Crisis response summary: Ethiopia - Displacement

Since the start of the conflict in neighbouring South Sudan on 15 December 2013, more than 218,700 South Sudanese have crossed into Ethiopia’s Gambella region, fleeing from violence and food insecurity.

The majority of these new arrivals (mostly women and children) have been assisted in five refugee camps that reached full capacity by the summer of 2015, requiring the Ethiopian government and UNHCR to open a sixth camp (Pugnido II) to relocate about 10,527 registered refugees awaiting assistance and 45,854 others living within the host community.

On 24 August, International Medical Corps UK and Plan UK, along with Concern, International Rescue Committee, Norwegian Refugee Council and Save the Children, alerted the Start Fund to the vulnerable condition of these people, most of whom lost all belongings and had passed through insecure areas with very high exposure to sexual abuse and psychological trauma.

Responding to the existing gap in funding to meet the basic emergency needs of these refugees, on 1 September, 69.75 hours after the Start Fund alert, £178,616 was awarded to two agencies (International Medical Corps UK and Plan UK) to address needs in Pugnido II refugee camp related to Education (Education kits, teacher/facilitator training), Health (sexual reproductive health services and materials, clinical and psychosocial services) and Protection (child case study management and psychosocial services, SGBV prevention awareness, CFS construction/recreation).

Implementing agencies experienced several challenges during implementation. For International Medical Corps, internal supply chain processes, particularly in getting a waiver to procure supplies locally at Gambella, caused some delays to its activities. Externally, staff from partner organisations were not immediately available at the start of the project for planned training on sexual reproductive health, SGBV and mental health services. The refugee community in Pugnido II did not have any formal and recognized leadership structure at the start of the project, which made it difficult to mobilize the community to participate in project activities.

The short duration of the project also made it difficult to hire qualitied people. Some candidates declined job offers due to the short contract period. Plan UK, due to lack of potential suppliers in Gambella, had to procure some materials in Addis Ababa. Additionally, it took the agency longer than anticipated to transport materials to the camp, given its remote location.

These two projects reached 19,360 people (74% female, 26% male), with £178,954, 28% of the total population of Pugnido II refugee camp and 3,336 more people than planned. Agencies targeted the most vulnerable displaced households, with particular attention paid to women, girls, individuals with mental disorders, separated and unaccompanied children, children with disabilities and child victims of SGBV.