While international aid goes to those who crossed borders, struggling inhabitants receive less assistance than refugees who entered the Somali region from neighboring Somalia.

By James Jeffrey (The Irish Times) |

GODE, Ethiopia―Fourteen kilometers outside the Ethiopian town of Gode, a group of women with bands of dusty children clutching their dresses point to a patch of ground on the outskirts of their makeshift settlement, where their prized black-headed sheep lie dead.

The women remain friendly despite their predicament. But a male pastoralist arrives and his temper starts to fray. “If you aren’t going to do anything for us then go away!” he tells a government official.

In Ethiopia’s southeastern Somali region there are 264 sites containing nearly 600,000 internally-displaced persons (IDPs), according to a survey conducted by the International Organization for Migration between May and June 2017.

The region contains the largest proportion of the total of just over a million IDPs identified by the organization throughout Ethiopia. Many sites have reported having no access to food and international assistance is sorely needed to help the Ethiopian government to cope.

Incongruity

But international aid is often geared toward those who crossed international borders. Hence the incongruity of many of the region’s struggling inhabitants receiving less assistance than refugees who entered the region from neighboring Somalia.

“Refugees get global attention – the issue has been around a long time, and it’s just how people look at it, especially if conflict is involved,” says Hamidu Jalleh, working for the United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the Somali region, in Gode. People displaced by climatic or weather conditions don’t get the same attention, she points out.

Continue reading this story at The Irish Times
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