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OCHA: Regional Outlook for the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region: Recommendations for Humanitarian Action and Resilience Response – October to December 2016 October 27, 2016

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Due to the convergence of climatic, conflict, and economic shocks, the number of food insecure people in the region facing Crisis and Emergency (IPC 3 and 4) levels, has doubled in the last 12 months from 11.0 million in September 2015 to 23.4 million people today. The worst affected countries are Ethiopia (9.7 million people), South Sudan (4.79 million people), and Sudan (4.42 million people).

In Ethiopia, anti-government protests by the Oromo and Amhara ethnic groups continued with reports of casualties among protesters and security forces. OHCHR has called upon the Ethiopian government to permit the deployment of independent observers into the country to access the human rights situation.


Drought exacerbated by El Niño, combined with extensive flooding, disease outbreaks and the disruption of basic public services, continue to have a negative impact on the lives and livelihoods of 9.7 million Ethiopians. Overall food security and agricultural production remain severely affected, with cascading effects on livelihoods, nutrition, health, water, sanitation, education and other sectors.

Number of children reached by nutrition screening dropped in Amhara and Oromia

The number of children reached by nutrition screening reduced significantly since July in Amhara and Oromia, coinciding with the increased unrest in the two regions. The drop was most significant in Oromia, where the number of children screened went down from an average of 3 million between January and June to 2.1 million in August. In Amhara screenings reduced from an average of 920,000 in the first half of the year to some 380,000 in August. In contrast, the Afar region has maintained an 80 per cent screening coverage on a monthly basis, according to the Nutrition Cluster. read-more-at-humanitarian_bulletin_24_october_2016

Internally displaced persons in Babile and Kubi need urgent humanitarian assistance

Some 5,100 internally displaced families in Babile and Kubi woredas of the Somali region need urgent humanitarian assistance. According to recent multi-sectoral assessment, priority needs include some 650 metric tons of food per month for the next four months as well as supplementary feeding for children and pregnant and lactating mothers, clean water, and emergency shelter and non-food items. The new displacement is the result of resource-based conflict that started in June-July 2015 in East and West Hararge zones of the Oromia region. The Oromia and Somali region officials are discussing on a possible return of the IDPs to their areas of origin. read-more-at-humanitarian_bulletin_24_october_2016


Read more at: OCHA Regional Outlook for the Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region: Recommendations for Humanitarian Action and Resilience Response – October to December 2016

It presents a four-month trend analysis from June to September 2016 and a humanitarian outlook from October to December 2016

Financial Times: Ethiopian unrest triggers collapse in tourism. #OromoProtests #OromoRevolution October 27, 2016

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Ethiopia:“Things are effectively on hold,” said Jim Louth, owner of Undiscovered Destinations, a UK travel company. “If anyone inquires, our policy is to say people are being advised not to go.”  Financial Times

#OromoProtests: “Strikes, ‘ghost town days’ and non-violent protests are more common now because they’re so much harder to police, even under the state of emergency.”  Financial Times

Ethiopian unrest triggers collapse in tourism

Protests and state of emergency see bookings to historic sites grind to a halt

A wave of anti-government protests has caused a collapse in tourist bookings to Ethiopia 

A wave of anti-government protests and the imposition of a state of emergency has triggered a collapse in tourism bookings in Ethiopia, underlining the effect the unrest is having on one of Africa’s best-performing economies.

As the demonstrations spread across the country, governments, including the US, UK, Australia, Canada and Ireland, have advised their citizens against all non-essential travel to the country or Amhara and Oromia regions at the centre of the instability.

Hailemariam Desalegn, Ethiopia’s prime minister, has said the death toll from the demonstrations, which began last November and have been exacerbated by the authoritarian regime’s brutal crackdown on protesters, could be as high as 500. Thousands of people have been arrested and the government imposed a state of emergency as it grapples with the biggest threat to the Horn of Africa nation’s stability in years. The protests originally began over land disputes, but the state’s harsh response caused them to spiral into broader protests against the government.

An American woman was killed after being caught up in a protest on the outskirts of Addis Ababa, the capital, this month.

Travel companies said bookings to the country — home to ancient Christian sites and spectacular highlands — have virtually ground to halt as the unrest and travel warnings keep visitors away.

“Things are effectively on hold,” said Jim Louth, owner of Undiscovered Destinations, a UK travel company. “If anyone inquires, our policy is to say people are being advised not to go.”

Tourism has become an important part of the economy, which has been growing at an annual average of about 10 per cent over the past decade as Ethiopia has attracted increasing levels of foreign investment.

The government estimates the sector contributes about 4.5 per cent of gross domestic product, or $2.9bn. The indirect contribution, through investment, is the same, while about 1.5m people are thought to earn their living from the industry.

More than 750,000 foreign tourists visited Ethiopia last year, with the US by far the largest country of origin, followed by China, Britain and Germany, according to government data.


The blow to tourism comes amid rising investor uncertainty as foreign companies, particularly flower farms and textile factories, have been targeted in a string of attacks that have caused tens of millions of dollars of damage.

The International Monetary Fund warned just before the state of emergency was imposed this month that attracting foreign investment will be crucial to sustaining the high growth rates.

Some travel companies said one problem is that while some of Ethiopia’s most popular sites — such as the city of Aksum — are not located in Amhara or Oromia, people have to travel through those regions to reach them.

“People on their first visit will want to go to the main sites and not be stressed,” said the UK-based Ultimate Travel Company. “More adventurous travellers might still go to places like the Omo valley that haven’t been affected, but most people will simply wait.”

The Ethiopian Tourism Organisation, a government body, insisted that “all tourist areas of the country are safe”.

“It is as safe now for tourists and business visitors to travel in Ethiopia as it has been for the last 22 years since the new constitution has been introduced,” it said in a statement.

Kiros Mahari, the general manager of the Ethiopian Tour Operators Association, said that “while there has been some unrest for a while, the situation has been restored back to normal”.

Emma Gordon, an analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, a risk consultancy, said such statements “come across as unbelievable”.

“The situation is quieter now than a few weeks ago, but the protests have not stopped,” she said. “Strikes, ‘ghost town days’ and non-violent protests are more common now because they’re so much harder to police, even under the state of emergency.”

Ms Gordon predicted that once the protesters had worked out how to cope with the state of emergency, which bans all protests, political communication on social media, and political gatherings, “there will be an upsurge in unrest”.


#OromoProtests, #OromoRevolution: The point of no return in Ethiopia

Ethiopia Ranked 4th Most Fragile State


Slow Food: Ethiopia: Repression, land grabbing and hunger. #OromoRevolution #OromoProtests October 27, 2016

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Ethiopia: Repression, land grabbing and hunger

A story told all too often, especially in Africa. Tear gas, rubber bullets, police charges: the State’s answer to public protest. Nor has the latest wave of murders come suddenly or unexpectedly; it is simply the latest in a catalogue of incidents stretching back to last November, when the Ethiopian government first made public its plans to expand the capital, Addis Ababa, into the surrounding countryside, displacing a significant number of farmers. While those plans appear to have been shelved temporarily, the danger is far from over.

On Sunday in Bishoftu, in the Oromia region, just 40km south-east of the capital, the protests grew out of the traditional Irrecha religious festival, where an estimated two million people were gathered. Community elders seen as being allied to the government were prevented from speaking, and the police responded violently, causing a stampede which saw dozens of protestors fall to their deaths from cliffs.

stop killing Oromo People

While in many media outlets, the focus is on ethnic tensions between the Oromo people (the single largest ethnicity in the country) and the Tigrayan minority, this doesn’t give us the full picture. The reality in Ethiopia is one of extreme food insecurity, which has been made worse this year by failed rains, with between 50 and 90 per cent of crops lost in some regions. The government itself estimated that 4.5 million people were in need of emergency food assistance in August, while UNICEF puts the total figure of people in need of humanitarian assistance in the country at over 10 million.

The importance of agriculture to the Ethiopian economy cannot be underestimated: over 80% of the workforce are directly employed in it, and it account for a similar amount of the country’s exports. The desire to increase the latter at the expense of the former threatens to make matters much worse. The government would particularly like to increase sugar production, and has announced its desire to be one of the top-ten sugar producers in the world by 2023. Such plans could mean more mass displacement of indigenous peoples, further exacerbate interethnic tensions and cause further migration out of the country.

One of the drivers in this new direction for the Ethiopian government is Chinese investment, which totals more than $20 billion since 2005. The Chinese-built railway linking the capital to the port of Dijibouti has been built for freight, not passengers: it’s for taking Ethiopian exports out of the country. Making a profit from industrial agriculture will require a large-scale shift in the economy (read: land grabbing), as 95% of agriculture in the country is still run by small-scale family farms, though this figure is being slowly eroded over time as the government seeks to sell off land to foreign investors. As part of its so-called development program, the government has earmarked more than 11 million hectares of land for foreign investment, talking of it as “potential land” as if it were not being currently used by pastoralists.

The government’s official line is that foreign investment will lift the population out of poverty, but the truth is that many will be denied access to their ancestral lands, and forced to work for the new owners in order to stay there. The Ethiopian government has the backing of the UK, the European Union and the World Bank in this endeavor, which the BBC reports will create “100,000 jobs” on two new industrial parks. But at what cost?


At the men’s marathon in the Olympic games in Brazil, the silver medallist Feyisa Lilesa crossed his arms above his head both as he crossed the finish line and again at the medal ceremony, in protest at the government’s actions. “The Ethiopian government are killing the Oromo people and taking their land and resources so the Oromo people are protesting and I support the protest as I am Oromo. My relatives are in prison and if they talk about democratic rights they are killed. I raised my hands to support with the Oromo protest.” After the games, Lilesa did not return to Ethiopia, and is seeking political asylum in the United States.

Slow Food believes that the land belongs to the people who work it with love and care. We will continue our work to support small-scale farmers in Ethiopia through our Presidia in the country and 129 gardens helping people to grow their own food, and speak out in support of people who are fighting for their right to live and work the land in peace.

Read more:

The Oakland Institute: Miracle or Mirage? Manufacturing Hunger and Poverty in Ethiopia

Other sources:

Ethiopian Investment Commission

Washington Post: Ethiopia has a lot riding on its new Chinese built railroad to the sea

BBC New story: Refugee criss: Plan to create 100,000 jobs in Ethiopia

UNICEF Document on Humanitarian Requirements in Ethiopia, 2016

Human Rights Watch: Ethiopia: Forced Relocations Bring Hunger, Hardship