Ethiopia: Civil Unrest - Operation Update Report 1, DREF n° MDRET022 (18 September 2020)

Situation Report
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Description of the disaster

On 29 June, after the killing of a famous Ethiopian singer and activist, protests erupted in Oromia region and the capital Addis Ababa. The protests soon turned into violence and as a result, people lost their lives, properties were damaged, and people were displaced.

The situation remains precarious and unpredictable with recurring sporadic demonstrations in different locations in Oromia. The presence of the Government forces is increased in the entire region.

Following these events, ERCS conducted a rapid assessment from 3 to 10 August 2020, focusing on the two most affected zones of Oromia region, namely West Arsi and Bale. The assessment team was composed of ERCS staff from HQ, Oromia and the respective zonal branches. During the assessment, the ERCS team consulted the affected communities and the local authorities to understand the impact on the affected population and to identify the existing humanitarian needs and gaps.

According to data provided by the zonal Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Office (DPPO) in West Arsi zone, the protests caused a total of 32 deaths, 146 people with injuries, damage to a total of 73 business centers (shops), 32 hotels, 3 groceries, 11 vehicles, 36 pharmacies , 6 private health facilities, 6 governmental offices and 260 houses were looted and heavily damaged. In Shashemene town, 35 houses were damaged, 55 houses were fully destroyed, and 210 houses had been looted.

A total of 761 households have been displaced from their homes in West Arsi due to the protests (461 in West Arsi rural villages and 300 in Shashemene the main town). From the eight woredas affected, the assessment team visited the five most affected woredas, namely Shasmene, Kofele, Gedeb Assasa, Kore and Adaba. The local authorities in all woredas indicated that Government is supporting reconstruction of damaged houses and properties with building materials and community mobilization to support this initiative.

In Bale zone, Agarfa is the most affected woreda. In this woreda, a total of 5 people died and 227 families have been displaced due to their homes being burnt down, destruction, and looting to temporary shelters. Many more households are displaced and temporarily hosted by host families. A total of 56 houses were completely burned down and the remaining 171 were damaged and looted. The assessment team visited 227 IDP households temporarily hosted in Agarfa agricultural college, who were displaced from Ambentu kebele.

Ethiopia is confronted with multiple hazards at the same time. Indeed, ERCS continues to respond to Floods, Locust, COVID-19 pandemic and now the civil unrest is stretching its contingency resources. All planned activities will follow Government COVID-19 restrictions, and social distancing will be adhered to during the distribution exercises, trainings and any other community activities in the operation.