ADDIS ABABA – Ethiopia has today urged donors to step up support for more than 750,000 refugees it is hosting and are in need of humanitarian aid.
The apeal was made by Tesfahun Gobezay, head of the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), at the 73rd session of the Executive Committee of the UN High Commissioner’s Programme (ExCom), in Geneva, Switzerland.
ARRA’s Director-General Tesfahun assured the ExCom of Ethiopia’s commitment to the refugee cause and response to support them.
He also stated that the response requires a collective effort and support from the international community in the spirit of burden and responsibility sharing.
Unfortunately, Teafaye said the reality shows that burden-and responsibility-sharing in hosting, protecting, and assisting refugees has so far been inadequate, inequitable, and inconsistent.
Ethiopia which has been striving to ensure the sustainable self-reliance of refugees and host communities with its scarce resources is struggling with recurrent funding gaps from the international community.
The funding shortfalls has alreadly forced aid agencies to cut rations for refugees living in 22 camps and five sites in hosting communities in six regions.
Food rations for refugees were first reduced by 16% in November 2015, by 40% in November 2021, and by 50% in June 2022
Tesfahun said the refugee operation in Ethiopia has seen probably the highest ration cut, which stood at 46% of the minimum standard.
“I feel I am compelled to state the obvious that refugees are almost equally vulnerable wherever they are and need a fair attention from our donors irrespective of their origin and newness of the situation,” Tesfahun told the ExCom.
Ethiopia hosts more than a million registered refugees and asylum-seekers, mostly from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan.
Of these, about 750,000 are fully dependent on humanitarian food assistance, revealed aid agencies in August, adding that they are counting on the donor community for extended funding support for the refugees based on the principle of shared responsibility to implement basic humanitarian life-saving activities.
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