UNCT Appeal: Relief Action Plan and Appeal 2000 For Victims of Natural Disasters in Ethiopia

Originally published


Addis Ababa
28 January 2000

The UN Resident Coordinator is pleased to present this consolidated Relief Action Plan and Appeal for the year 2000. This document has been prepared by the UN Country Team in response to the urgent relief needs that have emerged in Ethiopia over the past year as well as to provide a mechanism for donors to provide further support to ongoing emergency operations for displaced people, refugees and repatriation operations. The requirements have been identified through careful assessments that have been conducted in collaboration with Government and NGO partners in the field, including participation in the annual crop production and food needs assessments that took place in November and December 1999 under the overall leadership of the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission. The activities presented here have been formulated taking into full account the global humanitarian needs and priorities as presented in the Government of Ethiopia's relief appeal issued on 21 January 2000 as well as reflected the technical expertise and experience of the specialized UN agencies. The appeal presented herein is therefore considered as both complementary and supportive of the Government's own appeal.

The UNCT Relief Action Plan and Appeal has been divided into three main documents presenting the planned activities and resource requirements of the UN agencies in the areas of: Assistance to Victims of Natural Disasters; Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons in Tigray and Afar Regions and Assistance to Refugee and Repatriation Operations.

The Relief Action Plan for Victims of Natural Disasters outlines immediate activities to be undertaken by the UN Country Team to alleviate the effects of the current crisis in parts of the country affected by poor or erratic rainfall. The appeal highlights the critical situation that is developing in a number of areas where agricultural production has been lower than expected for the past three years and where farmers have sold their assets (oxen for example) in order to meet their most basic needs. In pastoral areas the short rains in the south and south-east of the country failed to replenish water supplies or grazing leading to the weakening of herds and high levels of mortality especially among cattle. In its relief appeal for 2000, the DPPC says assistance is needed for an estimated 7.7 million victims of natural disaster.

In responding to the appeal for natural disaster assistance issued by the Government of Ethiopia, the UN Country Team programme presents a number of priority interventions including: the provision of approximately 250,000 MT of food aid, sufficient to assist 2.3 million beneficiaries; assistance in the provision of essential medical supplies for strengthening health services and disease control mechanisms in drought-affected areas; support for water supplies and sanitation, including the emergency tankering of water where required; help for children whose parents might not otherwise be able to afford to send their children to school; and, the purchase of seeds, irrigation pumps and beehives for some 100,000 farmers in the worst affected areas of Tigray, Amhara and Oromiya. Donor support is also being sought for the expansion of current field monitoring, reporting and data management activities. The total resources being sought for these intervention amount to US $ 107,311,100.

The conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea has continued despite efforts at reaching a negotiated political settlement. The Ethiopian Government estimates that 349,837 people remain displaced from the conflict area in the northern regions of Tigray and Afar. While most have been integrated into local communities, a number of camps have been established in locations where local capacities to host the displaced are limited. The situation faced by these people has become increasingly precarious the longer they are unable to return home and urgent additional relief assistance is needed.

The UN Country Team Relief Action Plan for the displaced is intended to supplement the ongoing efforts of the Ethiopian Government to provide assistance to the displaced population. Planned activities are based on assessments carried out by UN agencies during December 1999 as well as discussions with officials in both regions. This Appeal represents individual agencies’ willingness to support various sectors of the Government’s appeal, based on their respective areas of specialization, considerations of the amount and kind of assistance likely to be made available through UN headquarters, individual UN agency budgets, and supplementary pledges from donors.

The interventions outlined in the Relief Action Plan for the displaced build on the experience gained in providing assistance in Tigray and Afar since the outbreak of hostilities in May 1998. Thus the interventions planned for 2000 include: the provision of basic food assistance to 272,000 displaced in order to save lives, ensure a minimal nutritional level and minimize the burden on host communities; ensure a minimum level of basic health care through support for the expansion of primary health care services in areas hosting displaced populations, with an emphasis on EPI, malaria control and nutrition and education; an expansion of current efforts to construct improved water supplies for IDPs and host communities; provide assistance to ensure the continuity of education among displaced school children and students by reducing the direct costs of education, strengthening the capacity of the education departments and enhancing the knowledge of teachers; providing additional essential shelter materials; and ensuring that women and children with special protection needs are provided with the specialist assistance they require. Reflecting the importance afforded to humanitarian mine action, the appeal also includes a component for landmines awareness education among targeted vulnerable populations in Tigray and Afar.

Additional funds requested total US$ 23,850,000 for food assistance in either cash or kind and US$ 3,672,800 in pledges for non-food assistance to meet the most critical and urgent needs. The proposed activities and programs outlined here will be further developed and refined in conjunction with the DPPC and/or appropriate line ministries, local administrations and, where appropriate, NGOs

The Assistance to Refugee and Repatriation Operations component of the UN Country Team appeal summarizes the Ethiopia section of the UNHCR Global Appeal for 2000 issued to donors in December 1999. It covers the priority assistance requirements for the almost 250,000 refugees in Ethiopia as well as the complementary WFP appeal for refugee/returnee food assistance. UNHCR is appealing for US$ 22,598,062 to cover protection, general care and maintenance, including education, health and nutrition, shelter, water supply etc., and operational support to its cooperating partners. The WFP portion of the appeal covers food and logistic costs for both the care and maintenance program as well as the food component of the repatriation packages given to Somali refugee returning home. The total food requirement is 61,833 metric tons valued at US$ 33,291,003.

The table overleaf summarizes the emergency funding requested in this appeal by major component and agency.

Summary of UNCT Appeal Requirements for 2000

The following table summarizes the agency-specific requirements (in US dollars) presented under the UN Country Team Relief Action Plan and Appeal for 2000:

Sector of Assistance
Victims of Natural Disasters
Internally Displaced Persons
Refugee and Repatriation Operations
*Note the amount for UNHCR reflects the Ethiopia component of the UNHCR Global Appeal for Refugees released in Geneva to donors in December 1999.


Following the near total failure of the 1999 belg harvest (short-season, which typically accounts for approximately 5 percent of the total food production for the year), there were hopes that a good meher season would help farmers to recoup their losses and help to increase the overall food availability throughout the country. However, the kiremt rains started one to two months late in most places, and many areas that rely on early rains during April and May for preparation of the soil and planting of short-cycle crops did not receive their first rains until July. Once they began, rains were erratic throughout the growing season, causing drought in some places and waterlogging in others. The WFP/DPPC and WFP/FAO Crop Production and Food Assessment teams that visited every zone of the country during November – December reported significant reductions in production levels from previous year and expected yield levels.

In the pastoral areas of southern and south-eastern Ethiopia, the short season rains, which normally fall during the period October - December and are vitally important for the replenishment of water resources and recovery of grazing, largely failed leading to a high mortality rate among livestock herds (especially cattle) and clear signs of increasing rates of malnutrition among women and children. With main season rains in these lowland areas not expected until April/May, pastoral communities in the Somali region, Borena and parts of South Omo are expected to face increasing hardship and distress as the current dry season progresses.

This Relief Action Plan and Appeal for Assistance issued by the UN Country Team in Ethiopia outlines immediate activities to be undertaken to relieve the effects of the current food crisis in the most affected parts of the country. It outlines activities proposed by individual UN agencies to be undertaken as part of a consolidated effort by the UN system in Ethiopia to assist the Government in its relief efforts, and to take steps to avert the major humanitarian emergency that will surely develop if steps are not taken now.

A number of arrangements are available to the donor community to facilitate their contributions:

  • Additional food aid pledges are urgently needed and donors can pledge food directly to the DPPC, WFP or to NGOs in support of its new proposed Emergency Operation.
  • As outlined in this document, several UN agencies have developed specific action plans for providing assistance to needy communities and urgently need additional funding if the highest priority programmes are to be implemented immediately.
  • The UN Country Team, through UNDP, can receive funds in support of the joint activities outlined in this Action Plan and then re-allocate these resources to individual specialized UN agencies to meet the most urgent needs.
  • The federal DPPC and a number of NGOs working with drought affected populations will need additional support and can receive funds directly.

In its annual statement of emergency requirements and appeal for assistance, launched on 21 January 2000, the Government of Ethiopia estimated that 836,800 MT of assistance is needed to deliver to 7.7 million victims of natural disasters over the course of the year 2000. The Government’s Appeal also includes assistance in the areas of water and sanitation, health care, and logistics as well as for various capacity building initiatives aimed at improving coordination and delivery of assistance.

The need for assistance to farmers and pastoralists affected by natural disaster is made more crucial by the fact that agricultural production has been lower than expected for the past three years, and that many farmers have expended their assets to meet their most basic food needs, and by the fact that repeated failures of rain in the pastoral areas have weakened herds. The Government places high priority on providing assistance to the needy, as was evidenced in 1999 by its pledge of 20,000 MT of grain for farmers suffering from crop failure (as well as the National Fundraising Committee’s pledge of 5,000 MT for the internally displaced). The Government’s Appeal figures, which were derived through extensive assessments undertaken jointly with UN agencies, NGOs and donors and discussions at all levels of local government, are, in the view of the UN Country Team, appropriate and justifiable.

The UN Country Team programme of assistance to victims of natural disasters includes the following priorities interventions requiring donor support:

  • Food: Resourcing for approximately 250,000 MT of food aid will be sought by WFP, sufficient to assist 2.3 million beneficiaries (amounting to 30 percent of those identified in need) in ten regions, for varying duration between April and December 2000. An additional 36908 MT of cereals has already been approved under a WFP emergency operation budget revision to meet the food needs of 820,200 people between January and March 2000, an operation that is currently half resourced and in need of further donor contributions.
  • Storage: Funding for the provision of twelve moveable storage units of approximately 500 MT capacity has been requested by WFP; donor resources for constructing storage sheds under employment generation schemes (EGS) has also been included in the appeal.
  • Health: Support for the procurement of antibiotics, oral rehaydration salts and medical supplies for treatment of diarrhoeal diseases will be sought; the provision of malaria control supplies is a priority in areas where poor nutrition has increased the population’s vulnerability. WHO will be seeking donor support for the provision of HIV testing kits while donors are asked to support EPI and other essential health services to pastoralists in drought-affected areas through UNICEF and WHO.
  • Nutrition: Resources are being sought by UNICEF for the establishment of a national/regional Nutrition Coordination Unit within the DPPC/B.
  • Water and Sanitation: With additional donor support, UNICEF will provide assistance in assessing water and sanitation problems and needs in drought affected areas, short-term water tankering in areas where no other options are available, rehabilitation of old and non-functioning schemes, construction of new water supply schemes, promotion of environmental sanitation and hygiene practices, and support for construction of community, school and latrines.
  • Education: To support continuing school attendance within increased adverse conditions and linked to an expanded school feeding programme with WFP, UNICEF will provide educational materials for 124,000 targeted groups of children in the worst affected areas as well as synthetic water tanks, construction of water lines and tankering for 72 schools, training for teachers in the planning, design and programme implementation, and will collect data/information regarding the number of primary school-age children (age-wise and grade-wise) in drought-affected areas in order to identify zones, weredas and schools for planning and designing education interventions for children in drought-affected areas in seven regions. WFP will provide food and has requested support for utensils to assist students in an additional 450 schools in the worst affected weredas.
  • Agriculture Sector Support: FAO will seek donor support for the provision of seeds to drought affected farmers in Tigray and Amhara regions, and sweet potato vines to farmers in East and West Hararghe (Oromiya Region). Small farmers and landless poor in Tigray will receive irrigation pumps and modern beehives, respectively, to help them regain their productivity and income-earning potential, and reduce their dependence on food aid.
  • Special Relief Assistance in Pastoral Areas: Donor assistance will be needed by UNICEF for the provision of material assistance to 10,000 targeted vulnerable individuals in pastoral areas, including shelter materials, hand tools and other equipment.
  • Monitoring, Reporting and Information Management: Additional funding is required to enable the UN-Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia to maintain an increased level of field monitoring, reporting operational support and data management services on behalf of the UNCT and donor community. In order to ensure interventions for pastoralist communities are most relevant and take into account conditions and factors at the household level, UNICEF will recruit a pastoralist field monitor who will bridge interventions to locally appropriate conditions and needs. WFP will continue its initiative of hiring additional food-aid monitors countrywide and subcontracting local NGOs to assist in monitoring in pastoral areas.

Without immediate and balanced assistance in the above-mentioned sectors, the current food shortages will lead to extreme hardship for people in the most affected areas. The experience of 1999 has shown that people are now living at the edge of their subsistence capabilities, and the specters of mass stress migration, widespread malnutrition, and outbreaks of disease are looming. Concerted efforts by the Government, the UN system, NGOs, and the donor community are needed to prevent significant loss of life and to help enable people to recover from total destitution to become productive once again.

Table of contents


SECTION ONE: Appeal for victims of Natural disasters

1. Executive summary
2. Context
3. Project outline
4. Programme objectives
5. Sectoral activities and support components

  • 5.1 Relief food assistance and logisitics
  • 5.2 Health and nutrition
  • 5.3 Water and environmental sanitation
  • 5.4 Education sector assitance
  • 5.5 Agricultural sector support
  • 5.6 Special relief assistance in pastoral areas
  • 5.7 Monitoring, reporting and information management

6. Conclusion
7. Summary of resource requirements

SECTION TWO: Appeal for internally displaced persons

1. Executive summary
2. Context
3. Project outline
4. Programme objectives
5. Sectoral activities and support components

  • 5.1 Relief food assistance and logisitics
  • 5.2 Health and nutrition
  • 5.3 Special food needs (supplementary food)
  • 5.4 Water and environmental sanitation
  • 5.5 Education sector assitance
  • 5.6 Relief and special assistance
  • 5.7 Humanitarian mine action
  • 5.8 Children and women with special protection nneds
  • 5.9 Monitoring and evaluation

6. Summary of resource requirements

SECTION THREE: Appeal for refugee and repatriation operations

1. Project overview
2. Objectives
3. Host country and legal framework
4. UN country team framework
5. Implementation arrangements
6. Inter-agency coordination
7. Beneficiary population

  • 7.1 Sudanese refugees
  • 7.2 Somali refugees

8. Sectoral activities
9. WFP assistance programme for refugees
10. UNHCR budget summary

Note: The full text of this appeal is available on-line in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format and may also be downloaded in zipped MS Word format.

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