Addis Ababa, March 17, 2015:Officials from Ethiopia, the United Nations, and the United States inaugurated a new refugee camp in the Gambella region on March 15, with the United States announcing nearly $1 million in new funding for a nutrition program for South Sudanese refugees that will also benefit Ethiopian host communities in the Gambella region.
Catherine Wiesner, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, participated in the inauguration near the end of a six-day visit to Ethiopia. When fully constructed, the Jewi camp will serve up to 50,000 South Sudanese refugees. It became necessary after refugees in Gambella had to vacate other settlements following heavy flooding in 2014. DAS Wiesner participated in the event with regional Gambella government, the Ethiopian government, ARRA, and the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, as well as local community representatives.
“Tens of thousands of South Sudanese refugees are still residing in flood-prone areas. This camp will help address those needs,” she said.
The nutrition program will help identify and treat malnourished children as well as provide child nutrition in refugee reception centers, camps, and local communities. The new contribution brings total United States humanitarian assistance for refugees in Ethiopia in the 2015 fiscal year to $42.3 million.
Last year, the United States provided $118.8 million specifically for refugee assistance across Ethiopia.
While on the trip, DAS Wiesner also met with refugees, Ethiopian and African Union officials, and non-governmental organizations. The United States strongly advocates ensuring that the most vulnerable refugees, and migrants, including women and children are protected.
In her remarks, DAS Wiesner also thanked the Ethiopian government, regional and local authorities, and aid workers for their tireless work in assisting 200,000 South Sudanese refugees who have fled into the country. “Your efforts have saved lives,” she said. “The people of Ethiopia have been so welcoming to refugees, and I trust they will be in the future as well.”