Ethiopia: News - Some 2.4 M People in Need of Aid in Somali Region: UN

A map showing the Somali region in Ethiopia.

Addis Abeba — The UN country team in Ethiopia said some 2.4 million people are in need of aid in Somali regional state. The report came amid reports of rising malnutrition and impending water shortage in the region.

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia (RC/HC), Dr. Catherine Sozi, visited Somali Region on 23 July to firsthand witness the humanitarian situation, the UN said. During the visit the Ms Sozi discussed with the regional authorities including deputy president Mustafa Muhumed, and Heads of UN and NGO Sub/Field/Hub offices "where she demonstrated the commitment of the UN to strengthen partnerships and address the needs of those most vulnerable in the region."

She also visited Qoloji IDP camp and discussed with IDPs and communities hosting them. "The regional president highlighted that 2.4 million people in the region depend on food aid. Malnutrition cases are increasing significantly."

The UN said significant resources are also needed to provide a durable solution for the IDPs. As part of a response to a Drought Response Plan, the Government has recently allocated contingency funds with a total amount of ETB 93 million (≈$US 2.12M) for 93 Woredas, to anticipate water shortage, "which is likely to happen in the coming months."

Ms Sozi commended the collective effort by the Government and the humanitarian community in the region, particularly in responding to the humanitarian crises and pointed out that she would mobilize resources to support the response.

On the other hand, she also highlighted that the funding on humanitarian and development from the donors decreases significantly. While reiterating the need for collective efforts by the Government, community, and international actors to sustainably resolve the longstanding IDPs issues in the region, she said, "despite the global attention in the northern part of Ethiopia, the IDPs in other regions will not be neglected. As humanitarians, we will work with the Government on how to get a durable solution for the IDPs."

It is vital to innovate, explore and engage both the development and humanitarian actors, including the private sector, to combine resources, produce local products, and use the development to prepare for and reduce the impact of humanitarian crises, according to Ms Sozi.

Raising the concerns and pressure from the IDPs they are hosting, an elder at the Qoloji IDPs site said: "we are now displaced and worse compared to the IDPs. They receive assistance, but we don't. Our farms are narrow now, and we are not farming to avoid any conflict that it may create. Some sites were used to be farm plots are now IDP camp. Please find a solution for the IDPs and until that, please also consider us." UN/AS

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