The ongoing war and conflicts in and around the Kombolcha and Dessie regions of Amhara have caused large-scale displacement and an increase in humanitarian needs. As of 30th October this year, fighting was reported in Dessie and nearby Kombolcha, which is 20 kilometers southeast of the zonal capital. The large-scale displacement of people from these two areas has been reported, with Kombolcha having been hosting a large number of displaced people who arrived from nearby Kutaber and Habru Woredas. The majority of these IDPs are living with the host community while the rest are living in congested collective centers, including schools.
The delivery of emergency humanitarian aid has been hindered by present insecurity and the absence of enough humanitarian partners. Since 30th October, electricity and telecommunications in Kombolcha and Dessie have been cut and commercial flights to Kombolcha suspended since mid-October. According to regional authorities, the displaced people living with the host communities and in the crowded collective centers are in dire need of food, health services, safe and clean drinking water, and hygiene and sanitation kits. Vulnerable groups, including the elderly, people with special needs, children, and pregnant and lactating women, are particularly vulnerable in this situation.
As a form of humanitarian preparedness and response, The Joint Emergency Operation Programme (JEOP) has been approved to provide food aid to 500,000 displaced people in Kombolcha and Dessie, and their food stocks are adequate to provide a full basket. WFP will also support the delivery of commodities to food distribution points. In addition, WASH partners last week distributed WASH supplies to the IDPs in Dessie, including over 3,000 plastic buckets, 74,000 laundry soap, 30,000 sanitary pads, and 13 plastic water tanks each with a capacity of 10,000 liters.
In September, the Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund set aside US$ 7.1 million for response in the Amhara region to confront the needs of people affected by the crisis in Tigray, including in Dessie. Humanitarian partners are still delivering and dispatching relief supplies to South Wello Zone and maintaining a limited presence in Dessie Town. Barriers related to access to humanitarian presence should be dealt with in order to scale up the response in the coming days and weeks. Subscribe to our newsletter for daily updates on matters in the humanitarian field.