• Escalation and spread of intercommunal violence leads to increased displacement and humanitarian needs

    Latest update: 11/06/2019

    Probability

    Highly unlikely Somewhat likely Highly likely

    Impact

    Very low Moderate Major

    Conflict-driven displacement increased throughout 2018, bringing the total of IDPs to nearly 3 million, up from 1.1 million at end of 2017 ?. Conflict has continued and there is a significant risk it will increase as a result of at least three factors. First, local elections scheduled for mid-2019 risk inflaming already high intercommunal tensions by spurring competition between different groups for power and resources. Originally scheduled for April 2018, these elections were already postponed due to fears of violence and unrest. ?Additionally, growing demands for autonomy among ethnic minority groups, such as the Sidama and Qemant, pose the risk of local-ised protests leading to violence.? In Sidama zone a proposed referendum to establish Sidama as an independent state sparked large-scale protests in February 2019, and continued clashes between pro-independence and anti-independ-ence factions are likely.? Finally, a breakdown in relations between the government and political opposition groups would likely trigger further violence – particularly in western Ethiopia, where the Oromo Liberation Front clashed with government forces in recent months and was accused of carrying out ethnically motivated attacks, despite formally agreeing in August 2018 to disarm.?

    IMPACT

    A further spike in intercommunal violence in Ethiopia is likely to lead to large-scale displacement in areas where IDPs are already present, such as Gedeo (SNNPR), west Guji (Oromia region), and Kamashi (Benishangul-Gumuz region) zones, and potentially new areas.

    Given that local and international response capacities are already stretched to their limit, it will likely be even more challenging to address the food, shelter, protection, and health needs of newly displaced people.?

    Access issues will likely be a concern as certain areas become unsafe due to conflict, and due to government limitations concerning the areas where humanitarians are allowed to operate. At present, humanitarian access is almost completely restricted in many of the areas that have experienced the most intense intercommunal conflict, such as Dawa zone (Somali region), Gedeo zone, and Guji zone.?

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