They are unable to return to farm their land
More than 400,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) are unable to return to their lands before the end of the planting season.
The Benishangul Gumuz Disaster Risk Prevention Commission was planning to facilitate the return of the IDPS until the end of last month.
The IDPs were displaced in the last four years following an attack by rebel groups active in the region. They are now living in IDP camps located in Metekel, Guba, and other areas. More than 300,000 people are situated in Metekel zone, according to the region’s risk management commission.
“We have planned to return the IDPs to their home before the summer season comes,” said Tarekegn Tasisa, the head of the commission, in a phone interview with The Reporter two months ago. Our repeated attempts to get a response this time around as to why they have not been returned bore no fruit.
Political groups operating in the region said the shelters of IDPs are being damaged by rain, with some already in a critical situation.
“Even though the region’s risk management commission tried to return and help some of the IDPs, there are many people suffering from getting enough humanitarian aid,’’ said Muluken Birhanu, research department head at Boro Democratic Party.
Those who have returned are not getting enough support from the government, according to Muluken. Thousands of IDPS in Dibatie and Bulen are waiting for a humanitarian aid, unable to return to their home because of an ongoing conflict.
“There is a lack of supply for agricultural inputs” Muluken added.
The humanitarian situation in Ethiopia remains dire.
The drought in the southern and eastern parts of the country has caused a devastating impact on the livelihoods of pastoralist and agro-pastoralist communities. Heavy rains in some northern, western and southern parts of the country are also causing flash floods and damages to houses and infrastructure.
However, conflict remains to be the main driver of humanitarian needs, displacing people by the thousands. Last week, killings in Oromia caused an increased displacement into neighboring Amhara Region.
More than 20,500 people are reported to have crossed into Amhara region due to current hostilities faced in western Oromia.
Newly displaced persons are seeking refuge in an overcrowded and sub-standard displacement sites or are setting up temporary make-shift shelters exposed to health risks, according to the UN OCHA.
“The majority are taking refuge amongst the host community, who are vulnerable themselves,” OCHA said in its report released two days ago.