2013 UNHCR country operations profile - Ethiopia
The past two years have seen the refugee population in Ethiopia nearly double. This is due to the influx of more than 100,000 Somalis into the Dollo Ado region, and a stream of Sudanese entering the country in the region around Assosa. A steady, but significant, number of Eritreans have also entered Ethiopia's Afar and Tigray regions.
Ethiopia is now host to some 370,000 refugees: the largest groups are Somalis (56 per cent), Sudanese and South Sudanese (23 per cent) and Eritreans (17 per cent). In addition, there are a number of displaced people of concern from Kenya in the Moyale region, as well as urban refugees from several other countries, including Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Rwanda, Uganda and Yemen.
Most of the Somali refugees (more than 206,000 at mid-year) are in eastern and south-eastern Ethiopia. In 2011, three new camps were opened in the Dollo Ado area. Currently there are five camps, with a sixth under consideration. The number of arrivals increased dramatically in 2011 and continued to rise in the first half of 2012 when more than 1,200 people were arriving every week. The majority of the refugees are women and children.
In 2011, disputes in the border areas, especially those contiguous to Sudan's Blue Nile and South Kordofan states, have resulted in large numbers of refugees entering western Ethiopia. Most live in camps in the area. The Fugnido camp in Gambella has been expanded, and two others have been opened in the Assosa area in the Benishangul-Gumuz region: Tongo and Bamabasi camps.
The arrival figures for refugees from Eritrea have also remained high in 2012, at between 800 and 1,000 per month. Of particular concern is the presence in this group of a large number of unaccompanied and separated children. Some opportunities for durable solutions are available to the Eritrean refugees through an "out-of-camp scheme", which allows refugees to leave the camp setting and attend university. Solutions are also found through resettlement.
Approximately 2,800 Borena refugees who arrived in Ethiopia from Kenya in 2005-2006 remain under the care of UNHCR and the Government of Ethiopia. Efforts to assist them to voluntary repatriate will continue.
The increase in the number of refugees in Ethiopia is also apparent in urban areas. Many urban refugees are referred to UNHCR for protection, medical or other specific needs. As of June 2012, there were nearly 3,900 registered urban refugees, of whom more than 2,000 were receiving assistance. The majority of the registered urban refugees are Eritreans allowed to live in various towns under the Government's "out-of-camp" policy.
The lack of security in many of the countries of origin of refugees in Ethiopia prevents them from being able to envisage repatriating for the foreseeable future. Resettlement will remain a key durable solution, but only for a limited number of refugees. UNHCR expects the refugee population to grow by 137,000 in 2013, bringing the total to 530,000. There is an urgent need to improve the conditions in the camps in Ethiopia to meet UNHCR standards in essential sectors such as health, education, water and sanitation.
At the same time, UNHCR will work towards a transition from life-saving activities to sustainable programmes and increased self-reliance among the refugees. Livelihood projects for urban refugees that commenced in 2012 will continue in 2013. A three-year self-reliance programme is being developed for Dollo Ado.
The transitional shelter programme, which was initiated in 2011, will remain a key activity in 2013. Shelters will be made of local and traditional materials, as they are better able to survive the climate, offer greater protection and cuts costs.
|UNHCR 2013 planning figures for Ethiopia|
|TYPE OF POPULATION||ORIGIN||JAN 2013||DEC 2013|
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
|TOTAL IN COUNTRY||OF WHOM ASSISTED
Main objectives and targets for 2013
Favourable protection environment
Access to territory is improved and the risk of refoulement reduced.
All asylum-seekers are registered on an individual basis.
Basic needs and essential services
The health of the population improved.
The under-5 mortality rate is less than 2/10,000/day.
The supply of potable water is increased or maintained.
All refugees receive an average of at least 15 litres/person/day.
Community empowerment and self-reliance
Self-reliance and livelihoods are improved.
Some 10 per cent of households benefit from livelihood projects.
Comprehensive solutions strategies are developed, updated or strengthened.
Some 25 per cent of individuals in need of resettlement are submitted to receiving countries.
Strategy and activities in 2013
Ethiopia's position in the subregion means that it is likely to continue to receive new arrivals from neighbouring countries throughout 2013.
UNHCR will help the Government to maintain a favourable protection environment. Important elements of UNHCR's strategy in Ethiopia are to enable the participation of more non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the refugee programme and to advocate for borders to remain open for refugees.
UNHCR will stabilize the emergency phase of its response to the Sudanese and Somali refugee influxes. It will improve conditions in the camps, and make the transition from emergency responses to more sustainable activities, thereby also reducing costs and encouraging self-reliance. This includes the phasing out of water trucking in favour of more permanent piping systems, and the construction of transitional shelters to replace tents.
UNHCR is also committed to ensuring the timely provision of core relief items to refugees, and is currently building buffer stocks to cope with any new refugee influx.
Emergency preparedness and response mechanisms are the hallmark of UNHCR's leadership and coordination role with regard to refugee issues. Support for host communities around refugee camps is another important element of UNHCR's strategy. Improving relations between refugee and local communities will bolster the protection environment, making refugee-hosting areas safer for all, while encouraging both communities to share common services such as education and health facilities.
Poor security and unstable political conditions in the countries neighbouring Ethiopia will result in more arrivals.
Local integration remains a challenge for refugees in urban areas and in the established camps. While some of these refugees have been living in the country for several decades, the Government's policy does not allow for local integration. However, a number of projects to improve self-reliance in the Jijiga camps have shown positive results, but they will require considerable support to become sustainable.
The majority of the refugee camps are located in areas characterized by extremely fragile environmental conditions. The concentration of large numbers of refugees has a negative impact on the environment in the areas surrounding the camps.
Conflict is common as refugees compete with the local population for very scarce natural resources.
Ethiopia is neither a party to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons nor to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. UNHCR will continue its advocacy for the Government to accede to these accords as it is believed that there are a significant number of individuals who could be affected by statelessness in Ethiopia.
Organization and implementation
UNHCR coordinates protection and delivery of services to refugees in close collaboration with the Administration of Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA).
There is an established Standing Task Force on Refugees which is co-chaired by ARRA and UNHCR. The Task Force brings together a considerable number of NGO, donor and UN partners, and has been the main body coordinating the emergency response and contingency planning. Its work is complemented by regular inter-agency meetings at field and camp levels, as well as in sectoral working groups on key sectors, including health and nutrition, protection, education, shelter and environment.
UNHCR is implementing the IASC Transformative Agenda through several activities. The Office participates in the monthly Ethiopian Humanitarian Country Team meetings and leads the protection cluster. UNHCR also participates in key sectoral working groups within the humanitarian response. Cooperation with UNICEF has been strengthened with a Letter of Understanding which includes a detailed plan of action for activities in the refugee areas.
Outreach to donors and NGO partners will continue in a variety of forums, including meetings with donor missions and inter-agency conferences in the Field.
Two emergency situations and continuous influxes of refugees over the past few years pushed the annual budget for the Ethiopia operation up from USD 100.2 million in 2010 to USD 218.6 million in 2012.
A significant part of the 2013 budget, set at USD 192.8 million, is expected to be dedicated to the establishment of new camps, improvements in services and infrastructure and immediate emergency-response efforts.
Source: UNHCR Global Appeal 2013 Update