Recurrent violence displaces over 101k Ethiopians since 2020

Ethiopian refugees fleeing from the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, queue for water, at the Fashaga camp, on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in Kassala state, Sudan

More than 101,000 people have been displaced due to recurrent violence in Ethiopia since July 2020, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said.

“Between the end of July 2020 and January 4, 2021, more than 101,000 people were displaced by violence from Bullen, Dangur, Dibate, Guba, Mandura and Wombera woredas (districts) of Metekel zone in Benishangul Gumuz region,” Xinhua news agency quoted the UNOCHA as saying in a situation report published on Wednesday.

Due to “the deteriorating security situation in the zone, humanitarian access and lifesaving assistance to the 28,000 returnees and 101,000 new internally displaced persons (IDPs) are challenging”, it said.

It also noted that the regional government has been providing limited lifesaving assistance using armed escorts.

Clusters at sub-national level have been mapping resources but so far insecurity has not allowed transporting staff and commodities to affected areas.

The Ethiopian federal government is in the process of establishing an Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) in the Metekel zone to coordinate the humanitarian response to the IDPs, the UNOCHA noted.

In recent years, deadly inter-communal violence has taken place in the Metekel zone, eventually killing hundreds of civilians.

In December 2020, the zone witnessed similar deadly attacks, which claimed the lives of at least 207 civilians.

Among the victims were some 20 elderly persons as well as 17 children, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC), a rights group.

The latest bloodshed on December 22, 2020, was carried out by armed men who shot at residents while they were asleep.

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