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UN Launches $22M Appeal to Tackle Ethiopian Displacement Crisis

FILE - Women gather for a food distribution at the Farbudo internally displaced person camp, in Gode, near Kebri Dahar, southeastern Ethiopia, Jan. 27, 2018.

The U.N. migration agency is launching an appeal for $22.2 million to provide life-saving assistance for hundreds of thousands of people displaced by communal violence in southern Ethiopia.

Fighting among local communities over pasture land and water resources along the border of Ethiopia’s Gedeo and West Guji regions has displaced some 970,000 people since April.

The spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, Joel Millman, said this rapid displacement has resulted in the loss of livelihood, a disruption of services and significant damage to infrastructure.

He said the agency does not have enough money to deal with a crisis of this scale. He said the appeal will assist 400,000 displaced in the Gedeo and West Guji regions over the next six months.

Millman told VOA people are living under very precarious conditions, so more than half of the $22 million appeal will be used for emergency shelters and non-food items.

“People are sleeping in the open. They have a single sheet of tarpaulin, often sleeping in dirt or mud underneath them. So, shelter is, of course, of the utmost importance. It is the rainy season and people left usually carrying nothing but what they were wearing. We know they are in need of everything,” he said.

Millman said people are clustering in different reception areas seeking help of every kind. He said the IOM will provide assistance to the displaced in collective sites as well as to those living in host communities.