In Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, the lives of five million displaced persons including women and children are at great risk if men, women, and organisations of conscience fail to rise quickly to assist them.
The Ethiopia Emergency Shelter and Non-Food Item (ES/NFI) Cluster led by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has already said that $27 million is urgently needed to continue providing emergency shelter and other assistance for those internally displaced.
Five million people have been affected by the humanitarian crisis triggered by conflict nine months ago, and more than 2.1 million people are internally displaced in the region, according to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Site Assessment Report 7, released last week.
While some have fled Ethiopia and sought refuge in neighbouring Sudan, many are sheltered in 116 sites for internally displaced persons (IDP) in the region.
Some 629,000 have been reached with lifesaving emergency shelter and non-food items that include blankets and cooking utensils.
But the assistance has not been confined to tangible items. An example is the local people who have shown solidarity by sheltering the vast majority of the displaced.
However, this hosting capacity appears to have reached its limit, particularly since the disruption of banking services and the reduced supply of goods and services because of the crisis.
For the past 10 years, IOM has been leading the ES/NFI cluster in Ethiopia, a group of 33 national and international NGOs and two UN agencies operating in 10 regions and 59 zones, which has recently established two sub-clusters working on shelter and non-food item assistance in Tigray to improve coordination and responses.
The Cluster urgently requires USD 27 million for ES/NFI assistance to 1.6 million people living in unsafe conditions. Many may be asked to vacate their temporary residence in schools that are planned to open by late September.
“The ES/NFI Cluster partners are working with multiple approaches given the complex and often urban environments where many displaced people find themselves,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM Director for the Department of Operations and Emergencies.
“The strategy is for a response that assists both newly displaced people and stretched host communities. It also prepares for those people who may be displaced for the long term.”
In July, IOM appealed for $63.4 million to help those affected by the crisis in Northern Ethiopia, of which $50.1 million is for the provision of emergency shelter and non-food items to about 2 million IDPs in 2021. Only $28.7 million has been received so far.