Government, Partners Working to Scale up Response for IDPs

Addis Ababa August 9/2018 Partner organizations are working with the Ethiopian government to scale up the response for internally displaced people (IDPs), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said.

Head of Strategic Communications Unit for OCHA, Choice Ufuoma Okoro told ENA that they are committed to work with other partners to support the government’s efforts in this regard.

She said OCHA, in collaboration with other UN system and international partners is supporting the government’s response to people displaced by ethnic-related conflict, particularly in the Gedeo-Guji conflict.

Close to one million people are believed to be displaced due to ethnic-related conflict.

Efforts have been carrying out in collaboration with the government to provide temporary shelter, food, and medical treatment to the displaced people, she noted.

According to the head, OCHA is working to draw the attention of partners and coordinate the response. “Our role specifically has been advocacy for timely responses,” she said.

Partners such as the United States and the European Union have provided assistance, while the Irish Embassy has pledged to extend support to the response.

  “There is funding which is coming now, partners are recognizing that need and there is an increasing funding right now. It is not there yet, but that’s why we are here for; to work with the government to continue to draw attention to the need to ensure there is timely and appropriate response to the IDP situation, recognizing the government’s priority is to resettle and facilitate the return of population that displaced,” she said.

The communication head appreciated the Ethiopian government and the people for taking the initiative and the lead role in supporting the displaced people.

“We recognize the commitment of Ethiopians to take care of its own people. We note the hospitality of Ethiopians to their own people and I think in the humanitarian response that is the core of solution and that’s what we have seen here,” she noted.

Noting that reconciliation is important in healing the grief of the displaced people, the head appreciated the efforts of the Ethiopian government for facilitating reconciliation conferences.

“We are very aware of the different conferences that have been held that would help to resolve the pain that border-related conflict induced on displaced people.”

Noting that the government is looking ways of returning and integrating the displaced people back into the communities, Okoro said “as international community, we are committed in supporting the government in this return in voluntary way.”

“I am impressed to note that the channels which response and humanitarian action has taken in Ethiopia through national system,” she expressed her impression on the capacity and commitment of the government to lead the response.

“In 2016 we celebrated Ethiopia as the country where you have the best commendable response channels because it shows at the delivery of food and health system through government national channels which strengthen over the years,” the head added.

Acting Director for Early Warning and Emergency Response at Ethiopia’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission Almaz Demessie said the government is working with donors to provide quick response to the displaced.

The government has given due attention to its people and is working to provide a coordinated and timely assistance.

 Two Emergency Operation Centers were established in the towns of Dilla, Gedeo zone, and Bule Hora, West Guji zone to enhance response coordination and boost response capacity at site level.

“The commission has deployed experts in collaboration with partners to support the Emergency Operation Centers in Gedeo and Guji zones. Efforts are also underway to resettle the displaced people in the sustainable manner,” she said.

Furthermore, she noted that partners are playing their role in providing humanitarian assistance even though it is not enough.

Clashes between communities on the administrative border areas of different regional states have been a source of major displacement in Ethiopia.