Ethiopia: “Country’s displaced must not be forgotten,” says ICRC president

ESAT News (December 14, 2018)

The President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today that while reforms are leading the country in the right direction, Ethiopia should not forget its internally displaced citizens.

Ethiopia has more new conflict-driven Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) than any other country in the world, with over 1.4 million this year alone.  

“The cycle of violence and displacement today in Ethiopia presents a massive humanitarian challenge and steps need to be taken to lessen tensions and facilitate assistance to reach those in need,” ICRC President Peter Maurer said during a visit to the country.

“Following the invitation of authorities, the ICRC is expanding its operations to Somali Regional State, an area with widespread displacement,” said a press release by ICRC.

“We are very happy to be returning to Somali Regional State after 11 years of absence,” Maurer was quoted as saying.

The total IDPs in Ethiopia is 2.8 million of which 2.2 million were displaced due to conflicts, according to Humanitarian Information Unit of the U.S. Department of State.

The 2.8 million IDPs in Ethiopia is on top of the 7.9 million people who need immediate food assistance, according to the agency.

With an over 900,000 refugees, Ethiopia is also the second largest host nation for refugees in Africa next to Uganda.

Ethnic clashes between communities along the border between the Somali and Oromo regions led to the displacement of over 1.4 million people last year while hundreds were killed.

The last few months have also seen ethnic based attacks in Benishangul Gumuz and Oromo regions as well as in places in South and Eastern Ethiopia where thousands have been displaced from their homes and hundreds were killed.