1. Background to the Study

2. The Survey

2.1 The Purpose of the Survey

2.2 Methodology

2.3 Organisation and Management of the Survey

2.4 Organisation and Management of the Data

2.5 Other Sources of Information

3. Results of the Study and Discussions

3.1 Nutritional status

3.2 Vaccination and Health Status

3.3 Socio-economics and Food Situation of the Households


3.4 Family Health Aspects of the Interviewed Households

3.5 Sanitation and Water Requirement Aspects of the Interviewed Households

3.6 Focus Group Discussions

4. Further Discussions and Conclusions

4.1 Food Security and Related Activities

4.2 Responses to the Crisis

4.3 Malnutrition Level and Related Stresses

5. Recommendations



This report offers major findings of a baseline nutrition survey that was commissioned by the Ethiopian Red Cross Society and undertaken by the consultant in Kutaber and Ambasel Woredas of the South Wollo Zone.

Ambasel and Kutaber Woredas have a total population of 233,400 organised into 40 Kebele/Peasant Associations. A total of 91,401 Belg farming population is severely affected by drought-induced food shortages.

ERCS distributes general dry ration to 20 Belg Kebeles and the rest are covered by the DPPC. The distribution centres are Kutaber (for Kutaber Woreda) and Wichale (for Ambasel Woreda). The ERCS has also distributed blankets for the poorest of the poor households and select seeds to the needy farmers.

The selection criteria are said to encourage the sale of whatever livestock left including oxen in the household. Therefore, the selection criteria call for revision and improvement.

A total of 36 clusters were studied from 8 K/PAs and an eligible child in a household was included for anthropometric measurement. Mothers were interviewed about family food, health and water using structured questionnaires.


Nutritional status at the WoredaS level


<-2 Z-Score

<-3 Z-Score






Weight-for-length(WL), n=728



(27.9 – 35.0)




Among the studied children (n=728), Acute Malnutrition or wasting (<-2 Z Scores) affects 31.3% (N=209), 43.6% (317) out of 728 children were ill. The proportion of malnutrition observed is one of the highest recorded.

The main staple diet of more than 53% (N=391) of the households is wheat grain and 97.4%, (N=725) of them have insufficient food items under their possession.

The two Woredas have 9 clinics, 6 health posts and 1 rural hospital. Malaria and stomach ailments are prevalent in the Woredas.

Water is fetched from unprotected springs and 92% of respondent household have to walk (both ways) less than 1 hour to fetch water.

There were few rural development activities witnessed during the study except a reported WFP supported soil conservation work.



Sensitisation of policy makers at all levels and advocacy for adequate food aid and inputs in health and water sectors development should be the priority task of the ERCS.

The nutritional and health situations should closely be monitored. Follow-up nutritional surveys should be conducted every six months.

Improving the selection criteria of beneficiaries and distribution systems should strengthen the rehabilitation program.

Free or subsidised distribution of early-maturing crop seeds and introduction of root crops be encouraged.

Water should be developed for sanitation and micro-irrigation schemes. Some of the hillside springs appear to be feasible for use in backyard gardening and the like. Related development activities or schemes like roads, forestry and soil sectors are indispensable.

The ERCS should further strengthen its branch and sub-branch offices in South Wollo and extensively use its strong Youth Club bases to execute the rehabilitation and development schemes including nutrition and food diversification education.

The use of baseline information for future projects appraisals, implementation, monitoring and impact evaluation is highly recommended.