Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 28 September 2023 — The International Rescue Committee (IRC) and the European Union (EU) have joined forces to provide vital assistance to the numerous Ethiopians grappling with the ongoing conflict in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR). This collaborative effort aimed at alleviating deaths and vulnerability among the most at-risk individuals, including women, girls, and young children. The EU has contributed nearly 2.2 million euros to support this vital initiative.
Ethiopia faces a complex crisis characterized by escalating conflict and the adverse effects of climate change. The country has grappled with severe drought, affecting over 31 million people due to six consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall and now parts of the country is suffering from severe flooding. Simultaneously, conflicts have disrupted lives and impeded the delivery of essential humanitarian aid.
In SNNPR, ongoing conflicts have resulted in loss of life and the displacement of over 100,000 individuals. Fleeing violence, people have undertaken arduous journeys, leaving behind their possessions and livelihoods. Thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) now reside in substandard conditions with limited protection and sanitation facilities.
Melody Munz, Director of Programs for IRC Ethiopia, said:
The SNNPR is currently grappling with the effects of the country’s worst drought in over 40 years, further exacerbating the challenges faced by conflict-affected populations. Families must travel for hours to find water, leading to children dropping out of school to assist with water collection and caregiving, placing them at risk of exploitation.
Leveraging its established presence in Ethiopia, the IRC launched this two-year rapid life-saving emergency program in July 2021. This program offers crucial support to affected families, including access to safe water, shelter repair kits, healthcare, nutrition services, cash assistance, and primary education opportunities.
With the support of the EU, the IRC has achieved significant milestones. Water access points have been established within IDP camps, enabling families to endure the severe drought. Safe Healing and Learning Spaces have been constructed to ensure that children affected by drought and conflict can continue their education.
Through these comprehensive efforts, the program has reached more than 72,000 individuals, including 35,000 children, providing a beacon of hope in a challenging environment.
The International Rescue Committee partners with the European Union to provide life-saving support to people caught in conflict and disasters around the world. Our work funded by the EU enables people to survive, recover and rebuild their lives.