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Ethiopia: ICRC assists 2,000 displaced families

06-02-1997 News Release 97/05

In the past week an ICRC team has distributed basic non-food relief supplies (blankets, jerrycans, buckets and soap) to 2,000 heads of displaced families in the Dolo area of Ethiopia, near the point where the borders of Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya converge. The families concerned had fled the tense situation on the border between Ethiopia and Somalia. Surveys conducted in October and December last showed that around 10,000 people of the Marehan and Rahanwein tribes had left their homes to seek refuge in Ethiopia, where they were receiving no assistance from either the authorities or international organizations.

" The Marehan have mingled with the local population, who were already living in extremely precarious circumstances and suffering acute food shortages due to drought " , explained delegate Didier Roguet on his return from the distribution, which was carried out with the help of some of the elders in the area and with the approval of the civilian and military authorities. " But between 3,000 and 4,000 Rahanwein who had fled the fighting around Baidoa are now huddled in a makeshift camp about 2 km outside the town of Dolo, where they are cut off from any aid or other support. More displaced people are arriving every day. "

The distributions in and around Dolo covered 800 Marehan and 600 Rahanwein families. Relief supplies were also distributed in Suftu, 38 km to the west on the Kenyan border, where displaced people of various ethnic origins have taken shelter. The ICRC delegation in Addis Ababa intends to discuss the situation in this largely neglected area with the respective authorities and other aid agencies.