Inter-communal clashes in southern Ethiopia are fueling a rapidly swelling humanitarian crisis in which more than 800,000 people are forcibly displaced from their homes and do not have food, clean water, shelter, or other basic necessities.
“This crisis is completely off the radar of the international community and the consequences of this neglect could be dire,” said Shirin Hanafieh, ICRC’s assessment team leader. “If humanitarian assistance is not scaled up quickly, people will be at-risk of malnutrition and disease outbreaks, especially as the rainy season sets in.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), together with the Ethiopian Red Cross, visited Kochere district in Gedeo zone, one of the areas with a large number of people displaced by clashes that broke out in Gedeo and West Guji zones.
“People are struggling to live in anything resembling basic dignity,” said Hanafieh.
“They are crowded into schools, office buildings, and churches, sleeping on the floor without mats and blankets. Food and clean water is scarce at best.”
In response, the ICRC and the Ethiopia Red Cross Society will start providing relief to 100,000 people this in Kochere district, Gedeo zone. This will include providing medicine and health supplies to local clinics as well as water tanks, tarps, and other efforts to improve the quality of water and sanitation facilities.
The clashes in Gedeo and West Guji zones is the latest resurgence of inter-communal violence in Ethiopia over land which have driven widespread displacement.
Media reports show that there are a total of around 800,000 people displaced in the Southern Region of Ethiopia.