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IOM relocates more than 17,000 people uprooted by conflict in northern Ethiopia to new shelter

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Mekelle – After months in makeshift sites, with little food or water, thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) affected by the conflict in Northern Ethiopia are being voluntarily relocated to new shelters by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The IDPs, many of whom have been forced to sleep in the open without hygiene facilities, are being moved to Sabacare 4 relocation site in Mekelle, the capital of Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, which has been at the epicentre of the conflict that broke out in November 2020.

More than 3,400 families will be provided with shelter made of plastic sheeting and other materials. For the first time in months, the IDPs, including children, will have access to running water, hygiene and sanitation facilities including toilets, showers and washrooms.

“IOM, together with humanitarian partners, counterparts, and volunteers, have been working tirelessly to make this relocation come together under the extremely challenging conditions in Northern Ethiopia,” says Michael Speir, Northern Ethiopia Crisis Coordinator. “But, we must not forget that more needs to be done to provide urgently needed support to the millions displaced by this conflict.”

Providing essential support like food, cash and health services and meeting other needs remains a major challenge for IOM and other agencies in a context marked by severely limited resources and insecurity. As essential services are severely disrupted due to the conflict, including medical and hospital facilities, the IDPs now will also have access to a health centre where they will receive primary health care, and mental and psychosocial support.

The relocation of IDPs comes at a critical time as schools prepare to reopen this month.

More than 2.1 million people have been displaced during the conflict across the regions of Tigray, Afar and Amhara.

The situation in Tigray remains volatile. In partnership with other UN agencies, IOM is committed to delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance to continue reaching people in need. The relocation is part of IOM’s scale-up response programming in the region, despite the severe shortage of funding.

The relocation was made possible through the support from USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA), European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund (EHF), United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and the German Humanitarian Assistance.

For more information, please contact Krizia Kaye Viray at IOM Ethiopia, Email: kkviray@iom.int