UN provides assistance to displaced people in Ethiopia

United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provides live saving non-food items (NFI) to 500 displaced households in Yirga Chefe in Gedeo in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR) of Ethiopia.

These NFI kits, distributed today by GOAL, are part of the initial 50,000 emergency kits UNHCR provides to internally displaced people in Gedeo and West Guji Zones of Ethiopia. In June 2018, renewed violence in the region caused the displacement of over one million Ethiopians, who are now in critical need of humanitarian assistance.



So far, 1,000 NFI kits have been delivered to the region and more are being dispatched. Among those receiving the NFI kits today, people with disabilities, pregnant women, lactating mothers, elderly and female headed households are being prioritised.

UN agencies, including UNHCR, and NGOs are responding to the crisis in coordination with the National Disaster Risk Management Commission. They have jointly developed a Response Plan which aims to address life-saving needs and ensure protection for vulnerable groups.

The NFI kits provided by UNHCR, comprising kitchen sets, sleeping mats, blankets and plastic sheets, among other items, were funded by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), which is managed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

UNHCR has also deployed two Emergency Response Teams to Gedeo and West Guji to support local authorities with site management and strengthen the co-ordination of responses to protection needs.

The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners require a total of USD 117.7 million to scale up their response to the most recent round of internal displacement. People reside in extremely dire conditions. Many sleep on the cold ground in public facilities, keeping warm with only the little clothing they have on them.

Others live in make-shift shelters that cannot keep out the heavy rains of the season. Constant coughing and signs of pneumonia are a common sight. People have lost their assets and belongings as they fled. Houses were burnt down and livestock and farming grounds left behind, leaving them with no opportunity to sustain themselves.

Families have been separated and the overcrowded conditions lead to serious protection risks, particularly for women and unaccompanied children. Especially those who have witnessed violence and severe cases of SGBV are traumatised by the experience. Many will need psychological first aid and psychosocial support.

“Countries and communities supporting displaced people must be properly resourced and supported so they can protect and care for the displaced while pursuing solutions,” said UNHCR’s Deputy Representative in Ethiopia, Mr. Matthew Crentsil.

“This crisis comes at a time of unprecedented change in the country. The Ethiopian government needs our support and we must engage decisively to save lives and protect rights. UNHCR will work together with the government to meet immediate emergency needs, but also to consult with displaced communities and their hosts, so as to support peaceful co-existence, and to create favourable conditions for return.”

Ethiopia also hosts more than 920,000 refugees, mostly from South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea, in addition to the large number of internally displaced people. UNHCR remains committed to delivering emergency response, restoring safe and dignified living conditions, and supporting solutions for displaced populations.