QAFAR PASTORALIST DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION
QAFAR DACARSITTO DADALIH EGLA
|Statement on drought condition and assistance gaps
for urgent address:
March 30th/2006 2 ème communiqué
As you are aware, in December 2004, we held the first Afar Development Conference in Afar National Regional State, Ethiopia. Realizing that the recommendations made were essential to Afar pastoral development going ahead, it is time to review them and plan again. Therefore APDA is inviting all Afar to come or be represented at the meeting. The taskforce planning the conference in Logya has decided on the following framework for the conference:
b) The Broad Agenda will be as follows: January 26th to 30th – conference discussion; January 31st will culminate the event with a long distance race of local Afar, competitive display of Afar dancing and Afar women’s handicraft. The women will have their handicraft for sale and for order.
c) Conference funding: This conference has no deliberate budget. Therefore each of us needs to contribute. Already, the woreda governments in the region have been informed to contribute. All Afar communities beyond Ethiopia should likewise organize their contribution and if possible send it in advance.
Drought and emergency
1. Rain update
In summary the short rains of March/ April did not start before March 28th and have produced sporadic storms leaving some
Zone 1: Eli Daar Woreda received some storms in early May relieving very parched districts but rainfall is far from universal and most of the driest areas only had one or 2 storms. In Dubte drought districts, the grazing plain of Musle remains without any rain. Surrounding areas are now relieved including Daaba, Kori, Lubak Daa, Taasuli.
Zone 2: Good rain fell in Barahale and Konnaba and into Dallol in May.
Zone 3: The zone has continued to receive storms and is mainly free of drought problem
Zone 4: while all woredas have received rain, it has been patchy and not sustained in parts with almost no pasture re-growth to now
Zone 5: Rainstorms have continued in the Zone. Temperatures are now well into the 40’s and the region is in its dry hot season of ‘Hagay’ expecting hot winds. The main rains should come in July/ September.
2.Immediate effects on herds and movement
While rains have fallen, it is uncertain that ground moisture will remain to nurture strong pasture adequately. The likely scenario is
3. Pressure on the population
While grain distribution did resume in all drought – affected woredas in late April, households are still vulnerable since there has
4. Drought and flood emergency responses
As mentioned above, 3 months interrupted food distribution in terms of wheat resumed in late April. The government also hired 8
1. Afar Pastoral Development Forum
The forum now enthusiastically supported through some 17 NGOs working in the region and backed up by a number of peripheral agencies working to promote pastoral development has written a project to support its running costs. The regional government has declared its full appreciation of the idea of such a forum and hopes to see all NGOs in the region embrace membership that development in the region be streamlined. It is agreed that members should meet again in the first week of July to establish partnership in this endeavor. The initial working body and APDA are able to address any discussion in the meantime.
2. Training activities
Currently APDA is running a spate of training activities to expand mobile education, health and improve pastoral women’s income generation as follows:
3. Community cooperative activities
The organization is earnestly seeking to facilitate economic development in the pastoral society. To date, APDA has facilitated the establishment of 3 women’s cooperatives engaged in mobile sale of basic household goods; 3 animal marketing cooperatives and 2 cooperatives of paravets serving their own societies. Since APDA is now seeking to consolidate its community – based cooperative activities in sound training and the facility of ongoing information and advice, during the recent APDA visit to Norway and Sweden, opportunity was taken to discuss and learn of those nations’ expertise and experiences an d even to learn of the struggle of the pastoralist Sammi reindeer herders in the north of Scandinavia.
4. Toward a second Afar Development Conference
APDA had recent opportunity to meet Afar people in London, Oslo and Sweden as well as phone contacts with others. Indeed, these people are making a highly commendable effort to relate the problems of the Afar pastoral society to the international community and there is great enthusiasm to meet again, taking up the agenda of pastoral development in Ethiopia (the first Afar development conference was in December 2004). It is hopeful this event will take place in the first quarter of 2007.
5. A new local development organization in the region
Some Afars have recently established a new organization calling it ‘Dadal’, translated ‘development’. Their main office is in Awash Araba and activities in that district.
6. Afar Eritrean refugees
The Federal government has recently agreed to acknowledge the claim of some 400 – odd Afar youth who have come down from Eritrea in recent months. All of them claim they escaped military call – up, many are well – educated and looking to work and forward their lives. Most of them live in homes of other Afar in Logya and require basic support, further education and work opportunity. These people too have formed themselves into an association with an objective to encourage Afar town – youth to continue education and avoid the pit-falls of the town: kaat- chewing and HIV.
7. Working against harmful practices
While in a growing number of sites APDA works, actual FGM is stopping and people are opting to undertake the lesser circumcision called ‘Sunni’ which entails clitoroidectomy, there are still a number of women who cannot be pursued. APDA is now identifying them to bring them together with the Islamic leadership that they are forced to give up the practice.
8. Working through the process of community response to HIVHaving had considerable success in facilitating community discussion through the said ‘community conversations’ method in Zone 5, APDA is now keen to modify the method to use through the Fia’ma system (traditional associations) to gain community agreement on accepted social behavior in relation to town culture.
With this message, please find attached the statement issued by the regional government, FAO, ACF and APDA. All were party to an 8 – day assessment in Zone 1, 5 and 3 including people who have migrated out of the region as a result of the drought. After discussion in the Regional Pastoral Development Desk – led meeting on March 29th, the following gaps in providing immediate assistance in response to the drought were identified:
The DPP & FSB, funded through UNICEF will transport water as follows: 2 vehicles to Barahale, 2 to Erebti, 2 to Dallol (all in Zone 2) and 2 vehicles to Teeru Woreda in Zone 4.
The DPP & FSB stated they had no fund to transport water in Eli Daar and Dubte Woreda. Furthermore, they stated that funds to support the tanker that had been working in Guluble Af (Dubte Woreda on the Afdeera to Sardo Road ) and for the one vehicle that was running in Eli Daar are now expired. Therefore, support to transport water to an estimated 40,000 thirsty people in Dubte Woreda (north-west) and Eli Daar Woreda was identified as the most urgent need to fill.
B) Animal treatment/ vaccinationWhile FAO representative has estimated the need to de-worm (external and internal parasites), vaccinate and treat animals in identified areas, there is no pledged fund to carry out this work. This is needed to prevent animals deteriorating and slow the animal death rate.
C) Animal feed
Animal feed to assist targeted communities to feed household milk – supplying animals is needed in the case where households are reaching absolute destitution.
D) Human nutrition and medicines
Reports of alarming lack of domestic food means that there is need of support to assist in supplementary child food, nutrition monitoring and health monitoring as well as medicines to combat immanent disease outbreak.
E) Food for work/ food for school children
This is the most practical way of supporting the community to continue development effort as well as targeting needy people.
Brief rain update:
The rainstorm of 28 th March did not reach the identified thirst areas in Dubte and Eli Daar. There has to date been around 5 storms in the latter part of March, all very localized. As the Regional Head of Pastoral Development said, such rain is more trouble than it is worth as it attracts Afar to go where the rain has fallen but the effects of that rain are extremely confined.
1. Background to assessment
1.1 The rain
After an average main rain season from July to September in 2005 (rain of this season showed shortcoming in the August rainfall
there have only been 4 storms in Zone 1 and 4 (affecting parts of Uwa, Awra and Teeru in Zone 4 and the southern kebele of Eli Daar and 2 kebeles in Mille Woreda.) These brief storms do not yet indicate that the short – rains have in fact begun. Thirst that was first registered in February worsens daily.
1.2 Dubte and Eli Daar woreda assessments
Having had no response to government (ETV) – quoted drought information in early March, the DPPB – led meeting on March 16th took the decision to send 3 rapid – assessment teams to drought – affected areas as follows: first team led by UNICEF water section to Zones 2 and 4; a team led by APDA to Dubte and Eli Daar Woredas in Zone 1 and a third team led by Action Contre le Faim to Chefa in Amhara Region and parts where Afar cattle have migrated to. APDA - led team (Bureau of Health, Agriculture and Livestock Bureau and DPPB) undertook a 7 – day assessment from March 17th to 23rd as follows:
In Eli Daar woreda: Amaad between Manda and Boore, people displaced from the Eritrean border (Daabu) living on the northern outskirts for the town, Su’ula, Esseylu, Abaqa, Doobi, Lafoffli, Goowah, Paradizo, Hullelee, Dubte woreda: from Sardo as far as 140 kilometers on the Sardo to Afdeera Road and off - road for 30 kilometers to Musle and on to Lubak Daa.
2. Statement of drought condition as found
(Please note: beyond the drought assessment team, information is also taken from APDA’s 43 field coordinators meeting from March 23rd to 26th)
2.1 Thirst and household stress in collecting water
Thirst was the foremost evident drought problem in all visited districts, along with household exhaustion and stress incurred in collecting water. In Eli Daar town, around 100 camels are coming daily from the surrounding countryside as far away as 30 kilometers to collect household water. With only 2 functional pumps in the Eli Daar dry river, people are waiting up to 2 days to fill one jerrican. In Amaad, northern Eli Daar 13 children died of thirst over the past 7 months according to a local person.
Again he claimed 15 goats had died in the district over the past 6 days from tick infestation. Water transport camels are to weak to make the entire 12 hours around – trip journey to fetch water and have to be backed up with a relief – camel part way.
Schools and clinics in the rural areas are fast becoming non-functional due to lack of water. In Guyah 60 kilometers from roadside Sardo, 25 liter jerrican is selling for 10:00. Two vehicles hired to deliver water in the Guluble Af (74 kilometers from Sardo) and Guyah appear to have a haphazard schedule each car delivering water no more than twice weekly. In Guluble Af, water is rationed to 3 to 4 LITERS per household per delivery – aside from the 100 – household settlement, people are coming from the surrounding areas to try and get water in Guluble Af. Beyond this supply, people walk a 24 – hour round trip to beyond Ta’asuli to collect water. In northern Eli Daar, Boore water again is sold for 2 to 3:00 per jerrican. Merchants bringing water from Su’ula borehole, 35 kilometers south are selling a 13,000 liter load for 500:00 ETB.
2.2 Pasture condition/ animal diseases
Almost all districts visited have dry grazing pasture that is exacerbated by the fact that where pasture is found, water is not available. In most cases, animals are fed from tree/ shrub pods or cut branches. This stress is added while animals are walked vast distances to water and is resulting in extensive animal death in Amaad, Me’edola, Aba’a, Beda, Aminto,Garbori all in Eli Daar wereda and Uduhtum, Ta’asuli, Guluble af, Guyah and Musle of Dubte wereda. The observed prevalent diseases show the same symptoms in all visited kebeles, some of them CCPP, diarrhea, respiratory infection, mange and so on.
Beyond the fact that cattle and goats are dying, Afar are describing the status of animal health by saying the camels are tooweak to be used as transport animals.
2.3 Household food availability
In all districts, the team found the community dependant on relief grain: milk in the community is all but zero, butter in most communities has not been produced in 2 years, meat is not slaughtered for fear of animal diseases. While woreda officials in Eli Daar described the normal 15 kilograms per household distribution, the reality found was one sack per 2 households. In Guluble Af, the situation found was one sack per 3 households. While no real assessment was made, the team described child malnutrition as ‘evident’ There is no food in the community suiting weaning children. Again, it is clear that the current situation is a continuation of the declining household food security situation evidenced in the 2004/05 drought. APDA’s Gaawane field coordinator reported that 8 women died in the Gaawane district in the first week after childbirth – all with swelling the community relate to anaemia.
2.4 Human health
Several districts through the drought assessment team and through APDA coordinators reported pockets where the recent January/ February measles vaccination did not reach and there are still active child cases. Remarkable reports came from Dabal kebele in Dubte Woreda where a large range of pastoralists has congregated to graze the cotton residue. There some 20 children have recently died of measles. Again, in Awra, according to APDA coordinators, measles is evident in un-reached kebeles as well as whooping cough. Guyah in north - west Dubte woreda also is still battling measles. Whooping cough, influenza and rubella are still evident in many districts. Contaminated water is causing havoc in areas drinking the last of water sources.
3. APDA’s appeal
In view of the above and APDA’s experience record, the organization is appealing for resource to assist the pastoral community as follows: a) Immediate water tankering to overcome thirst. APDA wishes to target Eli Daar and Dubte thirst areas. The organization needs to hire 8 vehicles daily: 4 in Dubte woreda and 4 in Eli Daar assisting 34,600 people with 3 liters daily. b) Resource to utilize health workers in health/ nutrition assessment and treatment c) Animal treatment to stop disease spread d) Animal feed/ fodder for particular communities/ targeted households in those communities to feed household milking animals (goats/ cattle) e) Food for work – construction of ponds/ roads and school – feeding (APDA has some 8,000 odd students – this quarter there was a phenomenal school drop out). Project proposals and any other additional information regarding the above needs are available on request. This statement is APDA’s. Following the March 27th meeting, APDA will again send out the then government – agreed government statement.
As the critical situation in Teeru Woreda, Zone 4 seems to have turned a corner, Zone 1 now looms as the ‘hotspot’ of drought affect with thirst and lack of pasture specifically Eli Daar Woreda and north-west Dubte woreda. Eli Daar Woreda is currently tinder-dry, bereft of water and pasture. The woreda officials reported on February 21 st that 70 families had walked into the woreda administrative center from Aba’a kebele claiming they had lost their entire family herd. This kebele is extremely remote on the north- western border of the woreda and APDA intends to walk there to verify this. In Zone 2, January 20 th storm in Barahale Woreda, eastern part of Konnaba and Afdeera Woreda eased the situation. Dallol remains without rain relief and Eribeti is also dry.
The drought crisis remains characterized by thirst in the known drier areas of the region, animal death accountable to both disease outbreak and poor/ lack of pasture. Those herds that migrated to the highland districts in Tigray and Amhara Region are now obliged to return since the farmers in those districts are about to prepare the land for crop – growing. The contentious issue and need, that of selected animal feeding to save a milking/ breeding herd remains unresolved, without response.
Since the one storm of January 20 th in the central/ eastern part of the region that rejuvenated some grazing in Uwa, Awra, Goolina, Yallo and Teeru Woredas of Zone 4, there has been no further reported rain aside from March 1 st rain storm that fell in the Awash to Gowaneh stretch, Zone 3. Critical thirst areas are in Eli Daar Woreda as apparent along the Assab Road going north to Boore and on the Sardo to Afdeera Road going north – west through the remote districts of Dubte Woreda. As of this week, APDA now has 6 water trucks delivering on the Afdeera Road and to communities proximal to the road and 3 along the Assab Road going north through Eli Daar Woreda. This is currently meeting these districts’ needs but the Afdeera Road project completes in 10 days.
In Teeru Woreda where at least 95% of the cattle herd has died and around 50% of the sheep have perished, animal death has dropped remarkably since APDA began animal treatment 2 weeks ago. Also, since the January 20 th rainstorm fell in part of the woreda and the Awra River shed water into the woreda, pasture has rejuvenated. This has now turned the tables: as of February 18 th , vast animals herds from Zone 1 – Dubte district where they had been grazing cotton stubble and Geega in western Dubte Woreda began moving toward Awra and Teeru Woredas. Tens of thousands of cattle have entered Teeru Woreda and goats and sheep are grazing in Awra Woreda.
In Sifra and Uwa Woredas where grazing was not well – established after the January storm animals are beginning to die again.
In Teeru, APDA health workers have averted a critical diarrhea outbreak and responded directly to found cases of acute malnutrition. (Medical activity report available.) While food distribution is reportedly increased, it is equally reported as inadequate and not evenly distributed to those in need. In needy woredas, the ration assists between 2 and 3 households with 50 kgs of grain per month. Market prices are critical and goats sell for as low as 10.00 ETB and cows 50.00 ETB.
In the Alaalu kebele of Teeru, a clan elder has organized a team of 100 youth to dig a massive pond that will eventually be around 10,000 cubic meters. A team of women sit as the youth dig boiling tea and supplying cold water. Other smaller ponds are also being constructed.
Critical need to intensify and widen animal treatment as well as respond to the most pasture – deplete areas with selected animal feeding is apparent. This drought is producing and likely to produce more absolute household destitution.
APDA health workers need to continue to respond to disease outbreak through health education/ mobilization (carcass burning), basic treatment, MUAC nutrition monitoring and vaccination. For this, the organization continues to require resources.
Under the constraints of this current drought, teaching is extremely difficult: both the teachers and the students are moving frequently to secure their herds. In some districts, where people have congregated to gain water from tankers, student numbers have risen. Despite this, the general mood is driven by the realization of the importance of education to assure a way forward for the Afar society. Indeed, in that discussion, woreda and local leaders are expressing the importance of female education.
Within the World Bank funded Pastoral Community Development Project in Konnaba Woreda, APDA has begun a literacy campaign as the basis of selecting and training community members as health workers, community teachers, women extension workers and paravets. This campaign is greeted with much enthusiasm, particularly in the most inaccessible parts of the woreda. Again, APDA is training 39 people in Afar literacy and numeracy from Buramudayto Woreda, Zone 3 so that they can undertake health workers’ training and traditional birth attendant training facilitated by ICRC.
Finally, Mille Woreda kebele leaders are undertaking literacy training, the second such training for the woreda. Within the woreda, there will now be 30 literate kebele leaders and 10 literate clan elders.
APDA primary health workers are frantically busy following the difficulties the community is facing under drought. While measles has not reappeared in districts that were effectively vaccinated in 2002/03 (measles is apparently causing child – death in Gowaneh, Zone 3), whooping cough is troubling many communities. Currently, a group of 38 health workers are undertaking the second 3 months training of the 6 months course.
With radio – communication controlled ambulance inaugurated by the Japanese Embassy on January 15 th, APDA primary health work now moves into a new era of assisting in emergency referral and improved program efficiency with base radios in 2 remote districts so far.
The now completed community center for response to the HIV & AIDS in Logya is setting a precedent in hands - on assistance as well as serving as a youth recreation center. APDA remains anxious to respond to the critical situation of HIV spread in Afdeera, the shanty - town serving the salt – producers.
UNDP – sponsored project in Zone 5 using the methodology of ‘community conversation’, an idea captured from the Kambatta people, to get communities devising their own response to HIV & AIDS as well as harmful practices. This project fits well to the Afar tradition of information sharing.
APDA attended the February 2,3 conference in Djibouti on Female Genital Mutilation, bringing back the declaration that any form of female circumcision is condemned. This, the organization will take up to further enhance the Regional Government stance taken in June 2004 that the practice of FGM should be punished. With the recently produced local film on FGM, the organization is well – equipped to hold further community discussions and mobilize toward stopping FGM as well as raising the rights of women within traditional marriage.
The final document of the December – held Afar Development Conference is now available from the organization or the www.arhotabba.com site. There is an identified forum between APDA and the Regional Government to carry the conference recommendations forward.
APDA will be part of the coming government conference on development gathering the region’s intellectuals. On February 28 th,the Regional Government met with APDA in Awash discussing APDA’s 2005 to 2009 Strategic Plan and an assessment report of the organization’s best practices. This discussion, led by the Regional President with Heads of DPP &FS, Capacity Building, Water Resources, Health, Cooperative and Afar Language Development and Enrichment Bureaus participating, concluded that APDA’s relation with the government must be strengthened. SNV and Oxfam Great Britain as part of a Strategic Alliance Project to strengthen capacity to implement development in the pastoralist society were also there.
The ground-level expert assessment to establish community radio in Afar Region has been done. APDA is now taking the matter further with the Minister of Information in order to assure this utterly vital vehicle of development materializes in the pastoral society.
Update of the Critical, Looming Drought and Displacement Disaster in Afar Region and Appeal for
The following information is taken from the Head of Mille Security and from a day’s visit in the Chefa Valley, Dawe Taffa Woreda, Amhara Region where he is managing the displacement.
During January, there have been major, unprecedented movements of Afar with their herds in a drastic effort for the herdsmen to rescue their dying household assets, their remaining cattle. The most massive movement has been of whole clan groups from Goolina, Awra, Uwa, Yallo Woredas of Zone 4 and Sifra and Mille Woredas of Zone 1. Even some group of Afar men from Teeru Woreda have journeyed firstly to the grasses of Yeldi in Mille Woreda and finally to the Issa – conflict zone between Adayto and Gowaneh in Zone 3 – a total distance of almost 350 kilometers from their home. According to the Head of Security, Mille Woreda who said he had been on the highland asphalt road for the past 3 months negotiating the safe passage of herds – families and securing relations with the neighboring groups, movement has been as follows:
The Head of Security reported that he is regularly negotiating with the local farmers as hungry herds devour highland crops. He claims that they ate out 200,000 ETB worth of grassland in the hills of Kallu Woreda and he is appealing to the Regional Government to settle this amount.
The drastic thing of this movement is that, because they are moving without the usual plan and understanding/ agreement of the communities, the pastoral families are going almost without possessions: no house, almost no clothes or cover and no facility to feed themselves. What APDA witnessed in the Chefa Valley is that mothers and children as well as their men are sleeping out in the open, unable to use any form of fuel, selling off what animals they can to get ‘cooked’ food (packets of biscuits mostly), totally exposed to the highland cold. Women interviewed said they left their home districts with their men since the pasture was exhausted and there was no other food for them in their home woredas.
Within the region, herdsmen are so desperate that 1,000’s of cattle have broken lines in the Dubte Tendaho Cotton Plantation and are now eating through 38 hectares of cotton crop before it had had its second cotton harvest.
The people in Chefa Valley urgently need:
350 households so far have entered the Assab Roadside village of Boore fleeing from insecurity in their border – home district of Daabo, northern Eli Daar Woreda following and incident in late December. Apparently people are still coming by the night in ones and twos. Of the 350 families that arrived, 30% brought animals with them. International agencies have visited them and verified their status. These displaced people claim they cannot return since they will be assumed as anti-Eritrean government. In Boore, they are sheltering with relatives or in a group together. ICRC has met some of their non-food needs but the situation deserves careful monitoring in view of the war – time experience of this community and the fact that they claim there are others who will similarly flee.
3. Urgent unmet needs to address the crisis in Teeru
As of early January, the regional government had begun moving relief grain to Teeru to commence a full distribution. Too, assistance is being sort to establish animal treatment. However the remaining vital components of the rescue package are that of animal feeding and human health service.
Since drying grazing fodder for cattle and sheep is the root factor of these herd – type deaths, animal feed is vital to save a selected milking/ breeding herd in the affected households. To save this herd, in the end will be around 30% of the cost per head to re-stock the family from destitution once the herd has died. The added advantage of securing milk in the household is also paramount. Please contact APDA and Action Contre le Faim regarding this project.
This community lives under the immanent danger of catastrophic disease outbreak since the environment is continually littered with dead and dying animals. Too, the people are living on a highly inadequate diet. APDA wants to put 20 health workers among this community for the coming 3 months until the expected short rainy season. The health workers will monitor, health educate, burn carcasses, perform basic treatment and generally be the link between the affected community and the rest of the region. APDA has costing for this and invites any contribution.
Digital photos of both the situation in Teeru Woreda and the Chefa Valley, Amhara Region are available on request.