From ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – CONFLICT has forced some 1,4 million Ethiopians to flee their homes since the beginning of the year.
The East African country thus tops the global list of the highest number of people forced to flee within their country in the first half of 2018.
This has been largely due to new ethnic clashes in Gedeo and West Guji region in southern Ethiopia, and continued violence in the Oromia-Somali border region.
Most of the violence has been experienced in the border region, with 200 000 people fleeing their homes in the first half of the year. Another 500 000 people fled clashes in the last quarter of 2017.
Food shortages have hit the region hard, further compounding the crisis.
“It beggars belief that 1,4 million people fleeing violence isn’t making global headlines. The world has turned a blind eye to Ethiopia,” warned Nigel Tricks, Regional Director of the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
He said the families that the aid group has met were living in dire conditions and dismal international funding was being channeled to help them.
“People tell us they are keen to return home but they fled with nothing and need to know they can access support to rebuild their lives,” Tricks said.
He said it was important that repatriation schemes by the government were voluntary and sustainable.
With some 104 million people, Ethiopia has the second-biggest population in the continent, after Nigeria.
– CAJ News