Ethiopia

Thematic Series - No matter of choice: Displacement in a changing climate - From basic needs to the Recovery of Livelihoods - Local integration of people displaced by drought in Ethiopia

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) embarked on a new research programme in December 2018 to investigate internal displacement in the context of slow-onset disasters and climate change.1 The following year it examined the drivers of displacement in pastoralist communities of the Somali region of Ethiopia, providing a better understanding of conditions and priorities to support policy and programming for durable solutions.2 This report explores the current situation of internally displaced people (IDPs) three years after the last drought in 2017, looking at the same locations as the research carried out in 2019. It examines local integration efforts carried out through livelihood projects and how these can serve as durable solutions to displacement. Findings are based on qualitative data collected in December 2020 among IDPs and host communities from Warder and Kebridehar woredas, local and regional authorities, UN agencies and NGOs.

THE STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL

Three years after the 2017 drought, IDPs are still completely dependent on high levels of humanitarian aid. Both IDPs and the host community say that there are three basic needs that still must be urgently met: food, water and shelter. Communities, especially in Warder, have warned of signs of famine. The situation seems to be somewhat better in Kebridehar. In Warder, however, IDPs, the host community and some stakeholders describe it as a forgotten place with forgotten people.

LOCAL INTEGRATION: THE ONLY DURABLE SOLUTION

All participants have indicated that local integration is the only possible durable solution for people displaced by drought. First, because there is nothing left in their places of origin. Second, because the adaptation of IDPs in areas close to cities is beneficial for them in the medium and long term, as they have more access to services and their children have more educational opportunities. Third, IDPs and the host community belong to the same clans, are part of the same community, and are more easily accepted.

MUCH EFFORT IS STILL REQUIRED TO BUILD RESILIENCE

A combined intervention is required for local integration processes to be successful. First, an emergency response has to address serious deficiencies in three basic services: shelter, water and food. Second, interventions need to focus, as is already happening to some degree, on generating economic opportunities based on IDPs’ expertise and recovering livelihoods. IDPs and host communities have acquired some coping capacity and increased their resilience. Unfortunately, however, they are still very vulnerable and need robust humanitarian and economic development plans to overcome their current situation. If they were to face a drought again,
IDPs would still be totally dependent on humanitarian aid and could be best protected near the urban areas where they now live.

RECOVERING AND IMPROVING LIVELIHOODS IS CRUCIAL

Requests by IDPs and their host communities, as well as the initial projects of some partners, focus on the recovery of livelihoods based on livestock and agriculture. They also focus on the generation of complementary and alternative economic opportunities to increase resilience. These include the creation of cooperatives involving small livestock and crops for small-scale trade.
An example is the trade with neighbouring Somalia and cities, such as Burco and Galkayo, where IDMC conducted a study in 2019. They also include projects such as cash for crops, training for more sustainable livestock and agriculture in extreme environments, and vocational training focused on the labour market in woredas and urban areas.