UNHCR Ethiopia - Operational Update (October and November 2018)

from UN High Commissioner for Refugees
Published on 30 Nov 2018

UNHCR Senior Officials, including the Assistant High Commissioner for Operations, visited a site for internally displaced people (IDPs) in South Ethiopia. 2.4 million Ethiopians are currently believed to be IDPs.

Betty G, UNHCR High Profile Supporter and Ethiopian Singer, advocates for refugees’ rights, with a focus on women refugees, after visit to the Aysaita Refugee Camp in Afar As UNHCR works to enhance registration data, the monthly population of concern figures have been frozen as of 31 August 2018, to facilitate the completion of the ongoing Level 3 Registration.

UNHCR Senior Officials visit site for internally displaced people in South Ethiopia

As part of a larger regional mission, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Operations (AHC-O), Mr. George Okoth-Obbo, visited Dilla Town in Gedeo zone of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR), home to some 17,600 internally displaced persons. Around 1 million people were displaced due to inter-communal violence in Gedeo zone of SNNPR and West Guji zone of the Oromia Region in June 2018.

Mr. George Okoth-Obbo was accompanied by Mr. Valentine Tapsoba, Director of the UNHCR Regional Bureau for Africa, Mr. Andrew Harper, Director of the Division of Programme Support and Management and Ms. Clementine Nkweta-Salami, UNHCR Representative in Ethiopia. The aim for the mission was to see the situation with their own eyes, interact with the displaced and discuss with government interlocutors and humanitarian partners how UNHCR can further support the response effort.

UNHCR has been part of the emergency response effort since July 2018, including through the deployment of two protection teams in Dilla and Bule-Hora and the distribution of essential aid items.

Calling for returns to be secure and safe

As the initial violence showed some signs of subsiding in mid-August, the Government of Ethiopia started actively promoting returns. Mr. George Okoth-Obbo said displaced people should continue to have protection as long as they need it and pledged UNHCR’s support in helping map the targeted return areas and build conditions to ensure that people return to their homes in a safe and sustainable manner “so that farmers can work in their fields without fear and children can go back to school.” In total, 2.4 million people are currently believed to be internally displaced in Ethiopia. Apart from the internal conflicts, climate induced factors are also forcing people to flee.