On an official visit to Ethiopia, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides has announced today €89 million in humanitarian support for 2018-2019 whilst visiting EU aid projects in the Somali region in Eastern Ethiopia where many people have fled their homes due to internal conflict.
Speaking today from the Qologi camp for internally displaced people near Jijiga, capital of the Somali region, Commissioner Stylianides said: "Ethiopia is an important partner for the European Union. As the country undergoes profound positive political change, the EU will step up support for the most vulnerable Ethiopians. I have seen myself how crucial our EU humanitarian support is in the daily lives of displaced people. It helps them feed their children, provide them with medicines and send them to school. This is EU aid that saves lives.”
The EU funding will be used to address the needs of people displaced within Ethiopia, refugees from neighbouring countries as well as tackling natural disasters such as drought. Currently there are close to 3 million people displaced within the country and around 1 million refugees from neighbouring countries.
The Commissioner is holding various meetings with the Ethiopian authorities. Yesterday he met Ethiopian President Ms Sahle-Work Zewde in Addis Ababa, where the Commissioner reiterated the EU's strong partnership with Ethiopia and commitment to support the country's reform process. Today in Jijiga he met with President of the Somali region, Mr Mustafa Mohammed Omar and with partners delivering aid on the ground to discuss the humanitarian situation.
The Commissioner is also due to meet representatives from the Government of Ethiopia, as well as the African Union.
EU humanitarian aid
EU assistance focuses on the supply of clean water, shelter and sanitation and hygiene, as well as the distribution of food, the treatment of malnourished children and the prevention and treatment of epidemics. In addition, displaced families receive essential items such as cooking utensils and other household goods.
The EU promotes access and rapid delivery of emergency aid in both areas of displacement and areas of return. Returns of displaced populations must be voluntary and safe. Aid should not contribute to policies or actions that may induce premature or involuntary returns.
Conflict, population displacement and natural disasters have resulted in a major humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia. Close to 3 million people have fled inter-communal violence and conflict.
The dire conditions in the sites where people have sought shelter as well as the pressure on the displaced to return to their place of origin despite continued violence are of serious concern. More than half a million people lost their homes due to floods and drought.
In addition, Ethiopia is one of the largest refugee hosting countries in Africa. Hosting close to 1 million refugees, the influx of refugees is expected to continue especially from South Sudan and Eritrea.
Among the refugee population, malnutrition, lack of access to clean water and healthcare, and gender-based violence are among the biggest concerns.
Recovering from two successive droughts, an estimated 7.8 million people are in need of emergency food assistance, in addition to 7.9 million that are considered chronically vulnerable. Growing ethnic violence is currently the biggest driver of displacement.
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* Updated on 18/12/2018 at 12:30