Ethiopia building resilient communities to withstand recurrent humanitarian shocks: official

ADDIS ABABA: March 1 (EI) — Ethiopia is striving to build resilient communities who are able to withstand humanitarian shocks as the country grapples with gradually increasing recurrent drought, seasonal flooding and inter-community conflicts, an Ethiopian official has said.

The remark was made by the Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner of Ethiopia’s National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), as he emphasized the crucial need to augment communities’ resilience amid ever-increasing humanitarian shocks.

“Ethiopia has for decades been grappling with recurrent drought and seasonal flooding, the frequency and intensity of which have been gradually increasing,” Mitiku was quoted as saying in a United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) statement issued Saturday.

Noting that his country has also been dealing with the “unfortunate consequences” of inter-community conflicts since late 2017, the commissioner stressed that the Ethiopian government’s immediate focus is mainly aimed at providing life-saving multi-sector humanitarian support to people in need.

Mitiku further highlighted the Ethiopian government’s commitment to reduce the vulnerability of its citizens, towards eventually building resilient communities who are able to withstand humanitarian shocks.

“The vast majority of displaced people who have either returned to their homestead or resettled elsewhere require recovery and rehabilitation support, conflict-affected areas require grassroot peace building initiatives, and recurrently drought-affected communities require sustainable water solution and livelihood support,” the Ethiopian NDRMC Commissioner said.

“These communities are unlikely to achieve food self-sufficiency in the immediate future without sustained recovery and resilience-building investment,” he added.

The Ethiopian NDRMC Commissioner’s remarks were also echoed by the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia, Catherine Sozi, as the two officials jointly called for the international humanitarian partners’ “continued generosity to support the ongoing humanitarian response as well as to scale up durable solutions programs.”

Speaking on behalf of the international humanitarian community in Ethiopia, Sozi also highlighted the complex humanitarian landscape in the country, as well as possible future threats that risk to further aggravate the humanitarian situation if not soon controlled, including the unprecedented desert locust infestation and possible pre-and post-election tensions.

“Seven million Ethiopians are in acute need and are targeted for life-saving multi-sector assistance in 2020 at a cost of 1 billion U.S. dollars, of whom 81 percent are women and children. At least 81 implementing partners in Ethiopia stand ready to scale up operations if backed by adequate and timely funding,” Sozi stated.

Chronic climate-related disasters such as droughts and food insecurity, conflict-induced displacements, disease outbreaks such as cholera and measles as well as other related protection and access challenges have remained the main drivers of humanitarian needs in Ethiopia.

The East African country, with the support of its international partners, every year strives to address the food and non-food needs of millions of Ethiopians affected by both conflict-induced as well as climate change-inflicted disasters.

Photo: Melese Awoke/WFP

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