UN critical aid programmes for thousands in Ethiopia

New UN critical aid programmes for hundreds of thousands
in Ethiopia

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A severe drought
in Ethiopia’s Oromia region has left almost every family
with hardly anything to feed themselves. (File) Photo:
OCHA/Charlotte Cans

29 January 2018 – The United Nations
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) – a pool of funding
which supports critical relief operations around the world
– has allocated $10 million to help meet the life-saving
needs of the most vulnerable people displaced due to
conflict in Ethiopia.

Since early September, escalation of
conflict along the country’s Oromia and Somali regional
borders has driven hundreds of thousands from their homes
into about 370 sites for internally displaced persons
(IDPs), where they are living with needs many times greater
than the response.

“Today I visited two IDP
re-settlement sites where I saw first-hand the critical
importance of scaling up our support to meet their needs,”
said Mark Lowcock, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and
the head of the Office for Coordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (OCHA), during a visit to the horn of Africa
nation.

According to a news release issued by OCHA, the
Ethiopian Government has also stepped up its response and is
delivering vital food assistance to those in need. It is
also working on efforts to facilitate voluntary returns and
provide alterative re-settlement sites.

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“The CERF funds
will complement the Government plan and will enable
humanitarian partners to provide life-saving assistance,
including shelter, clean water and sanitation services for
those most in need among the displaced and host communities.
The funds will also support solutions for displaced people
to re-establish their lives,” said Mr. Lowcock, who
manages the CERF on behalf of the
Secretary-General.

Today I visited two IDP
re-settlement sites where I saw first-hand the critical
importance of scaling up our support to meet their needsUN
aid chief Mark Lowcock


In
spite of having to brave acute crises, over the past decades
Ethiopia has made remarkable strides in development and
addressing hunger. However, its susceptibility to drought
continues to plague its people with food insecurity, with
rains having failed as recently as in 2016-2017.

And
therefore, along with humanitarian response there is an
urgent need to strengthen the country’s long-term resilience
to future shocks.

Highlighting this importance, Mr.
Lowcock was joined during his visit by Achim Steiner, the
Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), to
solidify humanitarian and development collaboration and to
make joint recommendations for solutions to break the cycle
of loss of development gains due to recurrent
disasters.

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“The international community must seize
opportunities to support Ethiopia in strengthening
Government-led sustainable development structures at all
levels that can mitigate human risks and the threat from
increasingly frequent and severe droughts,” added the news
release, urging support to strengthen Government and civil
society capacities for peace building and
reconciliation.

Established by the UN General Assembly in
2006, CERF is a humanitarian funding mechanism that enables
a faster and more effective response to vital needs of
people affected by natural disasters, armed conflicts, or
under-funded crises.

Over the past two years, the Fund has
provided $49 million to aid programmes in Ethiopia,
sustaining important relief efforts for those in dire
need.

ends

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