Humanitarian Crisis Averted Through Rapid Response


All Africa News Agency

February 11, 2000


Addis Ababa - The United Nations Country Team UNCT in Ethiopia has launched a US $ 190 million appeal to provide over 8 million Ethiopians and some 250,000 refugees in Ethiopia with relief assistance. 


Included in the relief and humanitarian appeal are requests for assistance for 7.7 million victims of natural disaster, 349,837 internally displaced persons and the requirements for Sudanese, Somali and other refugees in Ethiopia already included in the UNHCR Global Appeal of last December.


The appeal lists a number of priority interventions in food assistance, health, water, sanitation, nutrition, education, special protection needs and agriculture to be undertaken this year.


At the recent launch, held at the UN Conference Centre in the Ethiopian capital here, the UN Country Team emphasised that current conditions in Ethiopia give great cause for concern.


 In 1999, a major humanitarian emergency was averted through rapid response from donors and flexible programming of resources by the Government and its partners.  The fact that a major tragedy was avoided, however, should not lull one into a false sense of security, the UNCT said.


In many respects, the relief operation in 1999 only succeeded in meeting some of the most acute needs. If adequate assistance is slow in arriving, the crisis will not only return, but will be much larger in magnitude and severity and certainly more costly and difficult to mitigate.


The UN World Food Programme WFP, in support of the Ethiopian Government/Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission's appeal of January 21, is requesting approval for an emergency operation covering over 250,000 metric tons of food aid to assist 2.3 million people for the period April-December 2000.


UNICEF and WHO are appealing for US $1.5 m to cover emergency health interventions, including programmes for malaria control, Expanded Programme for Immunisation EPI and nutrition.


UNICEF also seeks US $2.3 m to address some of the most urgent water supply  needs, including priority water tankering and rehabilitation of water points, US $1.6m for support to education facilities in the most severely drought affected areas and US $61,300 for special relief assistance and monitoring.


In order to assist the most severely drought affected areas and US$61,300 for pecial relief assistance and monitoring. In order to assist the most severely  drought affected farmers, FAO is appealing for US $2.8 m to cover emergency seed distributions, irrigation pumps and beehives.


The food component of the appeal for victims of natural disasters, including the value of the food, transportation and other costs, amounts to US $98.9 m while the total value of the non-food component is US $8.4 m.


In order to assist the 349,837 Ethiopians displaced in Tigray and Afar regions by the conflict with Eritrea, the UN Country Team is appealing for both food and  non-food assistance. WFP is requesting approval for 46,452 metric tons of food to assist 272,000 internally displaced people in Tigray between April and December 2000.


WHO, UNFPA and UNICEF are requesting US $1.2 m for emergency health programme including support to EPI programmes, malaria control, disease surveillance, health education/training, emergency health kits and HIV/Aids materials.


In order to address the most urgent water and sanitation needs, UNICEF is appealing for US $591,000 for the expansion access of safe water supply for the displaced.


Other important components of UNICEF's appeal for assistance to the displaced include US $810,500 for the construction of temporary schools and school supplies, US$897,000 in relief assistance and shelter materials, and US$99,500 for mine awareness programme.


The agency seeks a further US $68,800 to cover the special protection needs of the most vulnerable segments of the displaced population. The total value of the food component, including food costs and transportation is US$23.8 m and the non-food component is US $3.


The refugee component of the UN Country Team appeal includes a summary of the Ethiopia section UNHCR Global Appeal for the almost 250,000 refugees in Ethiopia  as well as the WFP appeal for food assistance to the refugee population in Ethiopia.


 UNHCR has appealed for US $22.5 m to cover protection, general care and maintenance, voluntary repatriation and reintegration activities as well as environmental activities and operational support to co-operating partners.


The WFP portion of the refugee appeal covers food and logistics costs for the care and maintenance programme 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$33.2m. 


SOURCE: United Nations Country Team Ethiopia, Addis Ababa


 Publication date: February 14, 2000