IOM Ethiopia Supports Displaced Families in Gambella

In coordination with the Gambella Regional Disaster Prevention and Food Security Agency (DPFSA), IOM has supported 332 vulnerable displaced households with the distribution of critical shelter, cash and non-food items (NFIs) to meet their most basic needs.

Recent inter-ethnic attacks in border areas of Ethiopia’s Gambella Region has caused the affected families to flee their homes. According to the displaced families, their villages were attacked by perpetrators who stole cattle, kidnapped children and burned houses.

“These individuals fled the ensuing violence with nothing and they are too frightened to return to their villages. They remain extremely vulnerable and in need of urgent humanitarian assistance,” said Miriam Mutalu, IOM Ethiopia’s Head of the Sub-Office in Gambella.

The pilot cash/voucher component of the distribution was carried out from 13 to 14 March and engaged the existing local market, thereby contributing to the local economy of the host community. In coordination with the local supplier, displaced households were provided with vouchers for 15 non-food items including a jerry can, washing basin, and soap in addition to other items.

IOM also procured and distributed tarpaulins to the displaced households to meet their most urgent shelter needs and provided 1,200 Ethiopian Birr (USD 52) in cash per household for families to spend on additional household necessities.

The provision of cash was supported by the Ethiopian Postal Service, which previously participated in IOM training on the use of cash transfers as an innovative way to address the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Providing cash to IDPs increases the flexibility of assistance and allows for displaced households to prioritize their own requirements.

Nyadeil, a 46-year-old mother of seven, is among those displaced from Luel for fear of further attacks. “This is the second time that we have been displaced in fear of another attack. My children were in school and we had livestock before we were displaced.” Now Nyadeil and her family have nothing and she is very thankful for the assistance. “We will use the plastic sheets to build a shelter and buy some milk with some of the money we received,” she said.

In discussions with the local authorities and displaced households, IOM distributed the vouchers, shelter materials and cash to the women in the households to mitigate potential misuse of resources, ensure that provision of assistance reaches children, and to engage women in the management of household assets. The provision of cash, shelter and NFIs is supported by the Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund (EHF).

IOM will continue working in close coordination with the DPFSA to ensure that the urgent needs of the displaced households are met without delay.

For further information, please contact IOM Ethiopia, Miriam Mutalu at Tel: +251 946 69 25 01, Email:

IOM distributes non-food items to displaced families in Gambella, Ethiopia.