Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA) Operation update DREF n° MDRET019 / PET051

Summary of major revisions made to emergency plan of action:

The Ethiopia Red Cross Society (ERCS) seeks the approval to extend the implementation period of the population movement DREF for two months until 28th February 2019 in three locations instead of the previously planned four.

During the months of September to November 2018, the implementation of the DREF was hindered by the security situation. Continued ethnic conflict along the borders of Ethiopia Somali and Oromia region involving the two agropastoral communities affected ERCS ability to reach the targeted population.

There were also delays in procurements of the NFIs which affected implementation. The local market has not been able to meet demand of NFIs required, coupled with low standards meant the NS was obliged to go for international procurement with support from the IFRC. The delivery of the NFIs procured by the IFRC have not been completed with the delivery of items still pending.

Through this Operations Update ERCS will no longer target Kebri Boyahe and will increase the caseload in Jijiga from 5,500 people to 8000 people. Extension of this operations will not have any budgetary implications.

A. Situation analysis

Description of the disaster

Ethiopia is now estimated to have approximately 2.5 million internally displaced people (IDPs) country wide, making it the country with the highest number of IDPs in the world. The ongoing conflict in Gedeo and West Guji region in southern Ethiopia, and continued violence in the Oromia-Somali has displaced more than 1.4 million Ethiopians from their homes.

Clashes have intensified since 4th August 2018 between Somali and non-Somali ethnic groups in the Somali region of Ethiopia and has turned into widespread violence causing at least 52,000 people to be internally displaced in Jijiga, Kebri Dehar, Degehabur and Gode towns.

Round 13 of the Ethiopia Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) (September October) indicated a total of 168,246 households that have been displaced in 388 sites in Somali region. The displacement is induced by both conflict and climate change, with a total of 110,642 household and 57,604 households displaced, respectively. The DTM published in November 2018 show an increase of IDPs and new regions being affected.

These clashes have disrupted the local markets with business centres shutting down and traders closing their businesses due to the insecurity. The closure of market and economic activities will, as such, result in further deterioration of food insecurity in affected communities.

In Jijiga, one of the most affected towns of these inter-communal tensions, at least 10,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) are reported to have gone back to their partially damaged houses, not because they are safe but to escape extremely hot weather temperature, with ranges of 18 degrees centigrade to 45 degrees centigrade in the night, according to the 2018 Regional Emergency preparedness and response. An additional 10,000 IDPs, who lost all their belongings and had their homes destroyed are still sheltered in St. Michael church. Some 2,500 IDPs are residing around a military camp located 5 km from Jigjiga town. The St. Joseph Catholic Church in Jigjiga town is hosting 250 IDPs, while more IDPs are reported to have moved to Babile, Harar and Dire Dawa towns by foot and any available means of transportation. The number of IDPs moving to these towns are projected to increase as new influx of people continues from Jijiga town.

Although the attacks, destruction of houses and disruption of livelihoods have reduced since the Federal Defence Forces and police arrived on 7 August 2018 in Jijiga town, the humanitarian situation is worsening as basic services including health and WASH, are either non-existent or very insignificant. The problem is more severe in Deghabur and Kebri Dahar located at approximately 120 km and 140 km away from the regional capital Jijiga, respectively, due to lack of basic services and absence of Federal Defence Force and police until 9 August 2018.

The health facilities are no longer functioning as the health experts and workers remain at home in fear of the security situation and some professionals leaving the area as they are non-Somali. Pharmacies, private clinics and other health facilities are closed because of the tense security situation; therefore, people have no access to health facilities.

Similarly, water supply has been interrupted because of withdrawal of the professional workers of the water bureau. As such, displaced people are left with limited or no potable drinking water. The 3,200 litres of bottled water provided by the Red Cross have been shared in small cups among more than 7,000 people, due to the mismatch between the number of IDPs and the volume of bottled water available. In addition, the available toilets in the church cannot accommodate over 7,000 people. Open defecation by children and very sick people is being practiced in the day time and other people during night time. In such a situation, the probability of the occurrence of acute watery diarrhoea (AWD) and other water borne diseases is imminent. Such diseases are common in Somali even in the normal times due to lack of sanitation knowledge and inadequate sanitation practices.

The government and aid agencies are working hard to respond, but with around one million newly displaced people in Gedeo and West Guji sheltering with host communities and in overcrowded communal shelters, food provision, water and health services are stretched beyond capacity.

The affected area was already one of the most densely populated parts of Ethiopia, with the influx of people now doubling in various parts of Ethiopia such as Tigray, Amhara and Benishangul regions.

While some families are starting to return to their home areas in Gedeo and West Guji, most people are still displaced with no immediate plans to return home.