The 1999 belg agricultural season is likely to be a complete failure, seriously impacting food availability for hundreds of
thousands of people in parts of Tigray, Welo and Shewa, a UN report said.
The report, dated 30 April, from UNDP's Emergencies Unit for Ethiopia, cited government estimates indicating that about one million people dependent on the harvest would now require urgent relief support, at least until the main meher season in November/December.
While the government had late last year highlighted the critical
vulnerability of Welo and Tigray to upcoming food shortages, "no-one anticipated such an early onset of the crisis," the report said. In parts of north Welo, household food reserves were now exhausted, people were leaving their homes in search of relief aid and alarming reports of famine conditions were emerging, with many farmers "poorer and more vulnerable to famine now than they were 15 years ago," it said.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government in April revised its 1999 estimate for the number of people requiring emergency food aid to 3.25 million, up from 2.15 million cited in a December appeal. The new total includes 396,983 people displaced in Tigray and Afar as a result of the conflict with Eritrea, the report said. The revised figure, however, does not take into
account the additional needs that will arise from the anticipated failure of the belg season.
This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions
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