Eritrean IDPs returning to the Temporary Security Zone
29 June 2001
Eritrean families who used to live in the border area with Ethiopia and who were displaced during the recent war between both countries have started to move back over the last two weeks. Their home areas are in what has been named the Temporary Security Zone (TSZ), a 25km wide demilitarized strip of land that was agreed upon as part of the ceasefire. The displaced have been waiting just over a year before being able to move back from the camps where they have been living. For the past few months, diplomatic disagreements on the demarcation of the TSZ kept the strip of land disputed and unsafe. In addition, minefields had still to be demarcated. However, the pressure on the Eritrean government to allow its people to move back home had been building up, with hope of the people returning in time to start a new crop. Another failed harvest season would have been detrimental to any early return of the IDPs. Consequently, even without all the mined areas being clearly indicated, the people have started to return. MSF is assisting the Eritrean authorities with the provision of clean water and re-establishing basic healthcare facilities in key locations. The focus of this work in Debub zone is Tserona town and in Gash Barka zone, Shambuko town. Assistance with water supply has also been provided in Deklafai, Mai Wurrai, Tkombia and Awgaro.