WFP Ethiopia: Food and Nutrition Assistance to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in East and West Hararghe zones - September 2018
Recurrent drought in the densely populated zones of East and West Hararghe has had a severe impact on the food security and overall livelihoods of communities, with failing crops and lack of water and pasture for livestock. This contributes to the two zones accounting for more than 10 percent of both chronic and acute food insecurity in Ethiopia.
Competition for water and pastures along the borders between Oromia and Somali Regions, during times of drought, has caused conflict between communities. Since 2016, the causes of conflict have included political elements, with recent efforts to formally demarcate the border between the two regions causing further intercommunual conflict, loss of life and damage to people’s properties. Conflict has also occurred in some woredas that do not share a border with Somali Region, but which contain both Oromo and Somali communities.
The conflicts have displaced an estimated 631,000 people in the Oromia Region, representing more than 33 percent of the conflictaffected IDPs in the country. While some displacements date to 2012, the vast majority occurred late 2017 and mid 2018. The highest concentration in Oromia Region are hosted in East and West Hararghe Zones. Between July and August there was a 36 percent increase, from 279,000 to 379,000 IDPs. The 4 August unrest in the Somali Region increased the number of IDPs and included many ethnic Oromos who were previously residing in Djibouti.
Food assistance is a fundamental platform of the humanitarian response to displacement, seeking to empower displaced people and to protect household and community access to nutritious food. Comprising not only food, nutrition and cash transfers but also several supporting activities and institutional platforms such as early warning and preparedness systems and vulnerability analyses, food assistance is typically the earliest and most sustained form of support provided. It therefore represents a vital stabilizing force early in crises and an important platform for recovery efforts.
It can also provide a vital nutritional safety net for population groups (pregnant women, children) caught in crises at critical times in their lifecycle.