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News: IDPs in Abergele woreda start returning home after Tigrayan forces’ recent withdrawal

IDPs in Weleh IDP camp . Picture: Wag Hemra Communication Affairs Bureau

Addis Abeba – Thousands of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) who were uprooted for over two years from the Abergele Woreda, in Amhara regional state, are returning to their neighborhood after Tigrayan forces left the area on 29 March.

The federal defense forces quietly controlled the Abergele Woreda this week as the result of the peace agreement and Cessation of Hostilities Agreement signed between the federal government and Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Pretoria, South Africa.

The withdrawal of Tigrayan forces is now allowing the displaced population to return, according to Sebuh Gebeyaw (PhD), chief administrator of the ethnic administration. “The administration is preparing to return the IDPs home and put them back to their previous lives,” the communication office said.

The administration reported that the entire Nere Aqu city is destroyed due to the war as well as schools, health centers, and infrastructures of the Woreda community.

More than 47 people have reportedly died on account to limited access to food, transportation, and healthcare facilities, Alemu Kifle, administrator of the Woreda told BBC. Residents of the Woreda, which has been cut off from the rest of the area without any infrastructural facilities, are also in great strain. “Also, mothers died during childbirth.”

Medicine and water access as well as food aid are being delivered after the federal forces controlled the area. However, there are still people suffering from lack of medicine, malaria and no health services, according to Alemu.

Earlier in March, IDPs in Tsagbiji and Abergele districts in Wag-Hemra zone of the Amhara region and harbored at Woleh makeshift camp in the zone said they were suffering from acute hunger as they haven’t received any food aid since June last year.

Despite expectations to return back to their homes following the signing of the peace agreement between the Tigrayan authorities and the federal government of Ethiopia, they are unable to return and still suffering in the camp; Abergele and Tsegbej districts in the Wag Khemra zone of the Amhara region were still under the control of the Tigray forces.

In January the administration said more than 70,000 internally displaced people sheltered in makeshift camps in the zone for more than two years are suffering from severe hunger and acute diseases.

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In June 2022, Addis Standard reported IDPs in three districts of the Wag-Hemra administration zone: Abergele, Zequala, and Tsagebej were facing severe hunger, compounded with drought. Abergele woreda, in particular, was facing malaria, rabies and significant food shortages as well as severe Acute Watery Diarrhea (AWD) outbreak, which has resulted in the death of eight people during the time.

Sebuh requested the government, charitable organizations, and the public to work together to put area back to where it was. AS

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