Aid organizations are urging cooperation to reach 1 million displaced people in Ethiopia

Aid organizations on Friday called for coordinated rapid measures to meet the humanitarian needs of nearly a million people displaced by intermunicipal violence in Ethiopia.

The UN Migration Agency recently revealed that approximately 970,000 people have fled their homes since April by fighting between communities along the Gedeo border in Ethiopia in the southern region and the West Guji zone in the largest Oromia region in Ethiopia.

The last call was made by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) on Friday, which provided emergency relief to meet the most urgent needs of displaced persons along the borders of the two regions.

"Given the scale of the emergency and with so many people displaced from their homes in such a short time, getting shelter, essential relief supplies, water, hygiene and health services is a priority," says Alessandra Saibene, MSF. BHV coordinator in Ethiopia.

"Most people left their homes in a hurry and came up with nothing.Families sleep on the floor in empty buildings, such as schools or churches, and sometimes even on the bare ground outside with only banana leaves or a plastic sheet as a cover," said Saibene.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) also called for rapid action on Wednesday to meet the humanitarian needs of nearly one million people displaced as a result of intermunicipal violence in Ethiopia.

According to the ICRC, while aid has increased in recent weeks, "it is still insufficient to meet the needs of displaced persons.

"With schools that are used as shelters and so many children are still displaced, it can also be difficult for students to return to school when the new academic year begins in September."

"Schools, factories and courthouses are just some of the buildings that now act as shelters for displaced families in southern Ethiopia, after a wave of intermunicipal collisions along the border areas of the Gedeo and West Guji zones nearly a million people houses, "said the ICRC.

MSF has also stressed on Friday that the rapid influx of displaced persons has further expanded the available resources and public services.

"Despite a government-led intervention with health care, food and essential relief supplies, there are still serious gaps in the provision of shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene services, where living conditions are a particular concern," said MSF.

"When so many people live together in overcrowded and cramped conditions, with limited access to clean water and insufficient latrines, the risk of outbreaks of communicable diseases is very high, and we need to act quickly to improve conditions at the locations where displaced people reside; the situation only gets worse, "MSF added.

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) released 15 million US dollars last month to urgently scale up humanitarian aid to people affected by escalating intermunicipal violence in Ethiopia.

According to the latest report from the UN migration office, 359,113 people live in collective locations while the rest live with local communities, in rented accommodation or with family members, although they also visit the collective locations to receive humanitarian assistance.

The last of the historically recurring clashes between communities in the Gedeo and West Guji zones, along with the borders of the southern region and the Oromia region, began in March 2018.

As the fighting intensified in June, hundreds of thousands of people fled their homes with little more than the clothes they wore, according to the IOM.

In the Gedeo zone, where the majority of displaced persons live, there are at least 276,939 people in 134 collective locations, ranging from schools to government buildings and discarded or unfinished buildings.

"At seven of the locations more than half of the residents live outside or in open spaces, while Ethiopia is going through the cold and rainy season, providing sufficient shelter to these displaced communities is a priority for IOM," read IOM & # 39; s last report.

Displaced people arrived in both zones in March and were still arriving in July.

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