Humanitarian Health Action

Ethiopia - Emergency and Humanitarian Action (EHA) Weekly update 46 - 9-15 November 2009


  • As of 22 October, the Early Warning Response Directorate (EWRD)/Emergency Nutrition Coordination Unit (ENCU) and WFP have revised the national woreda hotspot list. According to the updated list, the number of priority one woredas has decreased from 182 to 171, a 6.4% reduction, while the overall number of hotspot woredas (priority 1-3) has increased since last June.
  • According to Federal MoH, no new case of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) has been between 9 and 15 November, but prevention interventions remain paramount to prevent another outbreak.


  • The overall security situation remains stable. No major security incidents involving humanitarian staff members have been reported.
Food security and malnutrition
  • The latest update by the Somali Region Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB) and Save the Children-UK reports a slight improvement of food security thanks to the good performance of the deyr rains. The deyr rains have also significantly replenished water sources in Gode, Afder, Liben, Degehabur and Fik zones, bringing emergency water tankering interventions to an end. In Korahe, Warder and parts of Shinile zones, however, serious water shortages persist.
  • In Afar, the latest DPPB/Save the Children-UK report recommends close monitoring of food security due to the recurrent dry spells and the absence of recovery periods between them, which have exhausted the coping strategies of the pastoralist population.
  • In Oromiya, a Government/NGO rapid assessment in Borena zone from 24 to 27 October has found the food and nutritional security of communities in all woredas to be of concern due to the poor performance of the current hagaya rains, coming on top of the previous poor ganna (mid-March to May) harvest. The situation is particularly serious in Miyo, Dhas, Malkasoda, Abaya, Dilla and Moyale woredas. Malnutrition was widely observed among adults, as compared to children, who are given priority to meals under Borena traditions. The team recommends close monitoring of the food security.
  • In SNNPR, WFP reports that the current short hagaya rains in the pastoral and agro-pastoral areas of South Omo zone have significantly improved the food security situation there.
Acute watery diarrhoea (AWD)
  • AWD cases are declining across the country, but WHO field consultants are reporting AWD cases in Amibara, Gewani, Buremudaitu and Argoba woredas of Afar region. Most of the cases are occurring among migrant labourer populations and communities engaged in charcoal production in Amibara woreda. In Somali Region, the AWD outbreak remains a threat in flood-affected areas. Risk factors include the lack of access to safe water and proper sanitation facilities, movement of daily labourers, and overcrowded living conditions in large farms and holy water sites.
Influenza A (H1N1) update
  • According to the FMoH, no new cases of Influenza A H1N1have been reported this week. The total number of confirmed cases in the country is still six. WHO is supporting the FMoH to set priorities for vaccine deployment.


Food insecurity and malnutrition
  • CARE reports that food and nutritional security in most parts of East/West Hararghe and Borena zones (Oromiya) and South Gonder zone (Amhara) remains of concern. The failure of the belg rains followed by the late start and early cessation of meher rains affected crop production. Although the resumption of the meher rains has improved the prospects for late crops and pasture and water availability, their contribution to seasonal crop production is minimal.
  • The admission of malnourished children under five to the CARE out-patient therapeutic programme (OTP) sites in East and West Hararghe zones is. At the end of October, children were receiving OTP treatment in East Hararghe zone (Grawa, Kurfachelle, Bedeno and Haromaya woredas), and 1402 in West Hararghe zone (Doba, Chiro, Gemechis woredas).
Acute watery diarrhoea (AWD)
  • The continued presence of risk factors – poor quality of water supply, inadequate health services in some woredas, poor sanitation and hygiene and inadequate food safety practices – contributes to the persistence of the epidemic. In some parts of the country, the risks of AWD outbreak due to recent rains is increasing. Areas of concern are the private state farms and holy water sites. Efforts are under way to ensure better preparedness in these sites.


Food insecurity and malnutrition
  • WHO continues to provide technical support to regions for rolling out of OTP, monitoring and on-job training of health workers on the management of severe acute malnutrition.
  • As the roll out of therapeutic feeding programmes (TFP) in drought-affected regions proceeds, partners continue to support the Federal MoH in establishing OTP services at the kebele level in the most affected areas.
Acute watery diarrhoea
  • WHO continues to provide technical support for regions to strengthen AWD surveillance, early warning, assessment of AWD response, and on-the-job training to health workers on AWD case management.
  • WHO has deployed one international and ten national consultants in the field for emergency health and nutrition response.


  • WHO participated in the technical officers/UNOCHA, WASH Cluster/Ministry of Water Resources, Nutrition Cluster and Ethiopian Humanitarian Country Team (EHCT)/UNDP meetings in Addis Ababa.
  • WHO is supporting and facilitating coordination for the preparedness and response of influenza A by the UN country team and AWD by the FMOH and the RHBs.


  • WHO is working with the Federal MoH, regional health bureaus and partners to strengthen Information and data sharing at federal and regional levels. Current humanitarian response interventions are supported by funds from Finland, the Humanitarian Relief Fund (HRF) and WHO internal contributions.

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