Over 800 000 uprooted in Ethiopia ethnic wars
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