The Food Crisis - Short Haul
Truck Problem Emerging
Addis Tribune 06/16/00 -By Our Staff Reporter
Despite the quickened movement of food from the port of Djibouti to the main grain warehouses, getting food from there to the
people who need it is still difficult.
The big emergency food warehouses at Nazareth and Kombolcha are filling up, but transport from there to the remote rural
area is slow.
Short haul trucks of 6 to 10 tons are in short supply. With drastic needs in several regions increasing at the same time, the
number of available trucks cannot meet the demand. This is despite the fact that private truckers are being mobilized for food
movement, and reportedly 65% of Ethiopias' truck fleet is now moving food aid.
Enough long-haul trucks to move the gain from Djibouti port to the main warehouses seem to be available. The capacity in
larger trucks, normally 20-30 tons, has increased enormously in Ethiopia in the last two years. These profitable carriers can
move grain faster than it can be landed and bagged at Djibouti.
Food deliveries were already 135,000 metric tons behind schedule as of the first of June. Now, additional beneficiaries have
been added due to the late and inadequate 'Belg' or small rains. With additional mouths to feed, the deliveries of food are
expected to fall even further behind.
The recently released UN appeal for the Horn of Africa used the updated and increased figures for Ethiopia. The total official
number of people needing food has increased from 7,700,000 in the January appeal by the DPPC, to 10,016,000 in the UN
These numbers include an increase of over 460,000 people in the hard hit Somali Region, 720,000 in the largest region,
Oromia, almost 500,000 in Amahra Region, almost 450,000 in the Southern Peoples' Regions, and about 160,000 additional
Children are still dying from malnutrition related diseases in Somali Region. The Southern Peoples' Regions also have feeding
camps, where the nutritional levels of children are exceedingly low.
Catching up with deliveries that are behind, meeting the current needs identified in January, and increasing deliveries to meet the additional beneficiaries is an almost impossible task.
On top of this, the government must try to re-position food in the remote areas before the heavy rains start as expected in late
June or early July. This now definitely looks impossible. If the rains are heavy enough to cut off truck transport, then the remote
areas will undergo serious food shortages during the rainy season. It could be a disaster.