Nearly one million people displaced by ethnic violence in Ethiopia are in desperate need of aid, World Vision UK warns.
Communities from the East African country’s Gedeo and West Guji zones – in the SNNP and Oromia regions respectively – are still fleeing their homes in enormous numbers. According to the charity’s staff, up to 40,000 people were uprooted in June alone, amid fears of disease outbreaks and skyrocketing malnutrition rates among thousands of displaced children.
“Children running from the violence are struggling. Displaced people don’t have enough food or clean water. Children are going hungry and without adequate nutrition or clean water, they are more likely to contract a fatal illness,” said Edward Brown, World Vision Ethiopia’s National Director.
“Survivors have seen their homes burnt and looted, ruining their means of earning an income. Even when security returns, people will struggle to provide food for their families for months, jeopardising their children’s health,” said Getahun Mara, Emergency Nutrition Coordinator with World Vision Ethiopia.
Many people are seeking shelter in schools, churches or with relatives in nearby villages. Health clinics are overburdened and in urgent need of medicine and trained staff.
World Vision has some funding to respond to the mass displacement, but the crisis is reaching a tipping point, and more resources are needed. The charity is currently providing health and nutrition assistance, clean water and hygiene, emergency shelter kits, education support and other critical relief items.
“We are working closely with other humanitarian actors and government to respond to people’s needs, but we are limited in what we can do due to a lack of funding,” Brown said.
“Children’s lives are hanging in the balance, we urgently need to act.”
To expand its programming and respond to the needs, World Vision has requested $16 million USD (£12 million) to assist over 400,000 displaced people.