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Inter-communal clashes displace over 970,000 in Ethiopia: IOM

Friday July 20, 2018

Violent clashes between communities on the border of Ethiopia's largest Oromia regional state and Southern region have forced at least 970,000 people to flee their homes since April, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Friday.

According to IOM's Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) assessments, 822,187 people in Gedeo zone of Southern region and at least 147,040 people in West Guji zone of Oromia region are displaced due to the violent inter-communal clashes.

Most of the displaced are staying with local communities, while the rest stay at sites such as schools, government sites and disused or unfinished buildings, the IOM revealed.

"The buildings in the collective sites generally are not fit for human habitation and are extremely overcrowded, forcing many people to sleep outside on dirt, rarely with anything but a single sheet of tarpaulin shielding them from the rain," IOM's statement read.

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The UN migration agency further said its countrywide DTM, conducted in May and June, identified about 1.7 million internally displaced persons in Ethiopia, including 1.2 million displaced by conflict and 536,321 due to climate change.

IOM said it has been scaling up its response in Gedeo and West Guji recently.

Various international aid organizations have recently called for swift measures to support internally displaced people in Ethiopia, mainly due to inter-communal clashes over the past few months.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this month that nearly 1 million people are displaced and require urgent help, especially during this rainy season.

The UN's Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) also earlier this month released 15 million U.S. dollars to urgently scale up humanitarian assistance to people affected by escalating inter-communal violence in Ethiopia.

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