IOM: Humanitarian Agencies Prepare for Increased Displacement of Drought-Affected Somalis into Ethiopia

As severe food insecurity continues to rise due to the worsening drought, thousands of Somalis are being forced to leave their homes in search of water, food and pasture. The Government of Ethiopia and the humanitarian community are planning for the potential arrival of 50,000 Somalis in the border regions of Ethiopia. These individuals will require urgent humanitarian assistance.

Somalia is currently experiencing a drought, which could lead to famine – only six years after a devastating famine killed nearly 260,000 people in 2011. Humanitarian agencies estimate that there are 6.2 million drought-affected Somalis in need of assistance, including food, water, sanitation services, healthcare, nutrition, protection and shelter. While needs are widespread, areas with little humanitarian access such as Bay and Bakool are especially affected, as many are forced to walk for days seeking assistance, food and water.

“We have received news of Somalis arriving at the Ethiopian border extremely distressed and malnourished,” said Gerry Waite, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission.

IOM is scaling up lifesaving operations along the drought-stricken Ethiopia-Somalia border, where thousands are at risk of disease and death. Thus far in 2017, IOM Ethiopia has transported over 4,000 Somalis from border entry points to displacement camps in Dollo Ado, where they are received and given access to lifesaving services. IOM and humanitarian partners continue to seek resources to support the emergency shelter needs of drought-displaced families.

“IOM remains ready to assist vulnerable individuals crossing the Somalia-Ethiopia border, and appeals to the donor community for their support in helping people forced from their homes by drought,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission.

Drought is also affecting Ethiopia – low rainfall is predicted for the southern, eastern and north-eastern parts of the country. The Humanitarian Requirement Document 2017, produced jointly by the Government of Ethiopia and humanitarian partners, estimates a total of 376,000 internally displaced persons as a result of the drought. Initial projections of displacement figures are now expected to be much higher due to the severity of the drought. IOM Ethiopia’s Displacement Tracking Matrix has identified over 126,000 individuals internally displaced as a result of the drought since the beginning of 2017.

IOM recently launched its 2017 Somalia Drought Appeal. It was developed to enhance current response, and expand the UN Migration Agency’s geographic footprint within the country to help those most affected by the drought. IOM teams on the ground are rapidly scaling up ongoing interventions in the fields of health, shelter, water and sanitation, protection and food security.

IOM is also increasing its displacement tracking capacity in Somalia and Ethiopia to allow for real time updates to better inform humanitarian response and planning. The activities presented in the Somalia Drought Appeal include and build on the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and UN OCHA’s Pre-Famine Operational Plan (January-June 2017), that target the country’s most critical lifesaving needs.

Download the Appeal here:

https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/country_appeal/file/IOM-Appeal_S...

For further information, please contact IOM Somalia, Sanyu Osire, Tel: +254 705 832 020, Email: mosire@iom.int and at IOM Ethiopia, Martin Wyndham, Tel: +251 930 411 225, Email: mwyndham@iom.int

Somali drought-displaced communities gather around a fire to fight off biting cold.