Konso, Ethiopia - The Southwestern Ethiopian town of Konso is known for its hard-working people and its mesmerizing stone-walled terrace, so much so that the Konso terrace and cultural landscape are registered as UNESCO world heritage sites.
Yet despite such gifts, the town’s name hit the headlines for the wrong reasons after ethnic conflict broke out in the Konso and Derashe zones leaving many dead and thousands displaced in 2019 and 2020. The most recent major conflict in the area occurred in November 2020, leaving dozens of civilians dead and nearly 100,000 people being uprooted from their homes.
Dubale and his wife Etenesh are farmers who have worked their farms on the uniquely terraced land in Otaya village living in a house he built in his youthful years. together, they are blessed with seven children. They have lived and tilled the land in this village for decades.
Dubale was recovering from an appendix removal surgery when conflict broke out in their town. Following the peace and reconciliation which took place last year, he returned to his hometown with his family but was shocked to find out that his house had been demolished. Dubale and his family had to stay in a makeshift shed. He badly needed to rebuild his house to accommodate his family. However, he had neither the means nor the ability to do so.
Dubale’s situation is like those of many others in his village. Most houses were burned to the ground during the conflict leaving them with the difficult task of having to rebuild their houses with very little to it. To help with the return and create a smooth transition for families like Dubale’s, IOM is providing shelter by rebuilding the burnt houses as well as giving livelihood support. The assistance also includes enhancing access to clean water and provision of non-food items.
The Otaya village, located under the Aylota Dukatu Kebele (county) is among the villages where some of the most vulnerable households have benefited from IOM’s shelter reconstruction activities.
To date, IOM has built some 145 shelters for those who were displaced in Otaya village and 2,000 shelters in Konso Zone (Ethiopia) in the first half of 2022 alone.
Heavy rains are expected during this rainy season in Ethiopia and the reconstruction of destroyed shelters could not have come at a better time.
“IOM’s house rehabilitation programmes help communities to rebuild their lives,” says Afsar Khan, IOM Ethiopia Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Shelter Programmes manager.
“When our team arrived on the site to start the assessment for the rehabilitation of the damage, the burned houses were still smocking. The community’s livelihood was looted or destroyed following the conflict and they needed assistance badly,” says Yohannes Abebe, Senior Project Assistant for Water and Sanitation and Health (WASH) highlighting the gravity of the situation.
A year after IOM’s and other humanitarian organization’s support, there has been 2,207 shelters rehabilitated community health facilities built, and WASH services constructed.
In many districts in Konso and Derashe, thousands of displaced people were able to return following these efforts.
“IOM has constructed the temporary shelters (RRF-Through DORCAS AIDS), built latrines, provided dignity kits for women and utensils for households. The Amaro District under Alfacho Kebele has hosted displaced people from the Cammo, Buniti and Abulo counties,” said Dawd Dartila, the town Administrator.
Additionally, IOM has built communal shelters, provided non-food items, shelter and WASH support for communities mainly focusing on female-headed households. For the temporary hosting sites, communal kitchens, multipurpose sheds which are used for medical provision and other purposes have also been set up by IOM and humanitarian partners.
IOM’s shelter support programmes were made possible through the generous funding received from Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund (EHF).
For more information contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie firstname.lastname@example.org