High Level Officials visit Ethiopia
The Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Mr. James Morris, is arriving in Addis Ababa on 17 January for a five-day visit to Ethiopia. During his visit, Mr. Morris will review the current response to the humanitarian crisis which threatens the lives of over 11 million people in Ethiopia due to the severe drought in many regions of the country. He will meet with government officials and donors and relief agencies representatives, and will visit drought-stricken communities. Mr. Morris will continue on to see WFP operations in Southern Africa on 21 January. Among other high-level visitors currently in Ethiopia are the Administrator for USAID, Mr. Andrew Natsios; the United Kingdom Secretary of State for International Development, Ms. Clare Short; the Irish Minister of State with Special Responsibility for Overseas Development Assistance and Human Rights, Tom Kitt; and high level officials from Canada, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Netherlands and various other countries. These officials are among those coming for the Economic Commission for Africa's "Big Table on Africa". Field visits to drought-affected areas and development project sites are being arranged for several of the visitors.
Livestock feed situation still Critical in Afar, Shinile and parts of Oromia
FAO livestock expert visited Zone 3 and Zone 1 of Afar region, Miesso woreda of Shinile zone of Somali region and Miesso woreda of Oromia region. The objective of the mission was to observe the impact of the recent rain on livestock feed and the disease situation. Accordingly, it has been observed that the rain covered almost all visited areas but with variable intensity and duration. For example in Dupti (Zone 1, Afar region) there was only one day of rainfall in December in which 54mm was recorded while in Miesso (Oromia region) 43.7mm was recorded over a four day period. The rain has improved the grazing condition in parts of Zone 3 (Gewane and Buremudaitu woredas) but regeneration of grass was not seen. The rain in Awash Fentale and Amibara woredas of Zone 3 Afar region, Miesso woreda of Somali region and Miesso woreda of Oromia region brought no change in the availability of feed, both browse and grass species. The Halaydege plain in Amibara is still bare and all ponds in both Miesso woreda are dry. Physical condition of livestock is deteriorating rapidly particularly in both Miesso area. Therefore, appropriate measure is recommended to prevent the catastrophic livestock loss which was observed in June and July 2002.
The food aid needs for Ethiopia for the first six months of 2003 are 960,000 tonnes (January 119,000 tonnes for 7.3 million people, February 133,000 tonnes for 8.1 million people, March 162,000 tonnes for 9.9 million people, and between April to June around 180,000 tonnes each month for 11 million people). Confirmed and unconfirmed contributions currently total over 750,000 tonnes to government, WFP and NGOs (total does not yet include Canadian donation, for which no tonnage figures are yet available). If the contributions can be confirmed and mobilised quickly, the cereal requirements would be largely covered until June. However, the situation for supplementary food for especially vulnerable groups is less encouraging, with only around half of the requirements for fortified blended food met for January-March. WFP intends to cover about 40 percent of the national level relief food requirements in 2003, through the ongoing WFP emergency operation to the end of March, and through an expansion of the operation scheduled to start in April.
CANADIAN DONATION FOR THE ETHIOPIA DROUGHT OPERATIONS
The Canadian International Cooperation Minister Susan Whelan announced on 16 January, ahead of her visit to Ethiopia, that Canada will spend Can$40 million (US$26 million) for the relief effort. The money will be channelled through the Canadian International Development Agency to pay for food, transport, seeds, tools, livestock, animal feed, health-care, and water schemes, among other things. Among initiatives being supported is Can$22 million (US$14.3 million) for food and nutritional support with partners such as the World Food Programme, the Canadian Foodgrains Bank, and non-governmental organizations.
70 Emergency Health Kits arrived
70 Emergency Health Kits (EHKs) out of the 164 kits to be procured from abroad by WHO, funded by the Netherlands Government, are currently arriving in Ethiopia. Nineteen kits have already arrived while the remaining 51 will be here before the end of this week. The 70 kits will serve a population of 700,000 for a three months period.