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Ethiopia: Humanitarian Bulletin 03 Dec 2007


Ethiopia: Humanitarian Bulletin 03 Dec 2007

Somali region update

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (USG) and Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC), Sir John Holmes, completed a two day visit in Ethiopia on 28 November.

During his visit, the ERC met with the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister and State Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Somali Region President, members of the diplomatic community, donor mission, NGOs, press and the UN country team. He also visited Kebridehar and Jijiga towns in Somali Regional State.

The ERC described the humanitarian situation in the five zones under military operation as potentially serious and stressed the need for immediate humanitarian action, including the resumption of trade, to avert a major humanitarian catastrophe.

In his meeting with Government officials, the ERC shared his observation about the humanitarian situation in Somali Region and discussed issues of access and freedom of commercial activity among other issues. He also discussed ways in which the UN could support the Government in its efforts to provide relief to affected population.

The humanitarian Coordination forums both in Jijiga and Kebridehar are ongoing. Efforts are underway to revitalize the regional sectoral taskforces. To date, the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA) has dispatched approximately 9,700 tons of relief food commodities to the five zones.

According to WFP Degehabur Field Office and NGOs on the ground, distributions have started in Degehabur town, Kebridehar woreda and some areas in Fik zones - in Kebridehar, approximately 215 tonnes have been distributed. Some improvements are observed with regards to access; in Korahe, the UN has been allowed to move freely in the zone.

Furthermore, the multi-agency assessment team has been granted access to Fik and Korahe zone. WFP, however, has not been able to carry out monitoring trips to Warder zone thus far. Distributions of medical and nutritional supplies as well as water chemical materials provided by the RHB and UNICEF to the 41 satellite health facilities are ongoing. UNICEF plans to establish Outpatient Therapeutic Programme (OTPs) in the ten health facilities.

An Enhanced Outreach Strategy (EOS) screening and measles campaign will shortly commence in 13 woredas in the five affected zones. Furthermore, UNICEF has conducted water scheme assessment in three drought prone areas of Gode, Liben and Afder zones. Similar assessments are planned to follow in the remaining six zones.

A DPPA-led Nutrition assessment team is being deployed to Fik and Korahe to verify reports of severe malnutrition. Meanwhile, recent FEWSNET reports indicate that the October-December deyr rains have so far been erratic and below normal in most areas in the region. Weather forecasts for the remainder of the season are also unfavourable.

FMOH: AWD Cases decreasing

According to the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), reports of AWD cases are decreasing in most affected Regions. During the week, 40 woredas in 18 zones reported cases; while a month ago, reports came from 112 woredas in 30 zones.

Although the decrease is attributed to the ongoing intervention activities and end of the rainy season, further assessment needs to be undertaken as the major risk factors for the continuous spread of the disease have not been adequately addressed.

Emphasis needs to be given to priority areas including community mobilization on personal and environmental hygiene, provision of safe and adequate water supply and support for multi sectoral coordination and post epidemic assessment. Meanwhile, WHO continues to support response by providing technical assistance in the affected regions including the provision of drugs and medical supplies as well as supporting coordination efforts at regional and woreda levels.

UNICEF Provides Emergency Education Support To Various Regions

UNICEF has distributed 162 long-lasting, movable and child friendly classroom tents to emergency prone areas of Gambella, Oromiya, Tigray, Somali, Tigray, Afar, Amhara, SNNP, Benishangul and Harari regions. The tents serve as temporary learning centers for over 8,100 children displaced due to conflict and flood.

The tents, donated by the Norwegian government, can later be converted to permanent classrooms. UNICEF is in the process of distributing an additional 72 tents to six regions including Somali, upon request from regional Bureaus of Education.

Pastoralist Gathering in Hudet, Somali Region

A pastoralist gathering brought together clan leaders and elders from Somali, Afar and Oromiya regions, officials from all levels of government, members of parliament, pastoralist representatives from Kenya and Somaliland, as well as a number of NGOs and international organizations discussed a range of pressing issues affecting pastoralists in the Somali Region.

During the gathering, which took place in Hudet, Liben zone, Somali Region from 28 November-2 December, pastoralists representing all the ethnic groups of Ethiopia's Somali National Regional State decided to give priority to peace in the region.

ENDS

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