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Ethiopia Afar Region; Elidar Woreda

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					                              W Charitable Foundation
                          Water for Africa Project: Water Report


Ethiopia: Afar Region; Elidar Woreda

                                            Country Level Information

                                            Ethiopia is one of Africa's poorest countries
                                            with 83.8 percent of the 75,067,000
                                            population living in rural areas (Central
                                            Statistical  Agency,    2006).   Its   annual
                                            percentage growth between 1992 and 2003
                                            was 4.1 (FAO, 2005). The Ethiopian economy
                                            is sustained primarily through agriculture,
                                            coffee being the number one export.
                                            Subsistence farming engages 80.2 percent of
                                            the total population (Central Statistical
                                            Agency,     2005).   In   2003,    agriculture
                                            contributed about 42 percent of the national
                                            GDP (FAO, 2005).

                                           The national poverty head count in 2004 was
                                           44 percent (FAO, 2005; ADF, 2005).
                                           According to ADF (2005), the continuous
deterioration of Ethiopia’s terms of trade (in view of the declining international coffee
prices) and the depressed cereal prices, both of which impacted negatively on rural
household income and the poverty situation are among some of reasons for the high
poverty levels in the country.

Climate
Ethiopian climate varies according to the different topographical regions. The central
plateau has a moderate climate with minimal seasonal temperature variation. The mean
minimum during the coldest season is 6°C (43°F), while the mean maximum rarely
exceeds 26°C (79°F). Temperature variations in the lowlands are much greater, and the
heat in the desert and Red Sea coastal areas is extreme, with occasional highs of 60°C
(140°F). Heavy rainfall occurs in most of the country during June, July, and August. The
High Plateau also experiences a second, though much milder, rainy season between
December and February. Average annual precipitation on the central plateau is roughly
1220 mm (48 in). The northern provinces receive less rainfall, and the average annual
precipitation in the Ogaden is less than 100 mm (4 in). The western most region of
Ethiopia receives an annual rainfall of nearly 2000 mm (80 in).

Environmental issues
According to the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), the major cause of most
environmental problems is the rapidly growing human population. Meeting the basic needs
of all these people- food, shelter, heat, energy etc, places tremendous demands on
natural resources. Cutting down trees for firewood and land cultivation have led to much
destruction of the forests, which in turn affects rainfall. Over-grazing and cultivation on
slopes cause large quantities of top soil to wash away each year. Additionally, declining
soil fertility leads farmers to cultivate marginal land, putting it at risk of erosion (EPA,
2006).




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                               UK Registered Charity no. 1111441
                                      W Charitable Foundation
                                 Water for Africa Project: Water Report

                                                     Regional Information: Afar

                                                     Located in the northeast of Ethiopia, Afar
                                                     region shares borders with Eritrea and
                                                     Djibouti. It is divided into five zones, which
                                                     are sub-divided into 29 administrative
                                                     woredas. The region is one of the poorest
                                                     and least developed regions of Ethiopia.
                                                     The dominant occupation in the region is
                                                     pastoralism, however, drought is a
                                                     prominent factor in Afar pastoralism.

                                                     Afar region lies in the arid and semi-arid
                                                     climatic zone within the Great Rift Valley of
                                                     East Africa.
Location of Afar Region in Ethiopia

Afar in one of the nine ethnic divisions of Ethiopia. Formerly known as Region 2, its
current capital is Asayita; a new capital named Semera on the paved Awash - Asseb
highway is under construction.

Population
Based on figures from the Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (CSA) published in 2005,
Afar has an estimated total population of 1,389,004, consisting of 772,002 men and
617,002 women. 90.9 per cent of the population are considered rural inhabitants, while
9.1 per cent are urban. With an estimated area of 96,707 square kilometers, this region
has an estimated density of 14.36 people per square kilometer.

Climate
Afar region is one of the driest and hottest areas in Ethiopia. Temperature ranges from a
mean temperature of 42.50C in the area of Dubti woreda and mean minimum temperature
of 17.80C in the high altitude zone at Gewane. The region has moisture index of less than
0.25 and receives mean rainfall of 200mm (EEPCO, 2006). A severe dry season occurs in
May and June at the regional level. This season has the hottest temperature. The main
rainy season occurs between July and September, while short rain stays between March
and April. Rainfall ranges from 500mm on the western edges of the regional state to
200mm in the lava plains to the eastern part of the region (EEPCO, 2006).

Terrain
Varies from hilly escarpment to lowland plain land areas. Some areas lie below sea level.
The Afar Depression, also known as the Danakil depression, the lowest point in Ethiopia
and one of the lowest in Africa, is located in the north of the Region. The southern part
consists of the valley of the Awash River, which empties into a string of lakes along the
Ethiopian-Djibouti border.

Environmental issues
Desertification; floods; and recurrent droughts are all current issues. Meher season rainfall
performance was bad in some of the marginal lowland crop dependent areas of the east,
and areas bordering pastoral areas. Flash floods and river overflows inflicted serious
damages to livelihoods in many crop dependent and pastoral areas, especially in Afar
region. Poor livestock conditions (especially cattle and sheep), reduced income and a
sizeable displaced population (due to floods) mean emergency food assistance is needed
in these areas until the end of the year.
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                                 Water for Africa Project: Water Report


Despite the overall good performance of the season, south and south eastern lowland
areas and northern parts of the pastoral Afar region are facing serious water stress.
Pastoralists in the northeast, especially Zones 2 and 4 of Afar Region, remain highly
vulnerable, as they continue to feel the effects of consecutive droughts and as the current
performance of rains is not promising.

Desertification
The vegetation cover of Afar in general is sparse and the area is prone to desertification.
Over 70 percent of the land area in Afar region is bare land (EEPCO, 2006).
Flooding
Some areas in the region are prone to seasonal floods especially along the Awash River
(Piguet, 2001).
Recurrent droughts
Drought is a common phenomenon in the region causing serious impairment to livestock
production, the main source of livelihood for the pastoralists in the region. In the last 5
years, the region was hit by two severe droughts: the 2002/03 drought in which all 29
woredas in the region were affected and the 2004/05 drought which affected most of zone
1, 2 and 4 (Oxfam International, 2005).


Community Information: Elidar

Elidar is bordered on the south by the Awash River,
on the west by Dubti, on the North-West by the
Administrative zone 2, on the North-East by
Eritrea, and on the East by Djibouti. Towns in
Elidar include Bure, Diche Oto, Elidar and Manda.
Pastoralism is the main form of livelihood for the
people in the woreda.

Population
Elidar’s population as at July 2006 was estimated
to be 63,133 persons. This population figure is a
projection of the October 1994 National Population
and Housing Census result (a).

Climate
Semi arid to arid.
                                                                   Collecting water from an unprotected spring.
Terrain
Predominantly low-land.

Environmental Issues
Recurrent drought, this is exacerbating soil degradation and erosion.

Water problems
Despite the woreda’s potable water supply coverage of 45.7 percent, access to safe water
is still a problem for a large part of the population because most of the schemes are
concentrated in some places and they are mainly owned by the military1 (e). The army is

1
  There is a presence of government troops in the woreda because of hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and
this woreda borders Eritrea on its North-East side.
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                                 UK Registered Charity no. 1111441
                              W Charitable Foundation
                          Water for Africa Project: Water Report

for instance using a borehole in Sulula, promptly rehabilitated at the beginning of the
Ethiopia-Eritrean war. In locations like Bure and Mande, only a few water facilities are
available (h).

Water supply methods
Shallow wells equipped with pumps are an important water source in the woreda.
However, the pumps are closed during a large part of the day in order to save water and
give the wells time for recharging (h). Besides shallow wells, there is water trucking to
some of the kebeles to bring additional water. Due to the strong military presence along
the border, additional water has been provided to the population, but on an irregular
basis. In 1998, at the beginning of the war, Afar regional authorities provided water by
tanker. Following a breakdown in June 1999, Afar Pastoralists Development Association
(APDA) rented two water tankers to continue bringing water to the population and for
about a year, the Association provided water. Since then, water has been provided by
private tankers (Price: 10 birr for a 200 litre drum). Water supply is coming from Logiya,
supplying particularly the two places of Bure and Mande. The capacity of water
transported to the woreda by the two tankers is about 40.000 to 50.000 litres (h).

Another complementary, but low yielding water supply method in the woreda is that of
steam wells. About 400 to 500 steam wells set in this highly volcanic region are currently
producing an average of 75 - 80 litres per day (h).

Aid agencies
A number of aid agencies (international and local) are involved in trying to improve access
to safe water for the population of Elidar. UNICEF and COOPI for instance are focusing on
addressing chronic water shortages in the woreda through rehabilitation of existing water
schemes, drilling new deep wells and construction of hand dug wells (i). Afar Pastoralists
Development Association (APDA), a local NGO, is also trying to bring solutions to water
supply in the woreda. APDA has already implemented water points, respectively hafir or
balli (water pans) and berka in the woreda, as well as contribution to steam wells
rehabilitation (h).

Civil conflicts
There is a military presence of Ethiopian troops in the woreda because of territorial
disputes between Ethiopia and Eritrea.




  W Charitable Foundation, c/o 7 Old Park Lane, London, W1K 1QR. www.wfoundation.co.uk   152
                               UK Registered Charity no. 1111441
                               W Charitable Foundation
                           Water for Africa Project: Water Report

References

(a) Central Statistical Agency (CSA), (2005), National Statistics.

(b) Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), (2005), The State of Food and Agriculture-
Agricultural trade and poverty: Can trade work for the poor?

(c) Central Statistical Agency (CSA), (2005), National Labour Force Survey Summary
Report.

(d) African Development Foundation (2005), Ethiopia Rural Water Supply and Sanitation
Programme: Appraisal Report.

(e) Oxfam International (2005), Livelihoods/Emergency Assessment in Afar Region.

(f) Central Statistical Agency (CSA), (2004), Ethiopia Welfare Monitoring Survey. (Note:
Values for Afar region).

(g) Central Statistical Agency (CSA), (2000), Ethiopia Welfare Monitoring Survey. (Note:
Values for Afar region).

(h) Piguet, F., (2001), ‘Even after good rains, Afar Pastoralists remain vulnerable’. Multi-
Agency Assessments Mission: 15-23 June and 19-23 August 2001. UN-Emergencies Unit
for Ethiopia.

(i) United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), (2006),
Focus on Ethiopia monthly newsletter. April issue.




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                                UK Registered Charity no. 1111441

				
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