Ethiopia: Where is the HRD (Humanitarian Requirements Documents) for 2013?
By Yakume A
- 1. Humanitarian situation of the country
Ethiopia remains one of the world’s least developed countries, ranked 174 out of 187 in the 2011 UNDP Human Development Index. The Ethiopian government is not willing to see relief aid going to the pastoralist areas; Oromo, Afar, Gambella and Somali (Ogaden) regions. Ethiopian government blocks humanitarian food aid and operations, diverts and distort food aid to feed military forces and militias in the Somali region (Ogaden). Because of the ongoing conflict, military operations, humanitarian crisis and human abuses government targets humanitarian agencies (UN and NGOs) and their staff. Humanitarian agencies and media have no access to operate in the Ogaden region. Ethiopia’s donors and UN are aware of these problems, but have done little to address the problems or tackle their own role in underwriting government repression.
In August 2012, the federal Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) confirmed with 3.7 million people who need humanitarian assistance between August-December 2012. 41% of those in need of assistance are in Somali State (Ogaden). Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) confirmed 1, 539,279 people (30% of the population) in the region who lack food, water and health, and other basic services.
- 2. Humanitarian Situation in the Somali (Ogaden region)
The Early Warning reports from the Somali Regional Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB) have mapped 50 Woredas / Districts (75 per cent of the Woredas of the region) for water trucking between July and mid-October 2012. The Somali Regional State Multi-agency Gu 2012 Seasonal Assessment Report (June 1 – 25, 2012) confirmed closure of 78 schools (31 formal schools and 47 Alternative Basic Education centres for 914 students of which 33.5% are female) in Wardher, Afder, Gode, Liban and Degahbour zones. Livestock body condition in Shinile has gradually deteriorated and cattle and shoats were emaciated, while the malnutrition situation (high malnutrition cases, increased morbidity and disease outbreaks) is very critical.
The Government Early Warning Report in January 2013 have indicated that, “based on the Therapeutic Feeding Program (TFP) monthly reports received from the 9 Zones of the Somali region, a total of 1,789 severely malnourished children were admitted in 316 reporting TFP sites (out of 530 active sites) in December 2012 with report completion rate 59.6%. According to the monthly TFP reports 91.4%, 3.4% and 0.5% were cure, defaulter and death rates respectively. As you can see in the graph below the overall admission shows stable except few month with almost similar reporting rate”.
- 3. Humanitarian Requirements Document
The HRD (Humanitarian Requirements Document) is a joint government and humanitarian partners’ appeal document for the people require relief food assistance and also humanitarian requirements (both food and non-food sectors) in each year. However, the Humanitarian Requirements Document issued by the government and humanitarian partners in each year, with some details about the number of the needy people and aid required in the country. Up to now, there is no sign of releasing the Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) for 2013.
The Humanitarian Requirements Document (HRD) for 2013 was not yet released, but in somewhere in federal government offices; between the Prime Minter and Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) Offices in Addis Ababa. So, what went wrong in this year? Where is the HRD (Humanitarian Requirements Document) for 2013? What are the reasons for not releasing the document in December 2012? When and who will approve and release the document Or the document is gone with Meles? There are many questions about the HRD (Humanitarian Requirements Document) for 2013, which indicate the size of the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia, lack of the accountability from the government side, and the need for urgent and emergency interventions in the drought and conflict affected areas of the country. Government spends allot of money, other resources and facilities on their officials’ trips to Europe, Dubai, USA and Nairobi, but is not giving consideration to the needy pastoralists and farmers in the country, and the key humanitarian planning document (Humanitarian Requirements Document for 2013) is in somewhere at federal level.
- 4. Conclusions and Recommendations
In Ethiopia, food cannot get in and nobody can report that. UN and NGOs staff face regular harassment by government authorities. Government forces prevented humanitarian staff from going beyond main centers to verify aid deliveries in the Ogaden. The former UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator (John Holmes) report to the UN Security Council noted “no one from the UN has been allowed to visit many of the remote rural areas where the conflict has been worst, admitting that the situation could be more serious in those areas”. The UN’s mandate is to help the needy and vulnerable people specifically in the disaster and conflict places like the Ogaden. It’s clear this mandate has not been followed in the Ethiopia case. Instead, the aid and trade have been blocked and UN and humanitarian staff have been targeted and detained by the Ethiopian regime.
The government punished local communities and also authorities in the regions by accusing them that, they support rebels and opposition groups! Foreign missions, journalists, humanitarian agencies and workers are not allowed to travel to the drought and conflict affected areas in the country, especially in the Ogaden region. However, poor humanitarian management with serious violations and detention of the aid workers and absence of rule of law in Ethiopia will not change the humanitarian situation in the region. The problem with the Ethiopian government is very clear, but there are questions about silence of the UN and donor government and organizations about Ethiopian government and its organized crimes on aid delivery and access problems in the drought and conflict affected areas of the country, especially in the Ogaden region.