ADDIS ABABA, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on Saturday called for concerted efforts to address humanitarian needs of refugees in Ethiopia's Gambella regional state.
UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Dereje Wordofa and a team of UNFPA regional directors and country representatives visited Ethiopia's Gambella regional state, which alone hosts more than 423,000 refugees from neighboring countries, mainly the civil-war ravaged South Sudan.
According to UNFPA figures, about 64 percent of the refugees in camps across Gambella region are younger than 18 and some 88 percent are said to be women and children.
"In addition to the humanitarian response in the region, the increase in demand for social services among both host communities and displaced people remains a challenge to be addressed, as this is creating tension among refugees," the UNFPA said in a statement.
The UNFPA also called for swift efforts in addressing health-sector needs of refugees in Gambella region, with particularly emphasis given to the existing "poor maternal health services."
It said the region has only one referral hospital and that "a relatively high proportion" of women still give birth at home, with the assistance of "traditional birth attendants."
"There has been increasing concern for the safety of vulnerable groups, especially women and girls traveling long distances to collect firewood, food and water," the statement said.