IOM Provides Emergency Transport to Somali Refugees in Ethiopia
Ethiopia - This week, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) assisted 80 newly arrived Somali refugees with emergency transportation from the Ethiopia-Somalia border entry point to Kobe refugee camp in Dolo Ado, in the Somali region of Ethiopia. This latest assistance brings the total number of Somali refugees helped in the border region to 5,397 thus far in 2017. Over 50 per cent of the new arrivals are female while over 90 per cent are under the age of 18.
The latest movement is part of IOM’s emergency transportation assistance provided to newly arriving refugees across Ethiopia, including Somali, South Sudanese and Eritrean nationals. Since September 2016, over 95,000 refugees have been assisted with safe and dignified emergency transport in the Somali, Gambella and Tigray Regions of Ethiopia.
In addition to the severe drought impacting Somalia, the continuing conflict in the country contributed to a surge in new refugee arrivals to Ethiopia in 2017.
Some 2,855 individuals arrived in January alone, with arrivals surpassing the 2017 planning figure of 3,000 individuals by mid-February.
While new arrivals have declined since March, humanitarian agencies anticipate a likely increase in new arrivals during the coming months, given the forecast of significantly below-average April to June rains and the ongoing conflict in Somalia.
Sixty-year-old Kula Ali arrived on the Ethiopian border with his wife and seven children. “We left Somalia and crossed the border because of the drought,” he explained. “It took us two days by minibus to get to the border. We had to pay a big amount and the vehicle was full of people and we only brought a small amount of food and water with us,” Kula Ali said of the exhausting journey.
IOM’s transportation and relocation assistance ensures refugees can access life-saving services in the camps including food, WASH, health, and protection assistance. IOM, in coordination with ARRA, UNHCR and humanitarian partners, is engaged in logistical planning on routing, safety, security, and ensuring the protection needs of refugees are considered during transport. Prior to travel, IOM conducts pre-departure medical screening (PDMS) to ensure refugees are fit for the journey to the camps.
Medical escort assistance is provided to pregnant/lactating women, unaccompanied children, people with disabilities, the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions.
Joséph Nyangaga, IOM Dolo Ado Sub-Office Head, stated that “IOM is scaling up its efforts alongside the drought-stricken Ethiopia-Somalia border to continue transporting Somali refugees in a safe and humane way to refugee camps, where they are provided with lifesaving services.”
“Little Sun” Solar Lamps Bring Light and Smiles to Women and Girls in Ethiopia
“It looks like a flower, I like it!” smiled Kaira, 16, a student and one of the vulnerable displaced girls who benefitted from IOM Ethiopia’s distribution of dignity kits. The kits include the solar powered Little Sun lamp.
In coordination with the Government of Ethiopia’s Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureau (DPPB) and with funding from ECHO, IOM provided a dignity kit and Little Sun solar lamp to 1,265 internally displaced women and girls, aged 15 to 49 years old in the Somali Region of Ethiopia.
The dignity kits complemented 1,000 Emergency Shelter/Non-Food Item (ES/NFI) kits, provided to the families of the women and girls in drought-induced displacement sites in Dolo Ado.
According to data from IOM’s April Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Report, over 60,000 households are displaced across Ethiopia due to the drought currently impacting Ethiopia and countries across the region. The Somali Region of Ethiopia is experiencing the largest impact of the drought and hosts 75 per cent of all households internally displaced due to drought.
On the border with Somalia, Dolo Ado faces not only the humanitarian challenge of internal drought displacement, but also the strain that its five refugee camps put on resources in the area.
Halima, 20 years old, a mother of three and recipient of a dignity kit, explained that her family left their home following the death of all their goats.
Women often carry only items which are deemed essential to the family during displacement, leaving behind personal articles such as clothing and sanitary items. “We walked for three hours and I left all my belongings,” she recalled.
Lack of personal and hygienic items impact the dignity and respect women receive within the community. Dignity kits are provided alongside ES/NFI and include underwear, reusable sanitary pads, body soap, head scarves, and clothing in addition to the new Little Sun solar lamp. The kits are culturally appropriate and hygienic for use by girls and women of reproductive age.
Internally displaced person (IDP) sites in Ethiopia are often informal settlements characterized by makeshift shelters with inadequate lighting.
Halima explained: “There is no light at night, and I use a torch to carry out my household chores such as washing clothes and cooking food.”
Internally displaced women and girls can be highly vulnerable, and protection issues are a primary concern in displacement sites. Through the partnership with Little Sun GmBH, IOM’s provision of solar lamps will equip displaced women and girls with safe, sustainable and clean lighting solutions to improve their day to day activities and have a positive impact on their lives. The lamps also limit the exposure to hazardous forms of lighting such as candles, firewood and kerosene lamps, thereby reducing fire risks and negative health consequences.
The donation of solar lamps was made possible through IOM Ethiopia’s partnership with Little Sun GmBH – a social business enterprise which designed and produced the lamps and supported the project with corporate social funding.
“This will help me study at night and will replace firewood, which is what I normally use to light the books I use for school,” Kaira enthused. “I will read my biology book tonight – I want to be a doctor when I grow up.”
IOM’s transportation service for refugees in Ethiopia is funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
For further information, please contact Joséph Nyangaga, IOM Dollo Ado, Tel: +251 92 7 167 626, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org