The humanitarian access situation in Guji continues to deteriorate as a result of an increase in violence which has significantly restricted partners' movements and operations. Few partners remain operational in the area, and several have pulled out due to budget constraints and other factors. Services such as health, water, and education have been largely curtailed, with dozens of health centres and. schools vandalized. Private transporters are reluctant to provide freight services to hotspot areas due to security concerns. In a recent OCHA mission to the area, partners reported that parties to the conflict had occupied an unconfirmed number of health centres and schools.
During the reporting period, partners reported 70 incidents of violence/armed conflict, particularly in Goro Dola, Gumi Eldelo, Liben, and Saba Boru woredas. Meanwhile, tensions have also increased in neighbouring areas with West Guji and Borena zones. Violence has significantly affected relief activities, forcing partners to interrupt life-saving activities multiple times. From the second week of mid-March, partners stopped all movements in Gumi Eldelo, Liben, Goro Dola, and parts of Saba Boru woredas. This affected assistance to an estimated 50,000 IDPs. Critical health and mobile nutrition services stopped, and livelihoods recovery interventions such as the distribution of farming tools and seeds were halted. Further, the lack of government counterparts at local/zone levels affected relief activities that require joint targeting and delivery, such as emergency food distributions. The situation has slightly improved in April, but access to hotspot locations remains a challenge.
Civilians continue to withstand the worst of the conflict, with their safety at stake as hostilities occur within their communities/places of displacement. Violence has forced IDPs to move from place to place multiple times and exposed them to enhanced protection risks. While many have been displaced for over a year now (some since 2017), according to Zone DRMO, an estimated 3,000 have been newly displaced from Liben to Negelle town and 80,000+ IDPs have not received food assistance since March 2020.
During the reporting period, aid workers have been subjected to intimidation, physical assault, and detained by security forces as well as unidentified military elements. Further, partners have denounced the misappropriation of their assets and vehicles by parties to the conflict, compromising their ability to operate in such a volatile environment independently and neutrally, putting aid workers and affected communities at risk. In one incident, an NGO water truck was forced by a security force to deliver water to a military camp, and one week later, the same truck was set on fire allegedly by UAG.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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