Over 800 000 up­rooted in Ethiopia eth­nic wars

African Times - - International / Africa - ADANE BIKILA

GOV­ERN­MENT and cash-strapped hu­man­i­tar­ian

or­gan­i­sa­tions are bat­tling to cater for more than 800 000 civil­ians dis­placed by in­ter-com­mu­nal vi­o­lence in Ethiopia.

The vi­o­lence along the bor­ders of Gedeo and West Guji in the South­ern Na­tions, Na­tion­al­i­ties, and Peo­ples’ Re­gion (SNNPR) and Oro­mia re­gion is over bound­ary lines drawn in 1995 dur­ing the tran­si­tional gov­ern­ment of Africa’s sec­ond-largest coun­try by pop­u­la­tion.

Gov­ern­ment and hu­man­i­tar­ian part­ners have re­leased an ap­peal of US$818 mil­lion (about R11 bil­lion) for life-sav­ing sup­port for the thou­sand up­rooted from their homes.

Vic­tims are mostly set­tled with al­ready food in­se­cure rel­a­tives or

re­sid­ing in cramped pub­lic build­ings. The in­flux has seen near-dou­bling of dis­trict pop­u­la­tions in some ar­eas that, even prior to the cri­sis, were one of the most densely pop­u­lated parts of the East African coun­try of 104 mil­lion peo­ple.

Mi­tiku Kassa, Com­mis­sioner of the Na­tional Dis­as­ter Risk Man­age­ment Com­mis­sion, said the lat­est con­flict caught gov­ern­ment and stake­hold­ers by

sur­prise. Kassa said the gov­ern­ment of Pres­i­dent Mu­latu Teshome was forced to di­vert­ing re­sources from on­go­ing drought and flood re­sponses to meet the needs of peo­ple dis­placed by eth­nic vi­o­lence. “How­ever, the gap is over­whelm­ing,” he said.

Ahunna Ezi­akonwa-Onochie, the United Na­tions Hu­man­i­tar­ian Co­or­di­na­tor, said agen­cies and non­govern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions had a well-es­tab­lished pres­ence in the af­fected ar­eas. “How­ever, the dis­placed peo­ple in Gedeo and West Guji Zones need to be

ur­gently as­sisted through a ma­jor scale-up of as­sis­tance un­til con­di­tions per­mit vol­un­tary re­turn,” she said. - CAJ News

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