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Cablegate: Usg Humanitarian Assistance Team: Field Visit #2 -

VZCZCXYZ0004
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDS #0134/01 0161416
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161416Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9200
INFO RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 2080
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 8872
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3330
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 3054
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4132
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 2988
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 6345
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7192
RUEHC/DEPT OF INTERIOR WASHDC
RUEHRC/DEPT OF AGRICULTURE WASHDC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL//CCJ2/CCJ5/CCJS//
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 000134

SIPDIS

STATE DEPARTMENT FOR A/S FRAZER, DAS AF JSWAN, AF/E, AF/PDPA, OES,
A/S PRM SAUERBREY, AND PRM/AFR
AFR/AA KALMQUIST, WWARREN, JBORNS, KNELSON, CTHOMPSON
DCHA/AA MHESS, GGOTTLIEB
DCHA/OFDA KLUU, ACONVERY, CCHAN, PMORRIS, KCHANNELL
DCHA/FFP JDWORKEN, PMOHAN, SANTHONY, PBERTOLIN
LONDON, PARIS, ROME FOR AFRICA WATCHER
CJTF-HOA AND USCENTCOM FOR POLAD
USDA/FAS FOR U/S PENN, RTILSWORTH, AND LPANASUK
NAIROBI FOR OFDA/ECARO JMYER, GPLATT, RFFPO NCOX, USAID/EA
ROME FOR AMBASSADOR, OHA, HSPANOS
BRUSSELS FOR USEU PBROWN
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH, RMA
USUN FOR TMALY
NSC FOR PMARCHAN

AIDAC
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PHUM SENV EAGR PGOV ET
REF: A) ADDIS 0064 B) ADDIS 3610
SUBJECT: USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TEAM: FIELD VISIT #2 -
LIVELIHOODS UPDATE


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. Summary: Between January 2 and 9, U.S. Government (USG)
Humanitarian Assistance Team (HAT) in Ethiopia staff, including a
USAID/Ethiopia Assets and Livelihoods Transition program
coordinator, traveled to Degehabur and Fik zones in Somali Region as
part of a second field visit to assess the current humanitarian
situation, including livelihood conditions. USG HAT staff note that
the current situation in Somali Region is fluid and varies
throughout the region. Despite an easing of access and market
restrictions in recent weeks, USG HAT staff report that reduced
commercial activity and ongoing Government of the Federal Democratic
Republic of Ethiopia (GFDRE) restrictions on livestock, commodities,
and population movement in parts of Degehabur and Fik zones continue
to undermine livelihoods and food security. In addition, the poor
performance of the 2007 gu and deyr rains in parts of Somali Region
has exacerbated chronic water shortages, including some areas within
Degehabur Zone. USG HAT staff recommend targeted emergency
assistance for vulnerable populations, but emphasize the need for
improved access and a resumption of commercial trade, including
livestock and staple and non-staple commodities, to restore normal
livelihood patterns of pastoralist and agropastoralist populations
in Somali Region. End summary.

----------
BACKGROUND
----------

2. According to the joint Save the Children/U.K (SC/UK) and GFDRE
Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA) baseline
livelihood study of Somali Region, 60 percent of the region's rural
population is pastoralist, 25 percent agropastoralist, while the
remaining 15 percent represent a combination of sedentary and
riverine farmers. In Degehabur Zone, pastoralists comprise 65 to 75
percent of the total population and agropastoralists represent 25 to
35 percent, while an estimated 5 percent represent urban groups. In
Fik Zone, the population livelihood composition is similar, with
pastoralists representing 70 to 80 percent of the total population,
agropastoralists accounting for approximately 15 to 25 percent, and
the remaining 5 percent classified as urban.

3. Pastoralist and agropastoralists populations are heavily
dependent on market access for livestock sales, which represent the
predominant source of income generation, and for the purchase of
staple and non-stable commodities to fulfill annual food needs. For
example, livestock sales account for 70 to 80 percent of annual
income among poor households in Fik pastoral areas. Accordingly, any
restriction or disruption to local and export markets has a
significant adverse effect on income, livelihoods, and food
security.

4. According to U.N. and humanitarian agencies operating in Somali
Region, the impact of increased insecurity, ongoing military
operations, and restrictions on cross-border trade and population
and livestock movements within the five conflict-affected zones of
Degehabur, Fik, Gode, Korahe, and Warder have significantly hindered
market access and increased population vulnerability. In addition,

the poor performance of the 2007 gu and deyr rains in parts of
Somali Region has exacerbated livelihood and food insecurity
conditions. The November 24 to December 14 DPPA Deyr/Karan Needs
Assessment identified nearly 1.6 million people in Somali Region
confronting survival and livelihood protection deficits, including
an estimated 745,000 people in need of immediate food assistance and
approximately 843,000 people in need of livelihood protection
interventions. (REF: ADDIS 3610) The most affected zones include
Fik, Gode, and Degehabur.

5. The DPPA-led team utilized the household economy approach (HEA)
methodology for the Deyr/Karan Needs Assessment. The HEA
methodology applies traditional inputs, such as crop and livestock
prices, to a livelihoods framework, enabling a more holistic
understanding of livelihood and food security conditions and
identifying gaps to inform appropriate interventions. Current and
projected conditions are measured against a reference baseline year
in order to demonstrate gaps in survival and livelihood security.
SC/UK first introduced HEA in Somali and Afar Regions with USAID
funding. In recognition of the value and importance of
livelihood-based analysis, USAID/Ethiopia is now funding baseline
studies for remaining regions in Ethiopia and supporting its
institutionalization within the DPPA's early warning division.

--------------------
LIVESTOCK CONDITIONS
--------------------

6. USG HAT staff report that livestock observed in both Fik and
Degehabur zones appear healthy and in good condition. However,
water and pasture availability varied between the two zones as a
result of more robust deyr rains reported in Fik Zone, specifically
in Fik District and to a lesser extent in Hamero District. USG HAT
staff characterize pasture conditions as fair to poor, but note that
available pasture will continue to decline throughout the January to
March jilal dry season. According to a January 6 report by the
Somali Region Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB),
the poor performance of the deyr rains in most parts of Somali
Region has already triggered abnormal livestock migrations,
including in parts of all five conflict-affected zones, as well as
parts of Afder, Liban and Shinile zones. The DPPB report also noted
that migrations represent a coping strategy to minimize the impact
of pasture and water shortages and that any restrictions on
pastoralist movement will increase the risk of livestock loss. USG
HAT staff received reports from pastoralists, as well as from U.N.
and NGO staff, of GFDRE restrictions on livestock movement to
prescribed areas in some locations of Fik Zone. (Note: During the
first USG HAT staff field visit to Degehabur Zone, USG HAT staff
also received reports from local villages of GFRDE restrictions on
population and livestock movement. End note.) (REF: ADDIS 0064)

7. According to the DPPB, herd sizes in the conflict-affected areas
of Somali Region have declined by 20 to 35 percent over the last two
years, including in Degehabour and Fik zones. Herd sizes continue
to diminish as households utilize coping strategies in response to
poor terms of trade and market disruptions. Coping mechanism
include the increased slaughter and household consumption of
livestock, in addition to the increased barter and sale of animals
above normal levels to acquire basic food and other items.

Pastoralist and agropastoralist populations are experiencing poor
terms of trade as a result of reduced demand and price of livestock
and higher than normal staple food prices. The DPPA Deyr/Karan
Needs Assessment identified an increase in staple food prices of
between 150 to 300 percent and an increase in imported non-staple
food prices of approximately 400 percent in Fik Zone. During the
jilal dry season, terms of trade will continue to decline as
livestock body conditions worsen. USG HAT staff note the need for
additional information and field analysis to substantiate reports of
livestock decline.

8. The DPPA Deyr/Karan Needs Assessment also reported a 30 to 40
percent decline in livestock milk production in Somali Region in
terms of yield and number of female lactating livestock when
compared against the reference year. In Kasangas village, Hamero
District, Fik Zone, USG HAT staff reported that milk prices were
approximately 150 to 200 percent above normal levels due to reduced
supply. However, USG HAT staff also received reports from local
populations and NGOs operating in Fik District, Fik Zone,
characterizing milk production as consistent with, to slightly
below, normal levels for a dry year. The Somali Region DPPB reports
that both milk production and livestock conditions are expected to
further deteriorate with the onset of the jilal season. (Note: Milk
production and consumption patterns routinely decline during the
jilal dry season. However, routine declines in addition to already
significantly reduced production is of concern. End note.)

------------------------------------
MARKET ACCESS AND TRADE RESTRICTIONS
------------------------------------

7. USG HAT staff report that general insecurity, required military
escorts, border restrictions, and Ethiopia National Defense Force
(ENDF)-enforced limits on urban to rural transport of food item
restrictions continue to negatively affect commercial trade and
market access in Degehabur and Fik zones. Consistent with findings
from the USG HAT initial field visit to Degehabur Zone, USG HAT
staff note that local traders in Fik Zone also report that general
insecurity and border restrictions have resulted in a significant
reduction in commercial livestock trade, beginning in June 2007. As
a result, the primary market for livestock in the area is for local
slaughter due to the absence of cross-border traders, representing
the export market. (REF: ADDIS 0064) In addition, both commercial
vendors in Fik town and pastoralists in Fik Zone reported ENDF and
local militia-enforced limits on urban to rural transport of food
items, including a 50 kilogram (kg) limit for cereals and 2kg limit
for sugar for small groups. However, USG HAT note that enforcement
is inconsistent and reports indicate that restrictions have eased
compared to the June to September time period.

8. Delays in required military escorts in Degehabur and Fik zones
continue to hinder commercial traffic. Military escorts are not
required from Jijiga to Degehabur towns, according to NGOs and ENDF
stationed in the area. However, required military escorts for
onward travel from Degehabur town and throughout Fik Zone continue
to cause significant delays and disruptions to normal commercial
patterns, according to local traders and NGOs operating in Fik and
Degehabur zones.

9. However, USG HAT staff also note consistent reports of slowly
improving access in recent weeks and months, but emphasize that
current conditions vary throughout the region. Commercial truckers
and local traders interviewed in Fik Zone noted an easing of
commercial trade restrictions in late September when limited
commercial goods were permitted to be transported with emergency
food shipments in the region. In addition, on January 1, the ENDF
permitted three commercial trucks to accompany a food assistance
convoy from Babile town, Jijiga Zone, to Fik town, resulting in an
immediate improvement in the terms of trade for local populations,
including a decline in the prices for sugar and rice by between 10
and 20 Ethiopian Birr (ETB). Despite slight improvements in
commercial access and transport delays, benefits are predominantly
contained to district capitals and have been slow to reach outlying
and rural areas. In the more remote Garbo District of Fik Zone, the
cost for a 50kg bag of maize is two times higher than in Fik
district. Terms of trade for rural populations remains poor due to
disruptions in livestock trade and elevated prices for food
commodities, particularly rice and sugar.

10. USG HAT staff also note reports of informal trading outside of
traditional market structures, which represents an important coping
mechanisms for local populations confronting market and access
restrictions. However, the ability to evaluate and quantify such
reports is limited. Potential costs of informal trading include
lower prices for livestock and loss of livestock. In addition,
increased travel often excludes participation from the poorest
households.

------------------------------

CONLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
------------------------------

11. Pastoralist and agropastoralists in Degehabur and Fik zones are
confronting significant disruptions in commercial trade and market
access which form the foundation of normal livelihood patterns. The
poor performance of the 2007 gu and deyr rains in many parts of
Somali Region have further exacerbated population vulnerability. In
concurrence with DPPA Deyr Karan Needs Assessment findings, USG HAT
staff recommend the need for targeted food assistance for the more
than 745,000 people identified as survival deficit in the region. To
facilitate critical food assistance delivery, as well as commercial
trade and access, current delays associated with required military
escorts in the conflict-affected areas of Somali Region need to be
addressed.

12. In addition, USG HAT staff underscore the need for continued
advocacy and discussion of appropriate interventions to address the
needs of the nearly 843,000 people identified as livelihood deficit
in the DPPA assessment to prevent them from slipping into the
survival deficit category. These populations are meeting daily food
requirements but at the cost of depleting assets and undermining
future livelihood security. Potential interventions include
targeted food assistance, as well as cash-for-work and food-for-work
programs to increase vulnerable population purchasing power and
prevent livelihood deficit groups from expending productive assets.
Time constraints represented by the onset of jilal season and
ongoing trade restrictions currently limit the utility of non-food
livelihood interventions, such as livestock market development.


13. USG HAT staff emphasize the need for improved access and a
resumption of commercial trade, including livestock and staple
commodities, to restore normal livelihood patterns of pastoralist
and agropastoralist populations in Somali Region. With a reduction
in current restrictions, longer term development interventions,
including the improvement of veterinary and extension services,
formalization of external trade, enhancement of internal trade
routes to the highlands, and improved marketing and market
information systems should be considered to reduce long-term food
insecurity concerns.

14. In the coming weeks, the USG HAT will continue to conduct
assessment visits in Somali Region to develop an improved
understanding of humanitarian conditions and inform appropriate
response efforts. In addition, USG HAT staff are scheduled to
participate in a joint U.N. ten-day market survey of Somali Region
beginning the week of January 20.


YAMAMOTO

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