Ethiopia: News - Continued Displacement, Damages to Civilian Infrastructure, Impeded Humanitarian Access in Amhara, Afar Regions Amid Ongoing Conflict

Addis Abeba — The United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) yesterday reported the increased humanitarian needs with additional large-scale displacement and loss of livelihood in the light of the spread of the conflict to Afar and Amhara regions. According to the report, in the Amhara region , tens of thousands of people were displaced from several zones. In the neighboring Afar Region, renewed fighting in Awsi and Hari zones, bordering the Amhara region, reportedly displaced tens of thousands of people, OCHA said. Moreover, access remains the main challenge for humanitarian partners to reach people with life-saving assistance, added to the significant damages to civilian infrastructure and public services across the regions, as stated in the report.

In the Amhara region, tens of thousands of people were displaced from Dessie Town in South Wollo zone to Bahir Dar in the last few weeks; and thousands were displaced from Dessie to Mekane Selam in South Wollo zone, OCHA said, adding reports of displacement from Dawunt Woreda in North Wello zone to Tach Gayint Woreda in South Gondar zone and from Tehulederie Woreda in South Wollo zone to Merto Lemariyam Town in East Gojam zone. "Many people arriving in Debre Berhan and several other areas in the North Showa zone were displaced several times and as a result increasing their vulnerability," the report read.

The report also indicated a lack of water supply for drinking, cooking, and washing, lack of non-food items, and inadequate sanitation facilities in most IDP cites. "While most IDPs in camp settings have received food assistance from the government and communities, IDPs in host communities and rural areas have not," the report noted. It was also indicated there is an urgent need to scale up the response in a coordinated manner especially with NFIs, WASH, health, protection, and education assistance to address current needs and potential new needs as IDP influx continues.

Discussing the impediment of humanitarian access, the OCHA said, "In Amhara, only three woredas, out of 18 in North Wollo zone, and only one out of the nine woredas in Wag Hamra Zone are currently accessible to humanitarian partners." The damages to civilian infrastructure include more than 500 health facilities across Amhara, depriving a large segment of the population of healthcare services coupled with the displacement of health care providers.

In the Afar Region, the conflict is preventing humanitarian partners from reaching the affected population. "The closure of Dessie and Kombolcha markets in Amhara is negatively impacting livelihoods, including the livestock market, and subsequently the food security situation in Afar," the report read. It further discussed the hike in price for cereals by 20-25 per cent in two months. The destruction of the electricity transmitter in Kombolcha has also disrupted both electricity and water supplies in Semera, Dubti and Logia towns, according to OCHA, who added that most Government offices in the region are closed or providing limited services.

The conflict has also affected 455 schools with more than 88,000 students across 13 Woredas in the Afar Region, including more than 35,000 girls, the report quoted UNICEF as saying. "Out of the affected schools, 98 schools are hosting IDPs, or are partially damaged or looted. Some 214 schools, all in Zone 4, are closed due to active fighting." More than 30,000 students, including more than 11,000 girls, are forced to stay out of school, the report said.

"The situation in northern Ethiopia remains fragile and fluid, with humanitarian operations heavily constrained due to insecurity and bureaucratic impediments, including lack of transportation of humanitarian supplies, hampering the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance," the OCHA said, recalling that Food partners started a food assistance operation to reach more than 450,000 people in Dessie and Kombolcha over the next two weeks. Dispatch

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