5 April 2019

Ethiopia: East Hararge Zone Plans to Return More Than 62,000 IDPs From Babile Town

The East Hararge zonal authorities plan to return more than 62,000 IDPs from Babile Town to their areas of previous residence. The majority of the IDPs were displaced during the 4-5 August 2018 skirmishes in Jijiga and the subsequent unrest in other Somali towns. The return process is happening following the peace and reconciliation conference between religious and community leaders of the Oromo and Somali community that was held in Babile woredaon 27 March 2019. From the total IDPs returnees, some 10,220 are Somalis who moved to the adjacent woreda in Somali region during the conflict and 52, 2005 IDPs are Oromos who moved to Babile Town from different kebeles within Babile Wereda.

The zonal Disaster Risk Management Office (DRMO) reported that some 36,991 IDPs were returned to their areas as of 21 March 2019.

A multi-agency team that visited five of the returning sites on 20-23 March 2019 observed that most IDPs were returning from Babile Town to collective sites that are closer to their original homes, including to schools and health facilities. Interviewed IDPs stated that they prefer to remain at collective sites until peace and reconciliation efforts are undertaken at community/ neighborhood with the participation of community members who were directly involved in the conflict/violence and those who were directly affected.

Because the houses of the majority of the returning IDPs have been damaged, shelter was rated as the top priority need for IDPs followed by water and household utensils. Due to destruction of basic services, health service provision has been a challenge despite IMC-supported Mobile Health and Nutrition Team (MHNT) responding in some of the return sites. WaSH issues and protection concerns were also observed during the visit. The zonal DRMO has requested partners to support with these critical gaps. Partners are ready to scale up, subject to additional funding received. UNOCHA

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