Refugees in Nguenyyiel Gambella of Ethiopia, May 2019 [Image File]

UN Seeks $658mln to Support for Refugees & Hosts in Ethiopia

ADDIS ABEBA – The UN Refugee Agency has launched today an international appeal of 658 million U.S. dollars to support refugees and host communities in Ethiopia.

UNHCR and its partners the appeal will help them assist over 735,000 refugees and more than half a million Ethiopian hosts in 2020.

“International support and solidarity is vital to ensure the implementation of the wide range of rights granted to refugees by Ethiopia during the last three years,” said Andrej Mahecic, UNHCR spokesperson on Friday

Authorities have recently revised its laws to grant refugees the right to work and access social services, facilitating their inclusion among the communities where they live.

These include the adoption of progressive laws, which allow refugees to obtain work permits, access primary education and obtain drivers’ licenses, in January, last year.

UNHCR and 57 other partners announced today the Ethiopia Refugee Response Plan that covers various humanitarian activities to be carried out by the agencies.

“It seeks to address huge gaps in health and nutrition, education, and shelter while also investing in sectors including sanitation, energy and livelihoods,” Mahecic said.

Humanitarian agencies are expecting the number of refugees in Ethiopia to grow substantially during the course of this year.

The country is also dealing with its own internal displacement and food insecurity challenges that leave 8.4 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2020.

“Resources are needed to expand existing social services infrastructure in health, education, water and sanitation, environmental protection, social protection and employment as part of the broad refugee response,” the spokesperson added.

Ethiopia has a long history of hosting refugees and asylum seekers.

The country is currently hosting more than 735,000 from 26 nationalities, the majority from South Sudan (329,123).

The remaining are from Somalia (191,575), Eritreans (139,281) and Sudan (42,285).

[Photo File]