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Relief Bulletin: Weekly Humanitarian Highlights in Ethiopia 20 June 2005

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CRITICAL MALNUTRITION IN GAMBELLA REFUGEE CAMPS
Critical malnutrition levels have been found in the Bonga and Fugnido camps in Gambella Region where an estimated 50,000 Sudanese refugees are living. The nutritional survey by WFP, UNHCR and Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) reported a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) over 20 percent and Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) of 7 percent in one part of Fugnido camp. The highest malnutrition levels were found in the Anuak section of the camp that was newly established. A combination of factors have lead to this severe situation, including delayed delivery of food due to transport problems, insecurity both inside and outside the Fugnido camp, and a lack of basic health and safe water services. In Bonga camp, food deliveries have also been delayed and crops have not been planted due to restrictions in movement outside the camp. WFP reports it is urgently transporting blended food to the camps in order to start blanket supplementary feeding for all children under five, and to continue the supplementary feeding programme of pregnant and nursing women. It is also pre-positioning food stocks for three months ahead of the upcoming long rainy season. UNHCR is providing water through tankering until basic services are fully implemented in the Anuak section of Fugnido camp. WFP says confirmed contributions for blended food can only cover needs for the next two months and new contributions are needed to avert a further deterioration of the nutritional status in these refugee communities. For more information contact: wfp.addisababa@wfp.org

CARE UPDATE IN EAST HARARGHE

CARE reports that the food security situation is critical in Grawa and Bedeno woredas of East Hararghe due to damage to belg crops from hailstorms and floods, inadequate provision of food through late safety net and emergency programmes and prevailing high grain prices. Nutritional survey results indicate the situation as critical (GAM 17.1%) in Grawa, serious (GAM 11.3%) in Bedeno and poor (GAM 7.6%) in Kurfachele woredas. Furthermore, both emergency and safety net distributions are reported to be below the actual need. CARE recommends blanket and supplementary food distributions before the situation deteriorates further. The full report is available on: www.ocha-eth.org/reports/downloadable/carefood&livelihoodupdatemay

USAID VISITS GORO WOREDA, BALE ZONE, OROMIYA REGION

USAID recently visited Goro woreda (district) of Bale zone in Oromiya Region. The woreda has traditionally been food surplus and was not included in the original 2005 Emergency Appeal. While some lowland kebeles (communities) in the woreda are covered by the Productive Safety Net Programme, the programme does not cover all kebeles. According to the USAID report, local officials report that there have been deaths from starvation and disease in a localised area of Goro woreda. Since conditions started to deteriorate in April, 45 deaths were reported in a single kebele, Weltye Nega. According to other reports from the area, an additional 127 people have been hospitalised in Goba town. Many of the deaths in the affected kebeles are reported to have been among young children. Many people have been left bedridden and unable to work because of painful joints and swollen legs. The problem appears to be confined to seven midland and highland kebeles. A combination of factors have led to this deteriorating situation, including two years of poor rainfall and loss of livestock. In February, farmers in Weltye Nega kebele received seven tonnes of seeds from FAO but flooding in May washed away recently planted fields, leaving farmers with no seeds. The situation of severe malnutrition is relatively recent, as a nutritional survey conducted in all 39 kebeles of the woreda in March did not reveal any great problem. Food aid, including blended food, has been sent by zonal food security officials and distributions have begun in the four worst affected kebeles. Because of recent heavy rains, numerous woredas were not accessible by road, and food had to be transported by donkey to some kebeles. DPPC is dispatching 180 tonnes of grain, six tonnes of vegetable oil, 18 tonnes of pulses and 19 tonnes supplementary food, based on their very recent assessment which concluded that 12,000 people should receive emergency food assistance in Goro woreda. Currently, the zone has no supplementary or therapeutic food in the health centres for treatment of moderate and severe malnutrition cases. Meanwhile it has been recommended that steps be taken for restocking for the farmers who lost their seed and livestock before the meher planting season begins. For more information contact: hevans@usaid.gov

MSF-CH CONDUCTS NUTRITIONAL SURVEY IN DAMOT GALE, SNNPR

A MSF- Switzerland nutritional survey in Damot Gale woreda of Wolayita zone reports 6.7 percent GAM and 0.7 percent SAM. Malnutrition levels are lower than previous surveys and the mortality rate is within normal limits. However, due to the large population density, a large number of severely malnourished children require urgent medical and nutritional care. The limited food distribution and confirmation of the late and potentially poor harvest indicates the situation is likely to deteriorate in the next two months. The survey highlights that even in a reasonably normal situation, there are a large number of severely malnourished children that need urgent assistance, and therefore long term initiatives such as the integration of treatment into the health facilities and community could be the way forward. MSF recommends immediate and full implementation of the Enhanced Outreach Strategy and PSNP. For more information contact: msfch@ethionet.et

DAY OF THE AFRICAN CHILD (DAC) CELEBRATED

As part of Day of the African Child (DAC) celebrations, UNICEF has launched a new competition entitled "We have a dream" for all children in the country. These dreams can inform the debates of the new Ethiopian Parliament, and development of poverty eradication plans, the African Development Forum V on youth and leadership later this year and UNICEF's new global campaign on Children and AIDS. For more information contact: igetachew@unicef.org

BELG AND PASTORAL AREA ASSESSMENT TEAMS TO DEPART TO THE REGIONS

The DPPC led multi-agency belg and pastoral area needs assessment team will depart to the regions on 25 June for two weeks. The team will debrief humanitarian partners upon return.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.