ICRC calls for swift humanitarian support to displaced Ethiopians from inter-communal conflict
ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Wednesday called for swift measures to meet the humanitarian needs of nearly one million people who are displaced due to inter-communal violence in Ethiopia.
The UN migration agency has recently revealed that since April this year some 970,000 people have fled their homes due to fighting between communities along the border of Ethiopia's Gedeo Zone in the Southern region and West Guji Zone in Ethiopia's largest Oromia region.
According to the ICRC, while aid has increased in recent weeks, "it is still insufficient to meet the needs of the displaced. With schools being used as shelters and so many children still displaced, it could also be difficult for students to return to school when the new academic year starts in September."
"Schools, factories, and courthouses are just a few of the buildings that now act as shelters for displaced families in southern Ethiopia after a wave of inter-communal clashes along the border areas of Gedeo and West Guji zones drove nearly one million people from their homes," the ICRC said in a statement on Wednesday.
People often lack food and clean water, and are sleeping on the floor with no blankets or mats. Kochere district in Gedeo zone has seen its population nearly double from 130,000 people to more than 230,000, according to the ICRC.
The influx of displaced people has also put a heavy strain on host communities, many of whom were already struggling with food insecurity. Hospitals and clinics have also been overwhelmed by the sharp increase in patients, according to ICRC.
"We have seen health centers in the area faced with an enormous problem. They were working ok, but suddenly, they have got more than double the population coming in and many, many of those people who are coming in are sick already," the statement quoted James Reynolds, ICRC's Head of Delegation in Ethiopia.
"When something like that happens, the conditions in which those people are living are really very, very difficult," Reynolds added.
The UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) last month released 15 million U.S. dollars to urgently scale up humanitarian assistance to people affected by escalating inter-communal violence in Ethiopia.