IOM distributes shelter materials and blankets to displaced people in Gedeb, Ethiopia. (Photo IOM/Olivia Headon)

UN Migration Agency Appeals $50mln Aid for Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA – The United Nations migration agency has appealed to the international community for 50 million US Dollars to continue offering lifesaving assistance to 1.5 million Ethiopians.

Consecutive years of droughts and conflicts have left nearly nine million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The latest appeal made late last week is part of the comprehensive inter-agency 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Ethiopia, which aims to raise $1.3bln to support 8.3 million people. Half-way through the year, less than one-third of the HRP has been funded.

“IOM has been steadfast in its commitment to assisting the people in need of humanitarian assistance throughout Ethiopia,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Ethiopia.

“With the threat of an impending drought that is feared to be just as bad if not worse than the one in 2016-2017, the international community must continue to focus on saving lives and supporting the protection and safety of millions of people in need.”

The strongest El Niño phenomenon on record led to an extreme drought in 2016 and 2017 left at least 16 million people in need of food and nutritional assistance, access to safe drinking water, and livelihood support.

The second-largest refugee-hosting nation in Africa, Ethiopia is hosting some 900,000 refugees primarily from South Sudan, Somalia, and elsewhere, with additional refugees continuing to arrive.

Transportation of newly arrived refugees from border entry points remains critical, it said.

“With continued support from our donors and partners, IOM hopes to continue the multi-sector life-saving assistance that has helped mitigate the worst effects of the crisis in previous years,” Achieng said.