On 7 October, the Ministry of Health (MOH) and UNICEF started transporting vitally needed anti-malarial drugs to three regions in the country facing potentially devastating malaria epidemics. The malarial drugs, valued at more than $700,000 and procured with funds from the US government, are being sent to Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP), Amhara and Oromiya regions. Malaria affects four to five million people annually in Ethiopia and is prevalent in 75 percent of the country, putting over 40 million people at risk. In many areas of the country, large epidemics have been experienced in recent years due to climate conditions. Malaria accounts for seven percent of outpatient visits at hospitals and clinics and represents the largest single cause of morbidity.
FORMATION OF SEED SECURITY GROUP AND REVIVAL OF LIVESTOCK WORKING GROUP
FAO has initiated the establishment of a national Seed Security Consultative Group (SSCG), to deal with issues related to seed security, relief, recovery and sustainable development from a broad technical perspective. The SSCG will operate under the auspices of the Ministry of Agriculture and intends to have participation and membership from lead agencies dealing with seed issues. The first meeting of the SSCG was held on 25 September 2003 at FAO premises, where 22 experts and officials from 13 organizations attended the meeting. Participants collectively agreed on the need for better coordination and a consultation forum. As relief agencies mostly operate in isolation for seeds, their relief/recovery implementation approaches are varied and inconsistent. Participants agreed on the overall proposed goal and strategy of the SSCG: the setting up of standard approaches and common methodologies in carrying out seed need assessments and in following harmonized and viable implementation approaches. Similarly, FAO organized a three-day workshop 30 September - 2 October 2003 aiming at reviewing the livestock emergency interventions implemented in 2003 and discussing the need to restructure the Livestock Working Group (LWG). Although there is a general agreement this group should continue, discussions are ongoing on the most suitable format.
GOOD VEGATATIVE CONDITIONS IN EASTERN PASTORAL AREAS AND EASTERN HIGHLANDS
The impact of the generally good rains in Ethiopia this year will be better known when results of multi-agency mid-season assessment teams, currently finalizing their work in the field, are released (expected end next week). In September, satellite imagery showed that rain in central and eastern highland areas was below normal even though there was good rain earlier in the season. Field reports, however, indicate that rain in September in most highland and midland areas of East and West Hararghe (the eastern highlands) has been favorable for crop performance while lowland areas received insufficient rain. For Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), the vegetative index indicates that the vegetative cover is less than normal for September. Most of the pastoral areas of eastern Ethiopia have shown promising signs of recovery in recent months with good rains during the current rainy season. In Afar Region and neighboring Shinile zone in Somali Region the vegetative cover for September in general is normal for this time of year. However, pockets of vulnerability remain because of livestock losses and in Shinile Zone low milk production. Fik zone in Somali Region, which normally also benefits from some rain during this season, is showing less than normal vegetation cover. In parts of Jijiga zone, the crop situation is raising some concern. Southern parts of Somali Region do not receive rain at this time of year.
MAIN PRE-HARVEST ASSESSMENTS START END OCTOBER
The government-led multi-agency main pre-harvest assessment will begin on 25 October in cropping areas including parts of Somali Region. The assessment will cover Tigray (2 teams), Amhara (5), Dire Dawa, Harari, Jijiga and Shinile zones (1), Oromiya (7), SNNPR (3) and Gambella Region, Keffa, Sheka, and Bench Maji zones of SNNPR (1). Pastoral area assessments will start on 7 December in southern parts of Somali Region (3 teams), Borena Zone in Oromiya and South Omo in SNNPR (1). The DPPC has requested logistics assistance from donors, NGOs and UN agencies.
CRDA PROVIDES SUPPLEMENTARY FOOD TO NGOS FOR DISTRIBUTION
The Christian Relief and Development Association (CRDA) provided over 8750 quintals of Famix (highly nutritious supplementary food) amounting to US$ 491,860 to 11 local NGOs for distribution to the affected areas. The fund for procurement, including transportation and handling costs was donated by Terre des Hommes /Netherlands. The food will be used in supplementary feeding programs targeting close to 100,000 people in Oromiya, SNNP, and Amhara Regions. In addition, CRDA donated 288 quintals of Famix to the Ethiopia Orthodox Church (EOC/DICAC) for distribution in Maqdela Woreda in South Wollo zone of Amhara Region.
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