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Cablegate: Usg Humanitarian Assistance Team Field Visit #3:

VZCZCXYZ0008
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDS #0233/01 0300957
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 300957Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9354
INFO RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 2097
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 8889
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 3345
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS 3069
RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 4147
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 3003
RUEHRO/AMEMBASSY ROME 6360
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 7222
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 000233

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 GPLATT, RFFPO NCOX, USAID/EA
ROME FOR AMBASSADOR, OHA, HSPANOS
BRUSSELS FOR USEU PBROWN
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH, RMA
USUN FOR FSHANKS
NSC FOR PMARCHAN

AIDAC
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PHUM SENV EAGR PGOV ET
REF: A) ADDIS 3644 B) ADDIS 0134
SUBJECT: USG HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE TEAM FIELD VISIT #3:
LIVELIHOODS UPDATE


-------
Summary
-------

1. Between January 15 and 21, U.S. Government (USG) Humanitarian
Assistance Team (HAT) in Ethiopia staff, including a USAID/Ethiopia
senior policy advisor and a USAID/Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster
Assistance (OFDA) agriculture and livestock advisor, traveled to
Gode and Korahe zones in Somali Region as part of a third field
visit to assess the current humanitarian situation and livelihood
conditions. USG HAT staff report that the flow of commercial goods
from Somalia into urban centers within the conflict-affected areas
of Somali Region has improved in recent weeks, but only limited
commodities are reaching rural areas due to Government of the
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (GFDRE) restrictions.
According to local populations, imported and locally produced staple
food prices are substantially higher than pre-conflict levels. USG
HAT staff note that livestock remain healthy in areas visited.
However, USG HAT staff report that livestock conditions are expected
to decline as the January to March jilal dry season progresses and
pasture land diminishes. In addition, livestock cross-border trade
remains restricted. USG HAT staff caution that the humanitarian
situation in Somali Region could rapidly deteriorate as the dry
season continues due to the cumulative impact of high staple food
prices, diminishing pasture land, reduced availability of commercial
goods, restrictions on livestock movement and trade, and
inefficiencies related to food aid delivery. End summary.

---------------------
Commercial Food Trade
---------------------

--Movement into Urban Centers --

2. GFDRE-required military escorts for all commercial trucks moving
within the conflict-affected areas continue to cause delays. While
commercial trucking with escorts has increased slightly over the
past few months in areas visited, the number of trucks arriving in
urban areas remains substantially lower compared to pre-conflict
levels. In Denan town, Gode Zone, a local non-governmental
organization (NGO) estimated that the number of commercial trucks
arriving per week has decreased from approximately seven to one
truck per week. In Kelafo town, Gode zone, transport workers
estimated that commercial traffic remains at 50 percent of
pre-conflict levels.

--Movement into Rural Areas -

3. The movement of commercial food into rural areas within
conflict-affected areas has been significantly reduced, according to
local residents and NGOs operating in the region. USG HAT staff
received consistent reports that identified smuggling as the only
mechanism for commercial food commodities to reach rural villages.
Residents in Kebridehar town, Korahe Zone, reported that the
military does not permit commercial trucks to off-load goods in
villages outside district capitals, even if villages are located en
route to final delivery destinations. However, villagers living
outside of conflict-affected areas did not report restrictions on
the transport of food from main towns to rural areas. For example,

villagers interviewed along the Wabeshebele River in Kelafo
District, Gode Zone, reported unrestricted movement between urban
markets and rural villages.

-- Cross-Border Trade Routes ---

4. Insecurity and pervasive Ethiopia National Defense Force (ENDF)
presence in parts of Somali Region have disrupted traditional
cross-border trade routes from Bosaso port in the semi-autonomous
region of Puntland to Gode Zone, Somali Region, through Warder and
Kebridehar zones, Somali Region. Currently, trade routes have been
diverted from Bosaso through Galcio and Beletweyne in Somalia to
Gode Zone, resulting in increased prices associated with greater
transport distances.

-- Market Prices --

5. In urban markets, both within and outside conflict-affected
areas, USG HAT staff note that prices of food commodities have risen
significantly from the previous year. Residents consistently
reported that price increases of imported staple foods were related
to security operations and subsequent restrictions on commercial
trade. Residents attributed increased prices for locally produced
crops, such as sorghum and maize, to the poor performance of
seasonal rains and resulting reduced harvests.

6. USG HAT staff market surveys in Kebridehar, Gode, and Kelafo
towns indicated that prices of most commodities had significantly
increased compared to pre-conflict levels. In some instances, local
villagers, urban residents, and market traders reported an increase
in prices three to four times higher than the previous year. In
Gode market, 50 kilograms (kg) of local maize cost approximately 150
Ethiopian Birr (ETB) in 2008, compared to 40 ETB in 2007 and 20
liters of oil currently costs approximately 225 ETB, compared to 110
ETB in 2007. In addition, 25 kg of flour has increased from 100 to
200 ETB since 2007 and 25 kgs of rice has increased from
approximately 100 to 185 ETB.

---------------
Livestock Trade
---------------

7. Local NGOs, U.N. officials, and rural residents report severe
restrictions on cross-border livestock trade into Somalia, resulting
in a significant decline in livestock sales. Due to the
insignificant volume of cross-border livestock legally transported
by military escort, traders often pay a third party to smuggle
livestock into Somalia at great risk, according to residents of
Kelafo town, Gode Zone. In Denan town, Gode Zone, local NGO staff
report a significant decline in the presence of livestock traders
resulting from fears that the military will accuse traders of using
funds to support the insurgency. In addition, internal livestock
markets in Gode and Korahe zones have experienced a significant
decline in livestock prices and sales. In Shinelle town, Gode Zone,
pastoralists reported that prices for camels had fallen from a
minimum of 1,700 ETB a year ago to a maximum of 1,000 ETB presently.
Pastoralists attributed the price reduction to an absence of buyers
who are reluctant to operate due to insecurity and pervasive ENDF
presence.


----------------
Livestock Health
----------------

8. Despite the poor performance of 2007 deyr and gu rains in many
areas, USG HAT staff noted that livestock appear in good condition.
USG HAT staff did not observe any signs of increased animal
mortality in areas visited, and no disease outbreaks were reported.
In the town of Shinille, Gode Zone, pastoralists reported an unusual
camel disease, as well as problems with external parasites, but no
serious epidemics. However, USG HAT staff caution that as the
current jilal dry season progresses, and if USAID Famine Early
Warning System Network (FEWS NET) predictions of poor April to June
gu rains are correct, livestock health will deteriorate in the
coming months. In addition, internal GFDRE restrictions on
livestock movement, which limit the ability of animals to access
sufficient pasture and water, continue to exacerbate the situation.


-- Disappearing Pasture Land --

9. USG HAT staff report consistent concerns among pastoralists and
agro-pastoralists interviewed regarding the availability of pasture
lands. USG HAT staff observed protracted stretches of dry pasture
between Denan and Gode towns, Gode Zone, that are typically green at
this time of year, according to local residents. USG HAT staff also
note reports of abnormal migration patterns among populations in
Gode and Korahe zones in response to poor rains and pasture
conditions. In addition, USG HAT observed livestock-crowded
watering points, including in Shinelle and El Har towns, Gode Zone.
Villagers in El Har reported the convergence of large numbers of
pastoralists at the area watering point, resulting in a significant
increase in water collection practices, potentially depleting water
table levels. USG HAT staff note that large concentrations of
livestock create increased opportunities for disease transmission,
especially as animals weaken as the dry season progresses, and
report limited availability of veterinary health services in the
region.

10. USG HAT staff report that despite locust infestations in late
2007 near Kebridehar town, Korahe Zone, and Gode Zone, the areas
affected were fairly limited in size and would likely not seriously
impact the ability of livestock to find sufficient fodder.

-----------------
Coping Mechanisms
-----------------

11. In non-conflict-affected agro-pastoralist areas, USG HAT staff
observed several coping mechanisms in response to the effects of
drought, high staple food prices, and trade restrictions. Coping
mechanisms included reducing meal consumption to one meal per day,
collecting firewood for sale, working as hired laborers on
surrounding farms, and migrating to Bossaso, Galkayo, and Garowe in
the semi-autonomous region of Puntland to access food aid and to
work as migrant farmers. In Afdu village, Gode Zone, villagers
reported that 60 families out of a total of 200 in the village had
migrated to Puntland. In Tundo village, Gode Zone, villagers

reported that 25 out of 375 families had migrated to Puntland.

12. In conflict-affected areas, pastoralist coping mechanisms
include the increased slaughter and household consumption of
livestock. Pastoralists in Shinelle town, Gode Zone, report an
increase in camel slaughter and the movement of urban and peri-urban
residents to live with pastoralist relatives in order to access
camel milk. Consumption of livestock by-products has taken the
place of sales as market access has declined. In addition,
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. In some cases, food
assistance may address current gaps in purchasing power. However,
USG HAT staff emphasize that food assistance continues to be largely
concentrated in district capitals, with limited assistance reaching
rural and remote populations. USG HAT staff also note pastoralist
engagement in high-risk behavior, including smuggling animals out of
restricted zones, or trying to illegally move food commodities from
towns to rural areas, in response to current restrictions.

-------------------------------
Conclusions and Recommendations
-------------------------------

13. USG HAT staff caution that humanitarian conditions could
significantly deteriorate in the coming months for pastoralist and
agropastoralist populations in Somali Region confronting steadily
declining incomes and terms of trade as a result of current
obstacles and restrictions on livestock movement and sales and
commercial trade. USG HAT staff emphasize the need for improved
access and an increase in commercial trade, including livestock and
staple and non-staple commodities, to restore normal livelihood
patterns in Somali Region. Improvement in current restrictions,
access, and security are pre-requisites for traditional livestock
interventions to be effective, including commercial destocking and
emergency provision of fodder and water.

14. However, in the current context, USG HAT note that targeted
emergency interventions for vulnerable populations, including
designated livestock trade routes, fodder production programs, and
veterinary services could mitigate deteriorating livelihood
conditions. Rapid designation of potential trade routes would be
required in the short-term to permit animals to be relocated to
access pasture or trade markets before livestock conditions weaken,
preventing relocation or sale. Routes would also need to be
carefully monitored and secured to prevent conflict or clashes. In
addition, USG HAT recommend the potential use of targeted
high-nutrient fodder production programs to address reduced pasture
availability and current restrictions on livestock movement. Areas
for fodder production include riverine areas, in addition to some
agricultural areas, but USG HAT staff note associated opportunity
costs for households related to planting fodder in place of staple
crops. USG HAT staff also recommend expanded animal health services
with an emphasis on disease prevention, including vaccinations and
parasite control, through training and equipping community animal
health workers in the region.

15. USG HAT emphasize that the success of livelihood interventions
within the conflict-affected areas of Somali Region is largely

dependent on GFDRE cooperation. Improvement in current livestock
movement and trade restrictions is required to prevent further
disruption to pastoralist and agro-pastoralist livelihoods and a
deterioration of humanitarian conditions.

YAMAMOTO

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