Ethiopia

Relief Bulletin: Weekly Humanitarian Highlights in Ethiopia 11 July 2005

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ADVANCED TRANSFERS FOR SAFETY NET WOREDAS

The Federal Food Security Coordination Bureau has directed the woredas to make a lump sum immediate payment to safety net beneficiaries, equivalent to at least three months entitlement regardless of whether work for this period has been undertaken or not. This emergency measure is in response to the delays in the transfers of cash to beneficiaries mostly due to the limited experience and capacity of local authorities with cash handling in relief-cum-recovery activities. This, coupled with the need for technical verification of completed work, has caused considerable delays in effecting transfers. In order to facilitate more timely payment, technical verification has now been separated from the process of making payments to beneficiaries. In areas where the food mode of transfer has been in use, supply delays have also been experienced, although not as pronounced as in cash areas. Many districts have now opted to receive food rather than cash due to a lack of cereal supply or an increase in prices in some woredas, as well as a lack of comparative advantage of the programme's six birr daily rate compared with the private sector which is paying eight birr. Consequently food beneficiaries have increased from about 30 percent to close to 50 percent. As a result WFP is now to provide the required food resources to an additional 24 districts through DPPC, thereby raising the number of districts under its assistance to 90. In addition, the number of beneficiaries has also been revised to 4.8 million to include a 20 percent contingency for Amhara Region. If the contingency is fully applied in all regions, as expected, it will raise the beneficiary numbers to 5.4 million. Meanwhile, WFP and the DPPC are providing blanket supplementary food to 35 percent of the population considered most vulnerable (children under five, pregnant and nursing women and the elderly) in areas of high malnutrition in 23 districts in Oromiya and 13 safety net districts in SNNPR.

CRITICAL MALNUTRITION IN DALE WOREDA, SNNPR

GOAL in collaboration with the woreda health, agriculture and DPPB bureau conducted a nutritional survey in Dale woreda of Sidama zone, SNNPR. The survey indicates critical malnutrition of 15.9 percent GAM and 1.7 percent SAM with aggravating factors. The woreda is drought prone and was very badly affected by the 2003 drought. More than half of the population depends on Enset production, while the remaining is reliant on maize. According to the survey, pasture and water availability was reported to be below average. As a result the survey recommends a review of the beneficiary numbers for the general ration distribution in the woreda until there is an improvement in the current situation. There is also a need to strengthen the existing Enhanced Outreach Strategy program and promote appropriate water sanitation and personal hygiene in the woreda as a short term plan. For the longer term, there is need to promote income generating schemes and strengthen and expand existing health services and facilities in the woreda. It is expected that the beneficiary number will increase with the belg assessment. Meanwhile Action Contre la Faim (ACF) is providing treatment to the severely malnourished by supporting the existing health structures. Contact: goal.ethio@ethionet.et

CRITICAL FOOD INSECURITY AND MALNUTRITION IN GILO WOREDA, GAMBELLA

MSF-Switzerland reports that there is critical food insecurity and malnutrition in Gilo woreda, Gambella Region, in addition to the previously reported malnutrition in the refugee camps. According to the report there is a large displacement of people due to hunger who are moving to the areas surrounding the town of Fugnido, and also to Sudan. The remaining populations have no food stocks, and are also likely to be displaced soon if no assistance is given. MSF-CH says even though a normal nutrition survey was not conducted, W/H screening results indicate a critical situation, with a rate of 4.8 percent Sever Acute Malnutrition amongst 249 children. These children have been referred to the Therapeutic Feeding Center (TFC) in Fugnido. MSF-CH reports there has been only one of the six planned monthly distributions and the allocation does not extend past June. The population in this woreda was previously displaced from the conflict of 2004 and many farmers missed the 2004 planting season. There is an urgent need for an assessment to determine additional needs and in the meantime food rations should be continued. Contact: msfch-addis@geneva.msf.org

UNICEF APPEALS TO DONORS TO FILL $US 42 MILLION FUNDING GAP

UNICEF has issued an urgent update to the Appeal to major donors, asking them to fill a US$ 42 million gap in funding. Earlier this year UNICEF Ethiopia appealed for just short of US$ 54.7 million to support Ethiopia's most vulnerable children during 2005 - US$ 15 million for water and sanitation work, US$ 39.7 million for health and nutrition. More than half way through the year, the 2005 Emergency campaign is still 76.6 percent short. "On average, 500,000 Ethiopian children die every year from preventable diseases and malnourishment. This year could be worse," said Bjorn Ljungqvist, UNICEF representative in Ethiopia. "There is a growing idea that these are 'normal' levels of child deaths and malnutrition for Ethiopia - that this is the 'usual' situation. But there is nothing 'normal' about 500,000 children dying every year". For further information contact: igetachew@unicef.org

MULTI-AGENCY BELG ASSESSMENT TEAMS DEBRIEF PARTNERS

DPPC led multi-agency belg and pastoral area needs assessment teams debriefed humanitarian partners on 8 July. According to their findings even though the onset of the belg rain was late (from two - four weeks), its performance was good in most areas. Pasture and water availability was sufficient in many areas which improved livestock condition. Their findings also indicate that there are no major human disease outbreaks except seasonal cases of malaria and diarrhoea in some parts of the country. However, the situation in Safety Net areas of all assessed woredas is concerning mainly due to targeting problem, delays in transfers and capacity problems. The teams also reported an increase in the price of crops and livestock in most of the assessed woredas compared to both the same period last year and the last three months. The regional reports will be submitted to DPPC on 12 July for finalisation in consultation with Food Security Coordination Bureau.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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