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UNHCR struggling to meet needed funds for refugees in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) said on Wednesday its only received 15 percent of the 335.8 million U.S. dollars it needs to meet the needs of refugees in Ethiopia.

In a press statement sent to Xinhua, UNHCR said the funds are needed to meet the basic nutritional needs, as well as the education, health and accommodation needs of refugees in Ethiopia.

The UNHCR has as of April 30 registered 915,073 refugees in Ethiopia, most of whom are housed in refugee camps in six regional states.

Ethiopia currently hosts the second largest refugee population in Africa, next to Uganda. Refugees in Ethiopia primarily come from Eritrea, South Sudan, Somalia and Sudan, according to figures from the Ethiopian government.

Conflict and drought in neighboring countries continues to force people to seek refuge in Ethiopia, which has a long tradition of hosting refugees. In the first fourth months of 2018, Ethiopia received 24,775 refugees.



Conflict internally displaces over 5.5 mln people across Africa in 2017: study

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- More than 5.5 million people have been internally displaced by conflict in sub-Saharan Africa in 2017, a new study released on Wednesday reveals.

The report by Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) says that Sub-Saharan Africa, a continent which only makes up 14 percent of the world’s population, accounted for nearly half of the 11.8 million people displaced by conflict in 2017.

The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID 2018) reveals that the Democratic Republic of the Congo was hardest hit, with almost 2.2 million new displacements, more than three worst-affected countries—South Sudan, Ethiopia and Central African Republic—combined, which together accounted for 2.1 million.

Alexandra Bilak, Director of IDMC, said the scale of this displacement is dishearteningly familiar.

“This report shows why we need a new approach to address the huge costs of internal displacement, not only to individuals, but also to the economy, stability and security of affected countries,” Bilak said.

According to the report, almost 15,000 people a day fled within their own their countries to escape conflict and violence.

“Internal displacement often heralds the start of broader crises. While we have seen some useful policy progress since the adoption of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement 20 years ago, it is nowhere near enough to cope with, much less reduce, the scale of the problem,” said Bilak.

IDMC said the Boko Haram insurgency, ethnic violence and clashes over diminishing resources led to more than 415,000 new displacements in the Lake Chad Basin, 65 percent of them in Nigeria’s north-eastern states.

It recorded 388,000 new displacements associated with conflict and an additional 892,000 due to drought in Somalia.

However, the report says the complex situation in Somalia means that the causes of flight are closely interlinked and hard to disaggregate.

Jan Egeland, NRC’s Secretary General, said the staggering number of people forced to flee from their homes due to conflict and violence must serve as an eye opener to all.

“We are getting better at providing emergency aid, but we need to put a lot more effort into preventing displacement, protecting people, and finding long-term solutions,” Egeland said.

According to IDMC, storms and floods forced an additional 2.6 million people to flee their homes across the region.

It predicts Sub-Saharan Africa’s population growth and urbanization rate to increase in the coming decades, warning that unless this is carefully managed, more people are expected to become displaced by more frequent and intense disasters.

“Without renewed action, we risk failing millions of internally displaced people worldwide, and holding back the development of the countries which host them,” Bilak said.

The report says with a unique legal framework in the Kampala Convention, incomparable natural resources and huge economic capital and human potential, Sub-Saharan Africa has the potential to become a global leader in addressing internal displacement associated with both conflict and disasters.


Flooding affects 1.2 million people in East Africa: global charity

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- About 1.2 million people have been affected by flooding due to heavy rains pounding parts of Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya, an international charity said on Tuesday.

The World Vision International said heavy rains have submerged homes, schools and businesses, displacing more than 700,000 people from their homes, and they are now camped out in tents on higher ground, in schools or other evacuation sites.

Stephen Omollo, World Vision’s Vice President for East Africa said the charity’s emergency response teams in partnership with local governments, in-country humanitarian agencies, and communities themselves, are working to address the immediate life-saving needs of the flood affected children and their families.

“Through our multi-country flood response, we are working to ensure access to food, water, shelter, and sanitation,” Omollo said in a statement issued in Nairobi.

According to World Vision, 718,000 people are affected by flooding and 220,000 displaced in Somalia, some 170,000 have been displaced in Ethiopia while 311,000 others have been displaced by flooding in Kenya.

“Hundreds of thousands of children are at risk. They don’t have food, and the water they’re drinking is dirty. Their schools have been damaged, and their parents’ means of earning an income has been destroyed by successive disasters,” said Omollo.

He said first was the drought, and now flooding is wreaking havoc and will impact the lives of people for several months to come.

He said World Vision is distributing shelter kits, blankets, clothes, cooking material and hygiene kits to flood-affected families.


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