Violence driving dire displacement crisis as rainy seasons sets in

12 July 2018
Violence driving dire displacement crisis as rainy seasons sets in
IDPs living and sleeping in a big hall in the compound of the municipality of Chelalaktu, Gedeo Zone. Shirin Hanafieh/ ICRC

Geneva/Addis Ababa (ICRC): Inter-communal clashes in southern Ethiopia are fueling a rapidly swelling humanitarian crisis in which more than 800,000 people are forcibly displaced from their homes and do not have food, clean water, shelter or other basic necessities.

"This crisis is completely off the radar of the international community and the consequences of this neglect could be dire," said Shirin Hanafieh, the ICRC's assessment team leader. "If humanitarian assistance is not scaled up quickly, people will be at-risk of malnutrition and disease outbreaks, especially as the rainy season sets in."

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), together with the Ethiopian Red Cross, visited Kochere district in Gedeo zone, one of the areas with a large number of people displaced by clashes that broke out in Gedeo and West Guji zones.

"People are struggling to live in anything resembling basic dignity," said Hanafieh. "They are crowded into schools, office buildings, and churches, sleeping on the floor without mats and blankets. Food and clean water is scarce at best."

In response, the ICRC and the Ethiopia Red Cross Society will start providing relief to 100,000 people this in Kochere district, Gedeo zone. This will include providing medicine and health supplies to local clinics as well as water tanks, tarps, and other efforts to improve the quality of water and sanitation facilities.

The clashes in Gedeo and West Guji zones is the latest resurgence of inter-communal violence in Ethiopia over land which have driven widespread displacement.

For interview requests and inquiries please contact:

Crystal Wells, ICRC Nairobi, cwells@icrc.org, +254 716 897 265
Zewdu Ayalew, ICRC Addis Ababa, zayalew@icrc.org, +251 911 614 336
Annick Bouvier, ICRC Geneva, annbouvier@icrc.org, +41 79 244 64 05