Ethiopia – Somali Region Inter-Communal Conflict: Flash Update Number 1 (17 August 2018)

Situation Report
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Key highlights

  • About 141,410 people are displaced in Somali region immediately after inter-communal conflict started on 04 August 2018. The majority of the IDPs in Jigjiga city (35,450) are sheltering in and around churches. Other regions (Oromia and Tigray) have also reported influx of new IDPs from Somali region following the conflict. IDPs have reportedly arrived in Babile (55,000), Chinaksen (23,000), Gursum (24,000) and Harar (280) in East Hararghe in Oromia region while 2,000 IDPs arrived in Mekelle Town in Tigray region.

  • Rapid assessments on 8 and14 August in the IDP sites in Jigjiga identified critical needs on food, WaSH, Health and NFI items and services.

  • The Somali Region Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB) is leading the response, and partners are assessing the situation.

  • An Emergency Operation Center (EOC) has been established in Jigjiga since 10 August 2018 to coordinate a scaled-up response for the rising IDPs needs.

Situation Overview

Inter-communal conflict that started on 04 August in Jigjiga and quickly spread to Degahbur,
Warder, Kabridahar, Gode and Babile areas has left approximately 141,410 IDPs in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. An initial rapid assessment led by the Regional Government on 8 and 14 August 2018 in Jigjiga identified critical needs on food, WaSH, Health and NFI items and services. Some 35,450 IDPs in Jigjiga city who sheltered in churches and its surroundings and the Garab'ase military camp are living in dire situations.

Despite the vacuum left due to temporary dysfunction of most Government Bureaus at regional and zonal levels, and massive exodus of non-ethnic Somali residents that are critical to support the public services in Jigjiga, the regional (DPPB) and the Regional Health Bureau (RHB) are working closely with the humanitarian agencies to address the urgent needs inside the city. An Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) was established in Jigjiga since 10 August 2018 with the participation of NDRMC, the Ethiopian Defense Force (EDF), RDPPB, UN agencies and NGOs, Jijiga Municipality, and community elders.

In the week of 13 August, the situation in Jigjiga is calmed and economic activities are slowly resuming. The Commercial Bank of Ethiopian and some petty shops have started operations. Inflation rate is reported on food, water, and other basic needs due to limited available shops and supplies in Jigjiga. Fuel is available but limited. Previously between 4-13 August, shops, markets and banks were closed.
The Ethiopian Airline resumed its operation for Addis-Jigjiga route starting on 10 August 2018. Previously, The Ethiopian Airline canceled its flights with the same route since 4 August 2018.

Starting on 15 August, Somali-ethnic Jigjiga residents are reported to have started returning to Jigjiga from their displacement locations in Awbare, Degahbur, Kabridahar, Togwajale, and Gode. Similarly, the 30,000 non-Somali-ethnic Jigjiga residents who were displaced in St. Michael Orthodox Church and Garab’ase Military Camp, are reported to have gradually returned to their homes in Jigjiga, and/or move to either Harar, Dire Dawa or Addis Ababa. Remaining IDPs in St. Michael Orthodox Church in Jigjiga is approximately 5,000 people, while in Garab’ase Military Camp is 450.

Challenges and Gaps

Approximately 55,000 IDPs in Babile, 35,450 in Jigjiga, 450 in Gode, 480 in Kabridahar, 450 in Degahbur, 300 in Warder Towns, 23,000 in Chinaksen, 24,000 in Gursum, 280 in Harar Town and 2,000 in Mekelle Town need ready-to-eat food (or rice/ pasta), water, cooking equipment, sleeping mats and blankets, WaSH, NFIs and health support. While there is no-ready-to eat food available in the country, WFP is distributing dry-ration food i.e. rice, oil, etc.

The NDRMC-DPPB-WFP is leading relief food distribution in IDP camps inside Jigjiga, while the UN and NGOs are also addressing the needs of WaSH and health items and services through the existing regional clusters. The humanitarian agencies are now reprioritizing their available resources to address the life-saving needs of these new IDPs.

Under the leadership of the Government, the UN and NGOs are planning to undertake initial rapid needs assessment in Gode and other affected cities in Somali Region.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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