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Shitaye Assefa, a 65-year-old mother in Ethiopia’s Oromia Regional State, knows what it means to live without a reliable supply of water.

“Our daughters faced many hardships and attacks on the way to the water pond, which was often dirty and not healthy enough to drink but we had no other option,” she said.

Before the International Organization for Migration (IOM) rehabilitated water wells in her home district, Shitaye had to walk long distances in search of water. Today, she is one of approximately one million Ethiopians who received humanitarian assistance from IOM last year.

“Now we can access clean water nearby and our children can go to school without worrying about getting water to the family,” said Shitaye.

Of the one million beneficiaries, more than 620,000 people received water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. These included newly constructed latrines, hygiene kits inclusive of menstrual hygiene management items, and safe access to water through the construction and rehabilitation of water wells, springs and water schemes.

In addition to WASH services, IOM provided shelter construction and other emergency items to vulnerable populations, primarily in Somali and Oromia Regional States.

The Organization also worked with communities and local institutions to promote safe hygiene practices and construct new WASH facilities in schools and health facilities.

An estimated 360,000 people were provided with non-food items (NFI) including emergency shelter and cooking materials. Nearly 73,000 beneficiaries received shelter support through communal structures and transitional shelters. These efforts mostly benefited formerly displaced populations in Oromia and Somali regions who are now returning home.

“This health post was demolished when conflict broke out a couple of years ago; as you can see now it has been rehabilitated into an even better structure than it was before,” said Hirba Hituke, Kercha District Health Post Manager.

IOM is also finalizing the construction of a reservoir that will provide clean water to the community in this area.

“Safe and well-constructed water facilities are crucial to effectively prevent waterborne diseases for affected populations throughout Ethiopia,” said Fioretto Tabata, IOM Ethiopia WASH & Shelter/NFI Program Manager.

The Organization hopes to continue this effort over 2020 and address the needs of the most vulnerable.

IOM provided this assistance in 2019 with the financial support from European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations , UN Central Emergnency Relief Fund, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Government of Germany, the Government of Japan, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, and Shelter Box.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).