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News: Security situation “fast deteriorating” particularly in western Oromia as thousands displaced, essential services not functional: UN

Thousands of civilians are displaced from several districts in eastern Wollega Zone, in Oromia regional state, including the entire residents from 19 villages in Gida Ayana Kebelle (Pictured). Photo: OMN

Addis Abeba – A new report by the United Nation’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says humanitarian delivery to people in need in the Oromia regional state is “fast deteriorating.”

In its latest report, the UN stated that hundreds of thousands of civilians in Oromia have been uprooted from their homes and social infrastructures have been destroyed; the crisis is particularly severe in conflict-affected Western Oromia where electricity, mobile network, health facilities, banks and markets are not functional.

The displaced people are not only taking refuge in better-off areas within Oromia, but also crossing the border into Amhara Region in large numbers after a three to five days journey on foot, it stated.

More than 10,000 people were displaced internally in the first half of December 2022, the majority of the displaced people from Oromia in Amhara are living with host communities in East Gojam, North Shewa, North Wello, South Gondar, South Wello and West Gojam zones as well as Debre Birhan City.

Given the increasing IDP influx, Amhara regional authorities are reopening Jara IDP site in North Wello and have reopened Turkish site in South Wollo zones, it disclosed.

According to the report, the hostilities in Western Oromia are also impacting humanitarian assistance to a large number of IDPs and refugees in Benishangul Gumuz Region as the main supply route (Addis Abeba-Western Oromia-Assosa) remains blocked.

Addis Standard reported last week that more than 30, 000 civilians internally displaced due to the recent violence are stranded in Gida town of Gida Ayana district in East Wollega zone, Western Oromia without access to food, water, shelter and medical services.

The UN had previously said due to the prevailing insecurity since 2019 in Western and Southern Oromia, the humanitarian crisis has been deteriorating from time to time, and there are an estimated 740,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) in Western Oromia, border areas with the Amhara and the Benishangul Gumuz regions

In Eastern and Southern Ethiopia, more than 4.5 million livestock have died since late 2021, and at least 30 million weakened and emaciated livestock are at risk, the UN stated, adding that, nearly 12 million people are estimated to be food insecure, and 8.6 million people are being targeted for water, sanitation and hygiene assistance across the drought-affected areas.

The report also revealed that the cholera outbreak in parts of Oromia and Somali regions is still not contained, and between 27 August and 14 December, 24 have died with 669 cholera cases reported in five woredas of Bale Zone, one woreda of Guji Zone in Oromia region and two woredas in Somali Region.

The cholera caseload increased by 17.7% in the last 14 days with new daily cases reported and close to 743,000 people are at high-risk across the eight affected woredas, it added.

Aid delivery improved in northern Ethiopia

In the same report, the UN said that more than 1,600 trucks delivering over 63,800 metric tons of food and more than 4000 metric tons of health and other facilities have been transported into Tigray between 15 November to 8 December.

The first humanitarian convoy movement from Mekelle to Shire started on 9 December and have continued since, it stated, adding that electric lines and telecommunications have started being restored in several places, including in Axum and Shire towns.

However, this positive progress needs to be further scaled up to reach the large number of populations who were rendered extremely vulnerable after two years of conflict, the report emphasized.

According to the report, the assistance and rehabilitation work in conflict-affected areas in Afar and Amhara are also being scaled up, but more is needed especially in areas where the displaced populations are returning following improved security. AS

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