The East and Horn of Africa, and the Great Lakes (EHAGL) region is host to a significant number of internally displaced persons (IDPs). As of 30 June 2022, there were approximately 12.83 million IDPs in the region – mainly in Burundi, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia and South Sudan. The drivers of displacements continue to remain complex, including conflict and persecution, as well as climate related natural disasters, often in situations where the different factors are interrelated or compounded.
Considering that a significant proportion of displacements in the region stem from conflicts, and many conflicts remain active in a very fluid context, the protection focus is mainly on life-saving activities informed by protection monitoring and ensuring the provision of shelters and core relief items (CRIs). At the same time, there is a strong focus in the region on the pursuit of durable solutions. While numerous IDP returns are taking place in the region, most are self-organized rather than facilitated, and difficult to quantify.
In line with the Global tri-cluster leadership approach and revised UNHCR Policy on Engagement in Situations of Internal Displacement (2019), UNHCR is leading or co-leading the Protection, Camp Coordination and Camp Management, and Shelter/NFI clusters in most countries. Durable solutions are highlighted as a core priority in the recently launched UN Action Agenda and are a critical element of the IDP response in the East, Horn of Africa and Great Lakes region. While each country in the region has different contextual factors around durable solutions, UNHCR is pursuing a more coordinated approach together with the other actors including development actors and donor to promote and realise durable solutions initiatives in the region.
On 28 June 2022, UNHCR launched the regional Drought Response Emergency Appeal for the Horn of Africa and is appealing for urgent support to help displaced people and local host communities affected by the catastrophic drought. To deliver life-saving assistance and protection to some 1.5 million refugees, internally displaced people and local host communities affected by the drought in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia,
UNHCR is appealing for US$ 42.6 million, which will cover critical humanitarian needs in IDP and refugee settlements including water, sanitation facilities, nutrition, healthcare, and protection.
The appeal is targeting 943,000 IDPs along with their host communities in Ethiopia and Somalia.
Response activities will be carried out as mandated in the cluster response mechanism for IDP situations and under the Refugee Coordination Model as relevant. The drought, a stark reminder of the devastating impact of the global climate crisis, is the worst in the region in four decades and is the culmination of four consecutive failed rainy seasons. Water sources have dried up and crops and livestock have died, stripping people of their livelihoods and the ability to support themselves.