The killing of four government officials in late September in Benishangul-Gumuz Region aggravated already existing ethnic tensions resulting in a large-scale intercommunal conflict displacing approximately 200,000 people along the Benishangul-Gumuz-Oromia border.
A polio vaccination campaign was successfully conducted in five zones of the Somali region between 23-26 September, reaching 486,816 children under 5 years of age.
Government-led relocations and returns of people displaced in Gedeo and West Guji zones, which began in August, continue. There is no official consensus on the actual numbers of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees in either of the two zones, complicating response planning and targeting. UNICEF will target most-in-need children across all affected woredas based on specific sector criteria and guided by Operational Guidelines endorsed by the Humanitarian Country Team.
Situation in Numbers
7.95 million *
People in need of relief food/cash
Children in need of treatment for severe acute malnutrition
2.6 million *
School-aged children, including adolescents, in need of emergency school feeding and learning material assistance
2.8 million **
Internally displaced people in Ethiopia (80 per cent displaced due to conflict)
Registered refugees and asylum seekers in Ethiopia
*2018 Humanitarian and Disaster Resilience Plan Mid-Year Review for Ethiopia, September 2018
** DTM Ethiopia National Dashboard Round 11, (IOM May-June 2018) and UNOCHA- West Guji/Gedeo Situation Update #7, August 1 and UNOCHA Humanitarian Bulletin, Ethiopia 15-28 October 2018
*** Ethiopia, refugees and asylum seekers (UNHCR, 31 August 2018) and UNHCR Eritrean influx update of 20 October 2018
Situation Overview and Humanitarian Needs
Ethnic conflicts that erupted in April along the border areas of Gedeo zone in Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region (SNNPR) and West Guji zone in Oromia region displaced over 1 million people. Following peace and reconciliation efforts made in August, the Government began to return IDPs from Gedeo to West Guji and within West Guji to locations closer to the IDPs’ places of origin. Many ethnic Gedeos who returned to West Guji are living in 1 of 40 collective centres as their houses were destroyed. Further, the returnees in West Guji report fear of renewed violence due to ongoing ethnic tensions and a lack of security. Other IDPs are thought to have moved closer to their relatives and friends in host communities both within their kebeles of origin and in areas of displacement within both zones.
UNICEF revised its Gedeo/West Guji IDP Strategy to adapt to emerging needs in a conflict-sensitive manner. Given the absence of official consensus on the actual numbers of IDPs or returnees in either zone, UNICEF is considering the needs of the entire population in the affected woredas in both zones. From this total affected population, UNICEF is targeting children most-in-need based on specific sector criteria, guided by Operational Guidelines endorsed by the Ethiopian Humanitarian Country Team. Supplementing this approach are efforts to leverage development resources to invest in sustainable and conflict-sensitive solutions. The revised response strategy, through to December 2018, faces a funding gap of 57 per cent (US$ 8.3 million).
On 24 September, violent protests were reported in Gambella town in the Gambella region. The protests were linked to ethnic tensions in the region and caused a temporary suspension of humanitarian activities and service delivery which directly affected 422,000 refugees. Although the situation has been resolved, external visits to visits to Gambella region remain restricted.
The killing of four government officials in Benishangul-Gumuz on 25 September has aggravated simmering ethnic tensions and displaced approximately 200,000 people along the Benishangul-Gumuz/ Oromia border as illustrated in the map on the left.
As of 22 October, the Benishangul-Gumuz Regional Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB) estimated that there were over 57,000 IDPs in the region. The IDPs are in two of the region’s four zones (Kamashi zone is hosting 42,000 IDPs and Asossa zone 15,000).
Information from the Oromia Disaster Risk Management Office (DRMO) received on 16 October estimates that 144,000 IDPs are being hosted in East and West Wollega zones.
The National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), through the regional bureaus, has conducted rapid assessments in the affected zones. However, humanitarian partners have only been able to access East Wollega zone in the Oromia region. Insecurity in the Kamashi zone has restricted humanitarian access and, since September, markets have also been affected as commercial vehicles cannot access the zone, rendering a further 200,000 people vulnerable from lack of food, essential commodities and basic services. Due to the security situation, limited life-saving supplies, such as water and food, have reached the displaced. The Government recently airlifted emergency drugs and food to some 1,300 people in the Kamashi zone.
According to the Unite Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), 14,107 new refugee arrivals from Eritrea crossed the border between 12 September and 20 October. UNICEF conducted a rapid assessment in Tigray region at the Eritrean border crossing points and in host communities and collected anecdotal evidence from existing refugee camps to better understand the needs and concerns of women and children among the new arrivals. The assessment found that new arrivals are stretching the resources of host communities and already over-crowded refugee camps. Disease outbreaks, such as measles and acute watery diarrhoea (AWD), have been identified as key threats. A measles vaccination campaign is currently ongoing and is targeting 6,279 refugee children under 15 years, including new arrivals at the reception centre.