| Measuring drought and drought impacts in Red Sea Province |
|1. Introduction to Red Sea Province|
In 1985, a World Food Programme famine relief programme began in Red Sea Province. The initial rationale for the programme was to improve the malnutrition rates in the province. When the WFP, feeling that the programme had achieved its objectives, indicated that they were ready to withdraw from the programme in late 1986, Oxfam, feeling that food aid was still needed in the province, advanced the concept of general pastoral economic recovery, or Food for Recovery. The thinking was that the relief food would act as a boost to recovery at different levels of economic life in the province. In this view the relief food contributed to the economy in the following ways.
1. It was used as livestock feed and saved many herds from starvation during the dry season.
2. Grain, sugar, and oil were sold for cash. This had a doubly beneficial effect because it provided ready cash for household needs and also enabled people undergoing economic stress to retain breeding stock which they probably would have had to sell without the WFP commodities.
There was a multiplier effect related to the sale of the foodstuffs on several levels of value-adding exchange based on the input of a free good: from the food aid recipient, to the town based merchant, to the end user. Much of the relief grain and, in particular, oil and sugar distributed in the southern half of Red Sea Province as part of the World Food Programme's relief food assistance has been sold through a valueadding network to Eritrea although no precise figures are available. According to reports in early 1989, a fifty pound sack of sugar is sold for from £400.00 to £600.00 Sudanese in Red Sea Province. same sack is resold at the Eritrean border for over £2000.00 Sudanese.
The average family ration per day was two kilograms of sorghum (sometimes wheat) and quantities of sugar and oil were also provided. The object of the relief effort we. the entire rural population of Red Sea Province at that time who were judged to be at risk. Just over 400 delivery points, or 1 for every 1000 persons, located armed the province were created as points where designated representatives of the estimated 400000 rural dwellers could receive the commodities allocated to their area The programme continued unchanged until 1989 when areas deemed recovered were gradually cut from the relief rolls. There weary, however, two exceptions to this: the Arba'at and Suakin areas were cut in 1988. Arba'at is an area of market-oriented agriculture associated with Khor Arba'at and Arba'at delta and Suakin is a town. It is projected that the relief effort will be terminated by the end of 1989, however, there is some discussion by the World Food Programme about continuing free food deliveries, food for work, and vulnerable group feeding.