Some agencies of the United Nations (UN) and their partners have appealed for U.S.$116 million to provide urgent life-saving assistance to Somali refugees seeking safety in remote areas of Ethiopia.
Development Diaries reports that the UN, in a joint statement with its partners, said the current humanitarian situation is dire as many children under the age of five, nursing and pregnant women are at risk of moderate acute malnutrition.
The organisations that launched the appeal include United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the World Food Programme (WFP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Others are the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), GOAL, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Organisation for Sustainable Development (OSD) and OWS Development Funds (OWS-DF).
Since fighting started in February 2023 in the city of Las’anod, Sool Region, with hundreds of thousands of people displaced and close to 100,000 estimated to have crossed the border into Ethiopia to escape violence.
Most of the new arrivals in Ethiopia are women, children, older people and people with specific needs, who arrive with nothing, scared and hungry. Among them are a high number of unaccompanied and separated children, which heightens protection concerns.
‘The Ethiopian government and local communities have generously welcomed the refugees, extending any help they can, but with the continuing arrivals, resources are already severely overstretched’, UNHCR’s Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa and Great Lakes Region, Clementine Nkweta-Salami, said in the statement.
‘We need additional funding to ramp up delivery of aid and address the acute and growing humanitarian needs’.
The mass displacement taking place in Somalia is also happening at a time the country is battling the impacts of drought that have affected roughly 8.25 million people.
‘This influx of refugees is happening at the worst time possible, in an extremely remote area of Ethiopia’s Somali region which is also one of the most severely hit by the worst drought in 60 years’, WFP’s Regional Director for East Africa, Michael Dunford, said.
‘To save lives, we need funding now’.
Development Diaries calls on donor organisations and the international community to scale up support for vulnerable groups in Ethiopia.
Photo source: Norwegian Refugee Council