More aid agencies – including three medical organisations – have been approved to operate in the troubled Somali region of Ethiopia.
Mercy Corps, International Medical Corps and Médecins Sans Frontières Switzerland, as well as Italian agency Coopi, Mother and Child Development Organization and German Agro Action, have been accredited by the government’s Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Agency (DPPA).
“The NGOs [non-governmental organisations] will address the humanitarian needs in the region,” DPPA spokesman Sisay Tadesse said. “Their humanitarian intervention focuses on health, water, agriculture and livestock.”
Earlier in November, the DPPA allowed 12 NGOs to deploy staff in the Degehabur, Gode, Fik, Warder and Korahe areas of the region.
Aid agencies and human rights groups have expressed concerns over the situation in the remote, arid area, which borders Somalia and where government troops clash with the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), saying the conflict has had a direct and indirect humanitarian impact on the civilian population.
In a report issued on 5 October, Paul Hebert, head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ethiopia warned that 1.8 million people could be affected by a “looming crisis” unless food and medical aid arrived within a few months.
”The Ethiopian government and the UN reached an agreement in October on measures to ensure that aid would reach vulnerable people in the Somali region”
“We are not late,” Sisay said. “We have already distributed 7,358 metric tons of food aid to the five zones of the Somali region.”
He said the DPPA had contracted 175 trucks to distribute aid, while 82 others were seconded from the strategic relief fleet and ministry of defence.
“If the transportation available is in place, we can finish the distribution within two weeks,” Sisay said on 20 November, adding that the number of food distribution points would be increased from 46 to 186.
The Ethiopian government and the UN reached an agreement in October on measures to ensure that aid would reach vulnerable people in the Somali region.
The UN and DPPA decided to establish joint support centres in the most affected areas of the southeastern region to facilitate the logistics of delivering food, medicine, veterinary services and livelihood support.