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News: More than 37,000 re-displaced people in West Wollega in need of immediate, sustainable solutions: UN

In 2018, more than 64, 594 people, including women and children, were internally displaced following communal clashes in Kamashi Zone of the Benishangul Gumuz Regional State. Picture: 2018 archive

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Addis Abeba, August 13/2020 – Some 37,000 secondary displaced persons in West Wollega need immediate and sustainable solutions. From 64,594 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who were returned to Kamashi and Assosa zones of Benishangul Gumuz region (BGR) from West Wollega zone (Oromia region), more than 37,000 were re-displaced and are currently sheltered in seven woredas (Gimbi, Boji Dirmeji, Lalo Asabi, Nedjo, Leta Sibu, Kiltu Kara and Mene Sibu) of West Wollega zone.

Amongst the main reasons for the secondary displacement include, lack of basic services, lack of protection, insecurity, inter-communal tension and fragile social cohesion, poor governance and lack of livelihood in their places of origin. In addition, peace and reconciliation activities were mainly conducted at higher levels with limited involvement of IDPs.

The IDPs have not received humanitarian assistance for almost one year, and they urgently require food, shelter and health services. The IDPs also raised protection concerns, including poor protection from the weather and lack of privacy, increased exposure to COVID-19 infection due to overcrowding, insecurity and risk of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), and loss of documents for their houses and land.

All the IDPs do not have full access to health services due to lack of cash for paid services. Access to basic services, particularly, potable drinking water, sanitation, health, nutrition, education, food, shelter and non-food items are limited due to insecurity, and the zonal Government policy to limit assistance to secondarily displaced IDPs. Inter-communal tension persists resulting in a fragile social cohesion despite ongoing peace building efforts initiated by the Government and other stakeholders.

The secondary displaced people were welcomed by the host community in Oromia at the initial phase of their displacement in September 2018, and host communities provide the initial essential services. However, due to the protracted presence of secondary displaced IDPs and absence of durable solutions, the host community is fatigued, their resources are depleted and can no more afford to assist. Most of the IDPs are living in rental houses whose cost has become too expensive for them given their limited income.

According to an inter-agency multi-sectoral needs assessment conducted in secondary displaced-hosting woredas of West Wollega zone from 8-12June 2020, the IDPs are not willing to return to Benishangul Gumuz region due to instability and insecurity in their places of origin. They have requested for re-settlement in Oromia region as part of their durable solutions. UN dispatch

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