Over 83,000 arrive in Ethiopia, fleeing recent clashes in Somalia

Mekelle፡26 February 2023(Tigray Herald)

Over 83,000 women, children and elderly asylum-seekers have arrived in Doolo Zone Somali region.

Due to conflict in the Laascaanod district, an increasing number of people have been fleeing their homes, with more than 83 thousand (subject to verification) have crossed the border into the Doolo zone of Ethiopia’s Somali region over the past month.

Most of them are women, pregnant and lactating mothers, children, including unaccompanied and separated, the elderly, persons with serious medical conditions and disabilities. They face high protection risks and are in need of urgent assistance.

Host communities have generously welcomed these families, sharing them the little they have with them, in one of the areas hardest hit by the terrible drought affecting the Horn of Africa. Many of the families have settled within the communities, in common buildings, or in open areas. They said they had little to no food in the past two weeks and urgently need nutritional support, water and sanitation facilities, and specialized protection services.

“The Government of Ethiopia (GoE), having maintained its longstanding generosity to asylum seekers, is receiving the needy by keeping the humanitarian and civilian nature of the overall response,” Tesfahun Gobezay, Director General of Ethiopia’s Refugees & Returnees Service – RRS said. He added “RRS and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) are coordinating with federal and regional government bodies, UN agencies and other partners to respond to the needs of the newly arrived asylum-seekers.”

“Once again, the people and government of Ethiopia have shown tremendous generosity by keeping their doors open for their Somali brothers and sisters in need of protection,” said Mamadou Dian Balde, UNHCR Representative in Ethiopia. Adding “we are doing all we can to help them, and urgent international attention and support is now needed to respond to the rapidly growing needs.”

While discussions are on-going to decide on the locations to establish settlements for those in need, we call for further support from the international community, partners and other stakeholders to join efforts to help respond to the unfolding emergency in the Doolo zone.

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