MSF starts feeding programme in Arero-area

MSF is undertaking a quick life saving intervention in the Arero-area since there is a lack of supplementary food assistance there. The main objective is to feed children under-5 screened with the MUAC method (assessing the degree of malnutrition by measuring the middle upper arm circumference) for one month, assess water needs and prepare nutritional assessment in the coming weeks. The MSF team (medical doctor, logistician/water and sanitation specialist, field nutritionists and health assistants) arrived on May 2 to start the intervention. MSF has conducted a rapid assessment in the Borena Zone between April 15-19. The assessment covered the areas of Teltele, Yabelo, Arero, Dire and Moyale with a total population of approximately 346,000. One of the areas borders Konso, where MSF currently runs a Supplementary Feeding Program (SFP) serving about 8,500 beneficiaries. The assessment was initiated following an appeal of the regional DPPB (Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau) and with the indication that people moved to Konso seeking food from the MSF feeding program. According to national reports, the Borena Zone is one of the areas that are heavily affected by the current drought in Ethiopia. Drinking water for humans is getting extremely scarce and the rural population mainly uses water from ponds which are drying up due to the lack of rain. Malnutrition among children (especially under-5s) appears to be increasing as there is scarcity of milk. As indicated by local health centres and clinics, bloody diarrhoea, malaria and water-born diseases are the major health risks. In addition, the Extended Program of Immunisation (EPI) coverage in all the areas is very low due to budget and logistical problems in the local health centres and clinics. There is some NGO activity already in Teltele, Yabelo and Dire.