IOM calls for mitigating climate change-induced displacement in Ethiopia
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has called for more efforts to mitigate climate change-induced displacement in Ethiopia.
The UN migration agency, in a statement published Thursday, said across the East African country, severe drought and extreme weather events have threatened livelihoods, killed livestock and led to massive movements of people.
According to data collected by the IOM through its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), more than 800,000 people were internally displaced by drought between November 2022 and June 2023 in Ethiopia.
An additional 1.1 million people in six regions have been impacted by floods and landslides, the IOM said, citing the Ethiopia Disaster Risk Management Commission (EDRMC).
"These movements are often unmanaged, forced and unsafe, resulting in humanitarian and protection concerns," it said.
Noting that although most displacement in Ethiopia in recent years has been driven by conflict, the IOM said people are increasingly on the move because of climate change. It said migration is frequently used as a coping mechanism and solution to mitigate the impact of climate change, particularly for those who practice transhumance.
According to the IOM, communities in southern and northeastern parts of Ethiopia are suffering from a devastating drought, the worst in 40 years, following four consecutive failed rainy seasons beginning in late 2020.
Noting that the drought is expanding in scope and scale into other areas of the country, the IOM said the drought has led to a "staggering scale of livestock deaths." Data from the IOM show that more than 4.5 million head of livestock have died since late 2021 and a further 30 million weakened and emaciated livestock are at risk.
It further noted that climate change-induced displacement is manifested as one of every four outgoing as well as returning migrants are from drought-affected regions of Ethiopia, with the Somali, Oromia, and Afar regions the most severely impacted.
It said the drought continues to reduce the ability of home communities to support migrants in transit or upon return, while limited food availability is leading to increased migration, as affected populations move in search of water, pasture, and assistance.
Noting it has supported hundreds of thousands of drought-affected people across Ethiopia, the IOM underscored that more must be done as the effects of climate change show no sign of abating.