ETHIOPIA: Floods pose new threat to food security
ADDIS ABABA, 14 July 2011 (IRIN) - While the ongoing drought has seriously undermined the food security of up to 4.5 million people in Ethiopia, a threat posed by expected flooding during the second half of 2011 could exacerbate the situation, say meteorological officials.
Ethiopia's meteorological agency has forecast normal to above-normal rainfall during the June-September rainy season, with the risk of flooding in western, northwestern and central areas. Areas around Lake Tana in Amhara region, parts of Gambella and along the Awash basin in Afar region are likely to be affected by floods.
"Parts of these areas, particularly in low-lying [areas] and near riverbanks, could face flooding as we usually anticipate in this season," said Diriba Koricha, the director of Forecast and Early Warning Department at the agency.
However, "as the season progresses in August and September, swift but heavy rainfalls could result in flooding anywhere", he said, adding that further preparation was needed to prevent any humanitarian crisis.
Launching an appeal on 11 July for drought aid, Ethiopia's Agriculture Ministry said the country's food security situation had deteriorated since the beginning of the year to the La Niña-induced drought currently ravaging parts of the country.
The country requires US$398 million for food and non-food aid between July and December 2011.
The government made the appeal as humanitarian actors reported funding shortfalls.
Judith Schuler, World Food Programme (WFP) Ethiopia spokeswoman, said many of its food assistance activities in Ethiopia "face significant funding shortfalls".
WFP has a shortfall of 120,000MT of food, equivalent to about $112 million, until the end of the year.
"Due to this lack of funding, WFP reduced food rations in relief operations in certain areas of the country from March onwards," said Schuler.
A recent report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Ethiopia indicated that food rations had been allocated without vegetable oil and with a reduced amount of corn-soya blend.
Schuler said: "In order to resume full rations for all people badly hit by the drought, new contributions are urgently needed. Compounding the issue is time: from the moment a contribution is confirmed, it takes between four to five months until the food arrives in the country."
Between January and June, WFP assisted 269,300 moderately malnourished Ethiopian children under five through the targeted supplementary food (TSF) programme for malnourished children under five and pregnant and nursing mothers.
The food needs are not just limited to Ethiopians; an influx of refugees from Somalia to Ethiopia has also been recorded.
"Numbers are increasing on a daily basis, and the nutritional status of the refugees upon... arrival is worrying," said Schuler, adding that a March/April survey had found malnutrition rates of 45 percent among newly arrived children under five at a camp in Dolo Ado, at the border between Kenya, Somalia and Ethiopia.
At least 55,000 new Somali refugees have been recorded in Ethiopia since January, according to the UN. The UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has set up a new camp to help them.
Eastern Africa is experiencing what the UN has described as the most severe food crisis in the world today.
On 4 July, international charity Oxfam GB made a £50 million ($80 million) appeal for drought-hit eastern Africa, saying at least 12 million people had been pushed "into a fight for survival".
"The aid effort faces enormous hurdles; there is not enough money to buy food in the quantities required and the price of maize has risen by up to 40 percent since a year ago in the region," Jane Cocking, Oxfam's humanitarian director, said. "The cost of fuel needed to transport food to the epicentre has also shot up."
On 1 July, the NGO, Christian Aid, also launched an emergency humanitarian appeal to help provide water, food and animal feed in the region.
"People are desperate and if we don't act now we could be looking at one of the worst humanitarian situations the world has seen in a long time," warned Nick Guttmann, Christian Aid's humanitarian director.
Nearly 5 million Ethiopians will need food aid in first half of 2010, UN reports
8 December 2009 –
Some 4.8 million Ethiopians will require emergency food and related aid costing $270 million for the first six months of 2010 in a country already plagued by prolonged drought and crop failure, according to United Nations estimates released today.
“Despite the collaborative efforts of the Government and humanitarian partners to address ongoing humanitarian challenges in Ethiopia, humanitarian needs are expected to remain,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said, citing a joint plan led by Ethiopian authorities, UN agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and donors.
Food requirement stands at 529,148 tons. Considering the possible carry-over stock from 2009 and confirmed pledges available for 2010, totalling to 272,612 tons, the net food requirement for regular relief is estimated to be 256,536 tons, at $195.2 million.
A further 26,500 tons of supplementary food, amounting to $24 million, is also required, while $50.9 million is needed for non-food requirements in heath and nutrition, water and sanitation, and agriculture and livestock sectors.
In October this year Ethiopia needed an additional $175 million to help feed 6.2 million people, a number that had risen steadily from 4.9 million in January. The food security situation had already been weakened by poor rains in 2008 and the impact of the high food prices globally.
Flooding Affects 97,000 People in Ethiopia, United Nations Says
By Jason McLure
Dec. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Flooding of the Wadi Shabelle River in Ethiopia’s Somali region led to a “widespread loss of assets” that affected 97,000 people, the United Nations’ humanitarian agency said.
Farmlands in the southeastern region suffered “significant damage to crops” that may prove a benefit to the region later this year as high water levels will improve pasture and grazing lands for the region’s nomadic camel and goat herders, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance said on its Web site.
The floods also damaged roads leading to the town of Gode, 600 kilometers (373 miles) southeast of the capital Addis Ababa, forcing the World Food Programme to airlift relief supplies into the area, the UN said.
Drought earlier this year put 6.5 million Ethiopians at risk of famine, including 1.9 million in the country’s Somali region, an arid area twice the size of England.
50,000 Ethiopians displaced by floods
ADDIS ABABA (AFP) — Dramatic floods in the eastern Somali region of Ethiopia have killed at least three people and displaced more than 50,000 since the start of the month, aid sources said Wednesday.
"At least 52,000 people have abandoned their homes in Ethiopia's Somali region after the Wade Shabelle and Genale rivers burst their banks following heavy rains," the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN reported.
The agency said heavy rains fell on the region for six days from November 2.
More from AFP
Flooding in Ethiopia kills 11, maroons hundreds
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - A river in Ethiopia's highlands burst its banks after heavy rains, killing 11 people and stranding hundreds more, the state news agency said on Monday.
Flooding from the Wabe Shebelle river in southeast Ethiopia has submerged more than 100 villages, regional relief boss Eremdan Haji was quoted as saying by the Ethiopian News Agency.
"Inhabitants in 116 villages in an area covering a 90-km (56-mile) radius have been stranded on hillocks surrounded by the flood water," he said.
"Efforts to rescue hundreds of marooned people have become impossible due to the extent of land covered by the flood."
Some 6,000 head of livestock and 2,500 hectares of crop were destroyed, the official added, saying the government had sent 18,000 tonnes of food aid to the region near Somalia.
Local officials contacted by Reuters said they had no further information but were on their way to the flood area.