive livestock death has not occurred as pastoralists moved earlier this year. Following the needs assessment in the southern part of the Region, numbers in need of assistance remain at 1 million, the number used as a contingency planning figure in the early December DPPC/UN Appeal for 2003.
UNICEF support in Jijiga and Shinile zones
The situation in Gogti, Jijiga zone has improved as a result of health and water interventions by DPPB and Regional Health Bureau with support from UNICEF. Increasing numbers of acute diarrhea cases have been reported since November throughout Somali region, with a serious outbreak in Gogti. The Regional Health Bureau has sent one UNICEF drug kit (containing essential drugs for 10,000 people for 3 months), four health teams and one water tanker to the area in the first week of December while UNICEF has covered the operational costs. 1000 UNICEF donated jerrycans were also distributed to the affected people in Gogti. 10 ROTO tankers (of 10,000 litres) were donated by UNICEF to be used for Gogti and part of Shinile zone. A UNICEF team from Addis Ababa and Jijiga will be visiting Jijiga and Shinile zones next week to check on the impact of the recent rains in Gogti and parts of Shinile zone. While the rains have temporarily improved the water and pasture availability, as described above, and have halted the livestock out-migration in Shinile and Denbel woredas of Shinile zone, they have also led to an increase the number of diarrhea cases.
Joint Measles and Vitamin A supplementation campaign in Afar
The joint UNICEF, WHO, MoH and NGOs Polio (first round), Measles and Vitamin A supplementation campaign was conducted from 24 November - 19 December 2002 in Afar region. A total of 485,863 children between the age of 9 months to 15 years received measles vaccine and vitamin A supplementation. The campaign covered 83.34% of which some 122,266 (25%) children received measles vaccine for the first time. Polio coverage was 234,334 (90.5%) children between the age of 0 to 59 months. The second round of polio NID is scheduled for mid January 2003 for three weeks time. The target population are 259,000 children under five.
SOME 30,000 PEOPLE require Relief food in Benishangul
DPPC, UN-EUE and the Regional DPPB made a joint assessment mission to Benishangul Gumuz Region from 14-30 December 2002. Due to the delayed (up to 2 months), erratic and inadequate rains of the 2002 meher season parts of the region have faced inadequate food production and poor water supply, especially in lowland parts of the region. A total of 31,600 people will need relief food assistance for 6 months starting from March.