UNHCR, UNICEF join hands to tackle Ethiopia refugees crisis

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have agreed to enhance their partnership in responding to needs of refugees and host communities in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia currently hosts 783,340 refugees, 58.3 percent of whom are children under 18, including 38,502 unaccompanied and separated children, according to a statement from UNHCR late Friday.

As of September, Ethiopia had seen a new influx of South Sudanese refugees fleeing renewed violence and food shortage, it said.

More than 39,000 new arrivals have been recorded with 64 percent of them being children, said the statement.

Clementine Nkweta-Salami and Gillian Mellsop, representatives of UNHCR and UNICEF respectively, on Friday signed the agreement that outlines key areas of collaboration in child protection, education, health and nutrition, as well as water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH).

The agreement, which will end in August 2020, enables the two agencies to work together in accelerating their joint refugee response in terms of technical assistance, visibility, advocacy resource mobilization and supply management.

The collaboration will also have a strong focus on identifying risks and ensuring that contingency planning and preparedness measures are in place, noted the statement.

“UNICEF and UNHCR have a long history of effective and demonstrated collaboration in humanitarian action which has greatly improved the lives of refugees over the years,” said Nkweta-Salami of UNHCR, adding, “This agreement will further cement our partnership and help us to advance our respective mandates in Ethiopia.”

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