Addis Ababa – Since the beginning of this year, over 800,000 people in Ethiopia have fled the violence. In total, around one million people are estimated to be displaced inside the country. Houses and major infrastructure have been severely damaged. More than 200 people have lost their lives. “This is a massive humanitarian crisis which is totally off the radar of the international community,” says Fred McCray, CARE’s Acting Country Director in Ethiopia. “People are in desperate need for help. The region has been suffering from hunger for years. With the current violence, massive displacements and starting rainy season the situation is deteriorating by the day. We urgently need funding to scale up our humanitarian response. People are without food, clean water and safe shelter.”
Every day, more people are fleeing to Gedeo and West Guji, in the south of the country. Most of them are staying with local families, who are opening up their doors to the displaced. “People are trying their best to help, but the host communities are already completely overwhelmed. The living conditions are worsening for everyone,” says McCray. In Gedeo alone 183 spontaneous sites have been set up, while many people are camping in crowded public buildings. The lack of clean water places a high risk for major disease outbreaks. Moreover, concerns are rising in relation to gender-based violence. Women and girls are always the most affected in times of crisis and when living in overcrowded sites with very limited protection.
The Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian agencies are urgently seeking US$ 117.7 million for an initial emergency response. CARE has been responding to drought and famine in Ethiopia since 1984, and is now urgently scaling up its response to help people in Gedeo. CARE is appealing for US$ 5 million to reach 150,000 people in urgent need. In a region that was already affected by drought and food insecurity prior to the escalation of the conflict, the need for food, clean water and health services is now more urgent than ever. CARE and a group of aid agencies call on donors to urgently avail funds to enable a further scale up of services for displaced communities.
Our team in Ethiopia is currently focusing on preventing the outbreak of diseases by improving access to drinking water in the area. CARE will provide water tanks and distribute aid kits, including items such as soap, buckets, blankets and cooking pots to people arriving in Gedeo. In addition, aiming to protect women and children from violence, CARE is also creating woman and child friendly spaces, and will provide psycho-social counseling to the most vulnerable. Our teams in Ethiopia will continue to monitor the situation closely and assess the needs of those affected and especially of women and girls, as conditions are expected to deteriorate further in the coming weeks.
Founded in 1945 with the creation of the CARE Package®, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside women and girls because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. That’s why women and girls are at the heart of CARE’s community-based efforts to improve education and health, create economic opportunity, respond to emergencies and confront hunger. Last year CARE worked in 93 countries and reached 63 million people around the world. Learn more at care.org.