The Executive Director of WFP, Mr. James T. Morris, paid a five-day visit to Ethiopia to view the impact of and responses to the current humanitarian crisis on 17-21 January. He met with government officials, including Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, as well as representatives of donor countries and relief agencies. While welcoming the many new contributions that have been announced recently, Mr. Morris called for continued support. While cereal loans can be taken from the Emergency Food Security Reserve, repayments to the reserve must be made without delay in order to avoid breaks in distribution. Rapid action is also necessary in order for food to arrive and be delivered ahead of the June rains when roads to many remote areas will be cut off from assistance. Mr. Morris also visited drought-stricken communities in Arsi zone. He visited projects in the area to see impressive efforts by villagers to conserve water, to reforest, and to rehabilitate valuable land which has eroded into gullies. WFP impact studies of these projects, which received food-for-work incentives, indicate that those people involved are far more resilient to shocks such as the current drought and thus require less food aid support.
ICRC, ERCS JOINTLY LAUNCH THIRD ROUND RELIEF OPERATION
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) have jointly launched the third round of relief food distribution in drought-hit areas of the county. According to an ERCS press release on 17 January, the relief food distribution is meant to reach 112, 000 needy people in Afar and Somali regions. So far, some 2,500 mt of wheat, 820 mt of nutritious food and 400,000 liters of edible oil had already been distributed to drought-hit areas during the first two rounds of relief operations that began in October last year.
CARE DISTRIBUTES FOOD IN EAST AND WEST HARARGHE
On 20 January a USAID delegation visited West Hararghe and attended a food distribution at one of CARE's distribution centers. Distribution of November EU food allocations (over 4,850 mts) was completed in all of CARE's East and West Hararghe distribution sites. Currently the Joint Emergency Operation Plan's (JEOP) December food dispatch and distribution is underway. To date 92% of the total JEOP food allocation for East and West Hararghe has been dispatched and received. On 15 January, distribution of this allocation began in five woredas of the two zones. Distribution in the remaining sites will begin in the coming week. Submission of Peasant Association (PS) beneficiary lists is continuing in two new woredas, Miesso and Chiro, in West Hararghe. So far 26 of the 73 PAs in these woredas have submitted lists. Preparation of the beneficiary lists for the woredas previously involved in the food distribution is completed and ready for distribution. New distribution centers are being established in East Hararghe to reduce the distance beneficiaries are required to travel to receive their allocation. One new distribution center has been established and two more are under investigation.
MIGRATORY MOVEMENTS IN SHINILE
A multi-agency rapid assessment mission was sent to Shinile from 12-17 January in response to the multitude of reports indicating important migratory movements of both human and livestock population in search of pasture and water. Many animals allegedly died along the various migration routes towards Djibouti, Somaliland and over East Hararghe towards pasture and water points in the lowlands south of East Hararghe. The mission noted that people are generally weak and all woredas in Shinille Zone still face serious consequences of the drought despite important relief interventions, particularly relief food distributions and water tankering. It is important to maintain and even improve present relief intervention efforts to prevent the still fragile and volatile humanitarian situation from deterioration.
MEASLES AND DIARRHEA OUTBREAKS IN SOMALI REGION
According to reports from the Regional Health Bureau, there are outbreaks of measles in Degahbour and Warder zones of Somali region. So far over 500 cases are reported from Boh and Geladin woredas of Warder zone and 212 cases in Gashamo and Degahmedow districts of Degahbour zone. An outbreak of diarrhea is also reported in all the woredas of Shinile zone, particularly in areas of livestock concentration due to the recent Heys rains. Areas affected by the outbreak in the zone include Samakab of Denbel woreda, Harawo of Shinile woreda, Biyo Gurgur of Aysha woreda and Afdem town and its surroundings.