July 20, 2022 (ENA) The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Ethiopia called on the international community to increase the assistance it provides as the support extended is far from the need when compared to the large number of refugees in the country.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, UNHCR Country Deputy Representative Margaret Atieno said Ethiopia has a long standing commitment to the protection of refugees.
She noted that the UNHCR has 8 locations established with the Government of Ethiopia to address the protection need of refugees coming from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and the displaced community within the country itself.
Besides providing international protection, the UNHCR has programs in various sectors including education, provision of health service and work, together with various partners to provide basic needs for the needy.
Therefore, “the assistance can never been enough because we have very large number of people,” Atieno stated, adding that there are refugees around 800,000 and a very large number of people affected, including Ethiopians.
“So, we would like to call on the international community to also come in and support us as the assistance can never been enough.”
The deputy representative explained that UNHRC is working with the community to improve the conditions, improve the natural resources management, the livelihood and access to socio-economic facilities generally.
Refugees and Returnees Service Deputy Director-General, Mulualem Desta said the support may not be the same as it was 5 or 6 years ago due to the current geopolitical situation, COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war.
He revealed that many partners have lost interest as the governments they support have changed their focus, which seems to be reducing their support..
“It is the WFP that provides food for refugees. There is a world standard. It is said that a refugee should eat 2,100 kilo calories per day. But due to the reasons that we have raised above the ration provided to them has been reduced by 50 percent, which is 980 kilo calories per day. We can assume that the situation that is happening in the world is one of the effects.”
The deputy director-general underscored that “we are looking for conditions where new partners can improve the lives of refugees by making them part of the Ethiopian refugee operation.”
According to him, there are good beginnings and there are good hopes. The biggest duty of the government is to provide physical protection; and in this regard the government is taking great care.
Ethiopia, which is working to transform the livelihood of refugees based on the most progressive proclamation in effect, has a reputation for accepting refugees, participating in joint projects, providing vital services and banking services.
At present, it is hosting more than 900,000 refugees from primarily South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, Sudan, and other countries in 25 camps.
The country has ratified international treaties relating to refugees and makes integral part of the law of land and is party to the OAU convention governing the specific aspects of refugee problems in Africa.