By SisaySahlu                                                                                                    

ADDIS ABEBA – In the wave of historic reforms that have swept Ethiopia this year, the needs of the country’s displaced people must not be forgotten, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said.

More people were internally displaced in Ethiopia in the first half of 2018 than in any other country, outpacing the world’s worst conflict zones including Syria, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

ICRC said this is mainly due to violence.

“The cycle of violence and displacement today in Ethiopia, however, presents a massive humanitarian challenge and steps need to be taken to lessen tensions and facilitate assistance to reach those in need,” said Peter Maurer, ICRD President, in a statement sent to The Daily Monitor.

Between January-June 2018, about 1.4 million people were forced out of their homes in Ethiopia, making the second most populous country in Africa the world leader in terms of violence-related internal displacement during that period.

Flooding in the east and south of the country, continuing border conflicts in the Oromia and Somali regions, and a persistent drought have been the main drivers behind the mass movement and development of over 600 camps for internally displaced people.

‘Encouraging reform’

The president, however, said various reforms in the country are pointing the country in a positive direction.

Following the invitation of authorities, the ICRC is expanding its operations to Somali Regional State, an area with widespread displacement.

 “We are very happy to be returning to Somali Regional State after 11 years of absence,” said ICRC PresidentPeter. “We are also encouraged by signals that Ethiopia will commit more strongly to human rights.” 

In Ethiopia, the ICRC works with the Ethiopia Red Cross Society to distribute emergency relief items to the displaced, provide clean drinking water, and resconnect separated family members. (Daily monitor)