IOM launches $77.6 million appeal to support over 1.2 million people in Ethiopia

Waaf Dhuung, Ethiopia - April 03: Inhabitants of a village in the Somali region in Ethiopia, where Pastorale (Ethiopian nomads) settled because of the persistent drought. A young man is sitting on food donations from The World food program ( WFP ) on April 03, 2017 in Waaf Dhuung, Ethiopia. (Photo by Michael Gottschalk/Photothek via Getty Images)

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Saturday launched a 77.6 million U.S. dollars appeal to provide humanitarian assistance to more than 1.2 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), migrants and returnees, and host communities in Ethiopia.

Ethiopian returnees from Djibouti awaiting transportation assistance at IOM Ethiopia’s Transit Centre. Photo: IOM

“We call on the donor community to continue providing life-saving support to the people of Ethiopia,” the UN Migration agency said in a statement issued on Saturday, as it emphasized that the latest appeal “aims to reach 1.2 million people in need. The international community must act in this critical moment for 2020 and beyond.”

Noting that the East African country is facing “some of the most complex migration issues in the world,” the UN migration agency stressed that social, economic, political and climatic change factors are driving populations to leave their homes both from within and outside the country’s borders.

According to the IOM, Ethiopia has continued to receive migrants and refugees, which totalled 88,044 between January and October last year, particularly from its neighboring countries including Eritrea, South Sudan and Somalia.

“While Ethiopia’s displacement landscape shifted significantly in 2019, basic needs remain high,” the UN migration agency said, as it emphasized that relocation assistance to refugees is a vital lifesaving operation and failure to do so may result in increased humanitarian needs and protection concerns for refugee and host communities.

It also stressed that “living conditions for internally displaced persons, returnees and many host communities are dire. Shelter, safe access to water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH), basic health services, and critical non-food items (NFIs) are urgently needed.

“IOM Ethiopia plans to provide support following two principal objectives – saving lives while responding to the humanitarian crisis and supporting the transition and recovery of crisis-affected communities,” said Ester Ruiz de Azua, IOM Ethiopia’s Emergency and Post-Crisis Program Coordinator.

The IOM also reiterated its resolve to continue supporting the Ethiopian government’s efforts in achieving durable solutions which include voluntary return, local integration, and relocation in various regions of the country.

It also stressed that peacebuilding and peace preservation, community stabilization and displacement tracking for recovery and crisis prevention are also a strong focus for this year.

The UN migration agency stressed that community-based stabilization, peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts are needed to resolve and prevent further conflict-induced internal displacement.