Shubo and other displaced people
Shubo Bekso, wife of 45 year old Ayele is a person with a disability. She contracted polio at a tender age and lost the ability to walk normally. She uses a long stick to balance her steps.
"Conflict erupted between the Oromo and the Gedo population. For this reason, our house was burnt down by the Gedo people. We also owned seven sheep and eight cows which were confiscated. The gang invaded our small coffee store and made away with three bags of coffee beans," says Ayele.
"We ran out of the house to save our lives. We only had the clothes on our back and our children. We left everything else in the house," says Shubo. She lost cooking pots, sleeping mats, blankets, jerricans and everything else. The iron sheets of their was were removed by the attackers and taken away.
"Now we are living in misery. We do not have any food and my son is sick. We are surviving through the support of the government and well-wishers," says Shubo.
"Now we live away from our home and the things we built for our comfort. We do not have clothes. Our children are exposed to cold weather, they lack clothes to keep them warm," says Ayele.
The Kebele, or ward administration of Chorso Bule, has helped secure a plot of land for the couple. They have started constructing a makeshift shelter using bamboo sticks. But the shelter is not finished.
"We only have one meal a day, sometimes we get some tea and bread.," says Shubo.
NRC has provided this couple with a cash support of 3,000 Birr to help in construction of their house. Ayele says he will use the money to buy plastic sheet and bamboo sticks and embark on finishing the walling and roofing of the house. "One bamboo stick costs 7 Birr. If I buy 100 sticks and plastic sheet I will spend around 1,500 Birr," says Ayele.
If some money remains, they plan to buy food for their children.
"I have eight other children. They are living with my brother across the river. When we finish this house, we will all move in here," says Shubo. Her first born child is twenty years old. He is in Grade Eight at Arohagalla Primary School.
Her last born child is called Gresa. He is having stomach problems and diarrhoea.
Ayele comes to Chorso Bule at least three times a week to continue the construction of their house.
Shubo explains that during the escape, she could not run due to her crippling condition. She had to be carried on Ayele's back. "My leg infection started when I was around 18 years old. The doctor said that I had a nerve problem or 'Kanlate' in Oromo language, causing my leg to fold," says Shubo.
"When I met Shubo she was already crippled. Many men would have rejected her, but I accepted her like that because I could see that she was a good person at heart," says Ayele.
"I do not know the real cause of the conflict. But I know that the boundary disputes have something to do with it. People disagreed over the demarcation of the boundary between the Oromia and West Guji,. One person was killed in the Gedeo region sparking revenge attacks," says Ayele.
Ayele and Shubo do not have any plans of returning to their former land. "Our house has been destroyed and our property taken away. There is still tension in that area. Our relationship with the neighbouring community has been eroded," He concludes.
NRC has partnered with UNHCR and Oromia Bank in distributing cash to people displaced from their homes following inter-ethnic violence in West Guji and Gedeo. The cash is meant to enable them to buy shelter material and non food items such as blankets, sleeping mats, cooking pots and tarpaulins.
Updates per sector (critical needs):
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: Urgent need for emergency latrines for disease prevention in camp locations. 2,770 stances needed to meet a ration of one to hundred people for an estimated camp population of 277,000. It is anticipated that these latrines will fill and require decommissioning with subsequent construction of new latrines.
71 water trucks need to be put on the road for provision of safe water for 76 collective centres for three months. 94 schemes need rehabilitation as priority, including installation of water reservoirs and tap stands. New water point construction required to supplement the demand of the new population.
Hygiene promotion and AWD prevention campaigns. Mesaging required through various channels. Solid waste management solutions, disinfection treatment chemicals for regular chlorination for disease prevention.
Community settings and camps need non-food items, bathing facilities.
As of 1 August 2018, there were 860,000 internally displaced people in Gedeo ZOne who have been mostly settled within already food insecure host communities.
Two rounds of food provision curently ongoing. Five Woredas (Dilla town, Dilla, Zuria, Kochere, Gedeb and Bule) covered by WVI and two Woredas (Yirgachfe and Wenago) covered by NDRMC. Gaps and challenges included registration issues and verification of lists. COmmunity representatives selected from each respective IDP groups were not showing up for the distribution. Lack of transportation and lack of adequate storage facilities.
70 IDP sites in Gedeo zone are hosted in school facilities. 8 schools are fully damaged and 4 schools are partly damaged. 21,014 learners have been displaced from 18 schools in Gedeo and 15,544 learners displaced from Guji zone and now hosted in Gedeo. Access to education is a big challenge. Needs include construction of temporary learning spaces, rehabilitation of damaged schools, catch up classes and provision of educational supplies. School feeding programmes for 18 affected schools for 21,000 children required. A multi-secotr approach is required to prepare for school year 2019 starting September especially relocation of IDPs living in schools.
Photo: Nashon Tado/NRC