Tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia and have fled across state and international borders in search of refuge.Give now
Tens of thousands of people have been forced from their homes in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia and have fled across state and international borders in search of refuge.
Hundreds of thousands of families have been displaced by a brutal conflict between the Ethiopian army and Tigray Liberation Front. Famine and rape have both been used as weapons of war. Recently the Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire and withdrew its defence forces from Tigray. The Tigray Liberation Front (TPLF) took control of the capital, Mekelle and other cities following the withdrawal. This has led to increasing lawlessness and security concerns and a collapse in social services. Roads have been blocked, transportation, communication and banking services are completely shut down.
Refugee families who are in greatest need of food have been identified by our partners. Food has been purchased and transported towards the areas of greatest need, and is ready to be distributed once it is safe to do so.
Despite the lack of basic services in the area, our partners are working with the UN and Government to ensure that humanitarian organisations can access the region.
In early November 2020, the people of the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia found themselves caught up in a conflict between federal and regional government forces. Recent reports indicate that more than two million people have had to leave their homes due to the fighting, many seeking safety in other parts of the region, or fleeing to neighbouring Sudan.
Even before the conflict broke out, nearly one million people in this poor region of Ethiopia were reliant on aid. The United Nations has since warned of an increasingly dire humanitarian situation, and highlighting the need for vital assistance like food, clean water and medical care. There have been very concerning reports of attacks by armed forces against civilians and civilian infrastructure, including looting and vandalisation of health centres and schools, as well as cases of sexual and gender-based violence. Efforts to provide help are being hampered by the ongoing hostilities, although humanitarian access is opening up in a limited way.
Early on in this crisis, Tearfund Australia’s partner, the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Commission, visited border areas south of Tigray and reported displaced families living in schools, empty business premises, temporary shelters and with host community members. Forced to flee Tigray with little or no warning in November last year, they had left behind their homes, possessions and livelihoods. Without money or sources of income, our partner warned them of worsening conditions and that “immediate humanitarian action is needed to address their needs and save their lives”.
Tearfund Australia supported the Ethiopian Kale Heywet Church Development Commission to provide emergency cash grants to 1,455 vulnerable families who were displaced from Tigray into the Amhara region. With this support, families were able to buy food, clothing and other essential items from local markets that were still functioning. Some did not have identification or bank accounts, so EKHCDC worked with the government to help them obtain temporary ID and open bank accounts so that they could receive this support.
July 2021: Refugee families who are in greatest need of food have been identified by our partners. Food has been purchased and is ready to be distributed once it is safe to do so.
As the crisis in Tigray drags on, the situation for millions of people inside Tigray is becoming more and more dire. Tearfund is continuing to talk with local partners about what further support we can provide to enable them to respond to the needs of those impacted by this terrible conflict.
During times of humanitarian crises people, especially Australians, feel compelled to give generously. When disasters strike, people often ask Tearfund whether we can accept goods for those who have suffered, and send them to our local partner organisations. While we are always grateful for offers of support and we recognise that people respond from their hearts and out of compassion, sending goods is rarely the best way to support those in need overseas. The website https://donateresponsibly.org/ explains more.
Tearfund Australia responds to partner requests for emergency assistance either directly or through joint efforts with other members of the Integral Alliance, a global alliance of Christian relief and development agencies responding to emergency situations around the world.
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