Reintegration Support Eases Return of Displaced Families in Ethiopia - IOM

By Biruktayet Bihon

IOM-ethiopiaSeptember 4, 2019 ( -- Ethiopia has one of the highest numbers of displaced people in the world driven out of their homes due to various conflicts across the country.

Old conflicts became more entrenched and new conflicts escalated along various state borders, prompting the Ethiopian government to establish a new Ministry of Peace with Mrs. Muferiat Kamil appointed as Minster.

In the past one year, the Ethiopian Oromia region is involved somewhat in all the hotspots. The entire stretch of its common border with the Somali region is marked as an area most affected by the conflict.

Conflict and displacement were recorded along three of the Oromia region’s borders, with the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples’ (SNNP) region in the south-west, the Benishangul-Gumuz region in the north-west, and the Somali region in the east.

The deadly violence in Somali region drove out many Oromia Residents from Somali Region. Dozens of people were reported to have died in clashes across Ethiopia's Oromia and Somali regions.

Urban centers were also affected with conflict and displacement, including Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Tribal based conflict is reported to be the main reason to push people out of their homes and assets and in the worst case out of their regions. And the situation has attracted the attention of International communities.

According to Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) dated on June 2019, Ethiopia has close to three million people displaced by violent conflicts.

The report was jointly published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, IDMC, and the Norwegian Refugee Council, NRC.

The report released says “Ethiopia had the highest figure, with 2.9 million new displacements, a considerable increase that influenced global trends.”

The report further stated that, since April 2019, conflict resolution moves led by the government have restored relative peace in parts of Ethiopia that have suffered unrest and enabled some internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their place of origins.

In spite of some important and many positive political changes, 2.9 million new displacements associated with conflicts were recorded in Ethiopia, the highest figure in the world and four times as many as in 2017.

International Organization of Migration (IOM) is also one of the Global based institutions to simplify the work of the Government in supporting displaced communities across the country.

In doing so, the institution has Published series of report regarding the situation of conflict and internal displacement in the area where it is active.

Fulfilling basic needs remaining as a major challenge, IOM through its Emergency coordination unit is focusing on providing the vital needs.

According to Ester Ruiz de Azua, IOM Emergency Response Coordinator IOM in this summer has stepped up the distribution of non-food items (NFIs) to thousands of returnees in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) and Oromia regions following conflict in Gedeo/Guji areas of Ethiopia that displaced 700,000 persons during 2018.  

As of August 2018, IOM has been providing shelter assistance to the displaced communities through the construction of 39 communal shelters and the rehabilitation of 13 existing structures in district (or ‘kebele’) compounds used as temporary settlements.  

As the Emergency Response Coordinator elaborates, IOM’s reintegration NFI kit includes a kitchen set, stove, sleeping mat, soap, jerrycans, wash basin, blankets and mosquito nets.  

Some of the districts supported include Gurachu Jeldu Badia, Megala, Kercha Inshe, Dimba Dimbe, Haro Bareti, Bankidabatu, Hatumelema, Sorilewachu and Kilensomekonis.

In addition to the NFIs, water, Sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support have been provided to 2,920 households.

“When the conflict erupted the displaced people did not have the time to carry their belongings. They just ran for their lives. When they came back home three months ago, it was devastating to see that their house was burned down to the ground, crops rundown, and everything else destroyed or looted,” states IOM’s Ethiopia Report as it recalls the incident of the displaced society which left many family homeless.  

‘Currently With return and reintegration efforts ongoing, families have started growing their enset (false banana) crop, which sustains their meagre livelihood. Without much money at hand, it has been very difficult for them to make the house a home again. But they are trying ‘the reported noted.   

John Bang, an IOM staffer in charge of Shelter and NFI distribution explains on his part as IOM increases its support to the Gedeo and Guji Zones, the provision of NFIs is proving very vital for the reintegration of returnee families. “These families had no means to supply themselves with the necessary kits and the lack of these basic kits has made return very difficult’’.

In 2019 alone IOM in Ethiopia has provided 58,364 NFI kits accompanied by solar lanterns and cooking stoves, shelter repair kits for 4,674 households, along with Housing, Land and Property assistance, with 36,396 households benefitting from WASH support’ John Bang noted.

‘Many returnees need support to reintegrate themselves. Therefore, humanitarian partners continue to evaluate the conditions in locations of return as well as to verify the status of the returnees reported by the government’ ’he added.  

IOM Through financial support received from the Federal Government of Germany, European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid and the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, IOM is providing shelter construction materials, NFIs, as well as WASH support. However, there is still a major funding gap to address the needs of all the vulnerable returnees” said as Ester Ruiz de Azua, IOM Emergency Response Coordinator Concludes.

The Organization is said to continue the support it is giving in different districts in West Guji Zone over the coming months.   

Source:  IOM Press Briefing, September 3rd, 2019


Biruktayet-BihonBiruktayet Bihon is Addis Ababa-based contributor for She can be reached through this form.

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