US Grants $170m for Conflict and Drought Victims


The fund will be used to assist drought affected and displaced people




Humanitarian assistance from the government of the United States to Ethiopia reached a little over 800 million dollars in the last two years with the latest donation of 170 million dollars last week.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID), an agency that administers civilian foreign aid and development assistance, has pledged this donation to support nearly 11 million people affected by drought and displacements caused by inter-regional conflicts.

According to a press release by USAID, 8.5 million people are in need of assistance and relief due to the weather effects of El Niño, and an additional “1.6 million Ethiopians elsewhere in the country have been pushed from their homes by conflict or drought since last year.” The above figures do not include the other one million people recently displaced as a result of inter-regional disputes in Gedeo and West Guji zones.

The American support will be used to provide emergency food and nutrition assistance, medical care, pure water, improved sanitation and hygiene to prevent the occurrence of communicable diseases, according to a press release.

Assistance to the internally displaced in Gedio and Guji zones will be administrated by the Emergency Operation Centre, an emergency centre formed under the National Disaster Risk Management Commission. The Centre has representative members from humanitarian assistance agencies such as UN-OCHA, UNICEF and the World Food Program and heads of regional, zonal and wereda offices.

“We have formed two centres, in Dilla and Bule Hora,” said Mitiku Kassa, commissioner of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission.

To normalize the the situation in the conflict areas three more committees were formed, including peace and security safeguarding, urgent humanitarian response and support and a committee to strengthen community interrelations, according to Debebe Zewide, director of communications at the Commission.

Beginning in April, the number of displaced people from Gedeo zone reached 860,056, settled in 77 temporary sites, while the number from Guji zone swelled to 188,747 in 26 sites. Over 10 non-governmental organisations, including UNHCR, UNICEF, UN-OCHA, International Organization for Migration (IOM), GOAL, International Red Cross Society, World Vision, World Health Organisation and Christian Aid, have joined hands to support the displaced.

Abraham Mebrat (PhD), a lecturer and researcher at Bahir Dar University for more than a decade at the School of Disaster Risk Management & Sustainable Development, believes that such conflicts and displacements could be prevented before they start.

Conflicts and displacements can be averted with fair and equitable distribution of the natural resources among citizens, according to Abraham.

“The sustainable solution to minimise conflicts is reducing unemployment, proper utilisation of resources and establishing strong pre-disaster risk management mechanisms,” he remarked.



By BERHANE HAILEMARIAM
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Jul 28,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 952]


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