“Like a Drop of Water on a Fire” Inadequate Investment in Durable Solutions for Drought IDPs in Ethiopia

In the Somali region of eastern Ethiopia, drought internally displaced persons (IDPs)—people who have been forced to relocate because of the effects of severe drought—are now a forgotten population. More than 500,000 IDPs in the country have been displaced by drought and other climate-related causes, and almost 350,000 of them reside in the Somali region. Although they received some humanitarian assistance, including food and water, in the immediate wake of the devastating 2015–2016 drought, most of that initial support has ended. Now the situation is getting worse, especially for women and girls.The humanitarian and development communities both have taken steps to acknowledge the importance of durable solutions, but challenges remain regarding policy implementation and securing adequate resources. The Somali regional government has worked with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to create a co-led Durable Solutions Working Group (DSWG). The DSWG has conducted laudable analysis but needs to further strengthen humanitarian and development actors’ support for drought IDP responses. The Ethiopian national government and the Somali regional government, as well as the international humanitarian and development communities, should rapidly shift their strategic planning and financial resources to supporting durable solutions, including local integration. They also must provide support for creating new livelihood opportunities and extend the reach of local services.