The Afar Regional State is highly vulnerable to recurrent disasters including communal conflicts and natural hazards such as drought, flood, desert locusts and severe wind events. Climatic change has driven an increased level of disaster and displacement risks in this fragile pastoralist lowland area. In 2015 El Niño induced droughts displaced 147,996 people in the Afar and Somali regions and left a legacy of protracted humanitarian and recovery needs that have severely degraded the resilience levels of local populations. By June 2019 critical food shortages and water scarcity displaced 58,145 individuals in Afar.
As per DTM Round 23 conflict-induced and climate-induced IDPs number a total of 148,051 IDPs in Afar. Lack of sustainable livelihoods, shelters, low access to food, or the lack of establishment or rehabilitation of basic infrastructure have been highlighted as prominent obstacles to returning IDPs, forcing these individuals into protracted displacement cycles. Resolving displacement challenges requires a focus on the following areas of interventions:
- expansion of sustainable water resources
- livelihood restoration, including rehabilitation of common rangelands and market expansion
- basic infrastructure development
Given the high level of vulnerability to climate change and conflict events, the Afar Regional Government and humanitarian and development partners have prioritized assistance to pastoralists and agro-pastoralists. The regional government has developed tools to reduce disaster risk for this group such as developing the Early Warning System. Initial efforts have focused on providing pastoralists with irrigation and forage rehabilitation support along with mobile human and animal health services. Over 54,000 farmers were provided with crop production support to cultivate 100,000ha.
Afar Regional Government has shown a high level of interest in setting up a regional Durable Solutions Working Group (DSWG) which was completed in 2019. The Afar DSWG has members from regional government partners, NGOs and UN agencies and conduct monthly meetings to discuss the needs of displacement affected communities in the region.
Through the DSWG IOM has provided technical assistance and capacity building training to local partners. However, this region requires a higher level of involvement and sustained long term assistance to mitigate the ongoing and multiplying impacts of climate change and break protracted conflict cycles