IOM says prolonged drought triggered significant displacement in Ethiopia

  • World
  • Saturday, 03 Jun 2023

ADDIS ABABA, June 2 (Xinhua) -- The prolonged drought in Ethiopia has triggered significant displacement that is likely to continue into 2023 across communities with eroded livelihoods, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday.

The UN migration agency, in its Ethiopia Annual Report 2022 that was issued Friday, said as the drought situation persists in parts of the East African country, there is a high probability of a sixth failed season in 2023, a phenomenon not seen or heard of in recorded history.

"Communities in southern and eastern parts of Ethiopia have been suffering from a devastating drought following five consecutive failed rainy seasons," it said.

IOM said the continued drought has resulted in a displacement and refugee crisis as some 1.8 million people are displaced in drought-affected regions of Ethiopia, while one out of five displaced persons in Ethiopia is displaced due to drought.

The drought-affected regions comprise three quarters of the total land area of Ethiopia, in which Somali, Oromia, and Afar regions are the most severely impacted, said IOM.

Figures from the UN migration agency show that one in every four migrants leaving Ethiopia in 2022 was from drought-affected areas of the country, one in every four returning migrants was going back to drought-affected areas of the country.

With multiple crises significantly increasing the needs of affected populations in Ethiopia, IOM said it has continued to adapt, be flexible, and respond at scale. It said its response supported over 2 million instances of multi-sectoral assistance to people in need across Ethiopia in 2022.

According to IOM, in addition to the prolonged drought, the two-year conflict in northern Ethiopia created high humanitarian needs across Afar, Amhara, and Tigray regions, which remained largely unaddressed due to resource constraints.

It, however, said since the signing of the peace agreement back in November last year, improved security started to open opportunities for humanitarian access to areas that were inaccessible before, allowing humanitarian actors to continue to expand and scale up much needed assistance.

IOM, describing the year 2022 as "critical" for Ethiopia and the wider East and Horn of Africa region, said the international community was challenged to respond to the increasing humanitarian needs due to armed confrontations in many parts of the country and consequent displacement, with frequent shortages of basic supplies and services.

It said as a country of origin, transit and destination for migrants, approximately 250,000 Ethiopians migrated, driven by natural and man-made disasters and severe economic hardship during the course of 2022.

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