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East Africa worst hit by internal displacement in 2018 H1: report

ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) -- The Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) said on Wednesday that East Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular were worst hit by internal displacement crisis globally during the first half of 2018. 

According to IDMC’s latest figures, 1.4 million new internal displacements have already been recorded in Ethiopia, surpassing both Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while other eastern African countries that are Somalia and South Sudan are also among the 10 worst-affected countries for new displacement linked to conflict and violence. 

“East Africa accounts for five of the most significant disaster events between January and June, with flooding in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia and Uganda, and drought in Somalia displacing more than a million people in total,” the IDMC said in its latest report published on Wednesday. 

In the Horn of Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia experienced nearly a million new displacements due to unprecedented flooding in April and May after an extended period of drought in the region exacerbated by the Indian El Nino weather phenomenon, according to IDMC. 

The major internal displacement crisis Ethiopia encountered during the first half of 2018 is mainly attributed to the fighting between communities along the border of Ethiopia’s Gedeo Zone in the Southern region and West Guji Zone in Ethiopia’s largest Oromia region. 

According to the UN migration agency, IOM, since April some 970,000 people have fled their homes due to fighting between the two communities. 

Following the escalation of conflicts and the eventual displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, various international aid organizations have been calling for concerted efforts to provide basic humanitarian support to those affected. 

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, on Friday called for more humanitarian support for the nearly 1 million people displaced by recent violence in south-western Ethiopia.

“Displaced people, host communities and returnees are in dire need of assistance for basic necessities like food, water, blankets and cooking supplies. Shelter materials, especially plastic sheeting, are urgently needed before the heavy seasonal rains,” the UN refugee agency said in a statement on Friday. 

“We and our partners urgently need resources to continue providing life-saving assistance. For the coming 12 months, we need USD 21.5 million for the IDP response,” it added.

Amid UNHCR’s call for urgent support, the Ethiopian government has on Thursday stressed that almost all of the internally displaced people in south-western Ethiopia will return home as soon as government rehabilitation efforts kick in.

More than 359,000 of the displaced have already returned to their respective localities as inter-communal clashes are contained and security situations improved, Ethiopia’s state press agency quoted regional officials as saying.

Local government officials further affirmed that communities involved in the conflict have settled the conflict through traditional mechanisms.



Uganda warns of landslides, floods as rain season starts

KAMPALA Uganda (Xinhua) -- Uganda has warned that the country is likely to experience landslides and floods as the rain season starts in the last three months of this year.

Mary Kitutu, minister of state for environment told reporters on Wednesday that floods and landslides are expected in southern, northern, western and eastern regions of the country.

“We ask Ugandans to be ready and avoid loss of lives. Cases of flooding and landslides may be experienced in the mountain areas such as Buduada, Bulambuli, Bundibudyo, Kasese, Kabale, Rubanda and Kisoro districts,” the minister said.

In an earlier communication by the Office of the Prime Minister, people living in mountainous areas were told to be cautious.

The most fatal landslides in Uganda occurred in March 2010 in the eastern district of Bududa where more than 200 people were killed while thousands were left homeless.



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