Roughly 970,000 people have been internally displaced by conflict in Ethiopia’s Gedeo Zone and West Guji in the past four months, the majority in June. With so many people becoming displaced in such a short time period, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and humanitarian partners have been scaling up their presence to provide urgent, live-saving assistance.
IOM is providing shelter assistance and essential aid items, facilitating access to water and sanitation services and raising awareness about hygiene to the displaced populations in both areas, many of whom have found shelter in unfinished buildings or in unhealthy conditions with just a sheet of tarpaulin for protection from the elements.
Access to safe sanitation and clean water is of concern, as is ensuring health needs are met. In the past three weeks, IOM has constructed 318 latrine stances, seven temporary communal shelters and eight communal kitchens. To improve the overall delivery of humanitarian assistance, IOM is providing displacement tracking and site management support.
Two airlifts this week have delivered 200 tonnes of aid donated by UKAID to Ethiopia bound for the internally displaced populations in Gedeo and West Guji. Most people fled their homes with little more than the clothes they were wearing. The UKAID airlifts contain badly needed shelter materials and blankets as Ethiopia is in the midst of its cold rainy season. IOM and partners began distributing aid yesterday and expect it will take approximately 15 days to reach an estimated 50,000 displaced people.
Earlier this week, IOM released a much-needed appeal for USD 22.2 million to continue its humanitarian operations in Gedeo and West Guji.
“We are extremely grateful to the donors, who have shown great support for the people and Government of Ethiopia, but more funding is urgently required to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands displaced people in Gedeo and West Guji,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission and Representative to the African Union, IGAD and UNECA. “Without additional funding, lives will be at risk. The needs are immense – the international community’s response must match them.”