Our partner, APDA, are working in the field to provide life-saving support for displaced people. Read the latest report to our CEO, Lisa, from their founder, Valerie Browning:
I’m currently sat at my desk and fishing through my inbox having got back late last night. We went almost into Tigray but went to the mountains. We found there had been fighting up to 7 days ago and we came across 477 newly displaced – there are around 12,560 people who came from the beginning of the war till now but these new people were caught in fighting just close the border. They then showed me where the side of a hill has been burnt by the military firing.
These poor people are in abject terror and when asked what they need, they simply replied, “PEACE”.
Most of them fled in the daytime without their family intact - children, as young as 5, and husbands are missing from them. They are too shocked to digest the fact relatives were shot while fleeing.
Am onto your email, no. 29 from well over 50, but can tell you a brief firsthand account: Liya* said she was with her 2 donkeys with bags of grain to bring to the house when the fighting started. She had the baby strapped to her but her other 3 children were around the house. She ran in one direction, but now assumes her children ran a different way. She has no information on her children: 9 years, 7 years and 5 years, nor where her husband is – she fears he may have been taken. Liya heard from others that her house was looted and then burnt to the ground. She said as she ran, the military were firing at her and she just kept running and eventually, after finding other people, they hid in a forest area where there were some caves. By then, the number hiding in the forest was many.
The Afar said there are a few Afar houses in that forest and these Afar people brought what food they had to feed those fleeing. When they realized they could by no means contain the problem, they sent a message down the hillside to the kebele leader, telling them to come immediately to rescue the people they couldn’t help. Afar youth and men then gathered and went into the forest to find the people. They literally carried them down the hillside as they were so weak from hunger. The Afar further down the hill have been helping feed and assist them in every way ever since.
The other news I wanted to tell you is the far north, Dallol and Konnaba, still do not have phone contact as there is still continual firing on the border. In some places, almost in Konnaba - one of their kebeles, Kadda Hara, is particularly hit and local Afar and Tigray houses are burnt. We have heard those coming in daily are malnourished women, children and girls, upwards of 150, and that they are frightened of rape and have no food or means of livelihood.
He is asking us for shelter material and household utensils. He says they come in with malnutrition. Altogether in Konnaba, there are now well over 12,000 displaced people and in neighboring Dallol, over 43,000. These border areas are also all in very difficult mountainous terrain.
We have a plan to leave for Konnaba and Dallol next Monday afternoon to assess again – there are no phones up there still but the information from various sources is very bad. We want to see the actual needs and then get information that I can publish to help get assistance as wide as possible. The trip will take about 4 days as we have to climb a mountain for about 6 to 8 hours to get to the actual area where people are coming in from Tigray.
All the best,
Please donate today and help APDA support these displaced persons
*Some names have been changed to protect anonymity