- Background Information
The current crisis began on 25 July, when fighting broke out between the Borana and the Gari in the Oromia region (also known as region four) of Ethiopia. The conflict was reportedly tied to a government attempt to settle around 200 displaced Gari in the traditionally Borana area and quickly escalated, leading to the destruction of homes and a number of casualties. The Kenya Red Cross estimates that around 20,000 people from both regions four and five of Ethiopia crossed into Kenya in late July. Those who fled arrived in Kenya with close to nothing.
Upon arrival in Kenya, most of the displaced were housed with the host community in the Somare area, or at the area’s main primary schools, Somare, Sessi, Bori, etc. Some people were also reportedly living next to the Taqwa mosque, but many of these people were among the first to return. The displaced in the primary schools were assisted by the Government of Kenya, the Kenya Red Cross (KRC), and World Vision, while those living with the host community were being supported directly by the friends and neighbours with whom they were living.
Based on reports emerging from the region, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the World Food Program (WFP), and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), decided to join together to conduct a rapid needs assessment. The purpose of the rapid assessment was fourfold: to estimate the numbers of those currently displaced, to identify basic emergency needs and requirements, to assess the population’s intentions regarding return, and to work with the agencies and stakeholders currently active on the ground to develop a plan for further humanitarian engagement. As such, the joint assessment team travelled to Moyale, Kenya during the week of August 6.
By the time the team arrived in the Moyale area, a large number had reportedly already returned to Ethiopia while still others, mostly those from the areas most affected by the conflict, were remaining in Kenya. While the District Education Officer had granted the displaced permission to stay at the area’s primary schools for a period of time, the need to reopen the schools to the area’s children meant it was necessary to find another location to house the displaced. As such, local leaders designated an open area not far from Somare primary school and the local medical dispensary for those most affected by the conflict to temporarily settle. By 6 August, the displaced were to have vacated the schools.