As the conflict has spread into the Afar region, our partner APDA has been working to assist over 70,000 displaced people fleeing the fighting along the borders with the Tigray and Amhara regions.
The pastoralist community and people from towns in the Afar region are fleeing before the fighting reaches them, struggling to stay a safe distance away.
A total of 6 districts have been affected so far; of the total area population of around 300,000, over 50% of people have fled. Towns are being extensively damaged and food is being looted from households and from government stores of relief food.
In late July, APDA visited displaced people in Digdiga, Teru district, the majority of them women and children, who were sheltering in schools and clinics. Elsewhere, people are staying in unused houses or just out in the open, up in the hills, having fled with grazing animals. Many of the people they met had not eaten for 4 days. Food is scarce, as people had to flee without food. The rural community are trying to provide food for them, but the entire Zone 4 of the Afar Region is cut off from food supplies – with markets being taken over or deserted and town merchants having fled.
With the grouping of people in school compounds and other buildings, as they shelter from the rainy season, diseases are already appearing. There is almost no sanitation and the fact that people are having to drink unprotected rainwater is very worrying, as cholera and other waterborne diseases can quickly spread.
APDA have taken wheat flour, sugar and lentils to distribute among women and children in Digdiga school, assisting around 350 people. A truck was sent to aid people sheltering, but isolated, in Dabal. They could come within 20 kilometres of the host community, who then brought the assistance the remainder of the way by camel.
APDA informed us of how the Teru District Administration have worked tirelessly to rescue and help those unable to make the journey – including a pregnant mother who delivered within hours of reaching Digdiga.
The response to our emergency appeal for those displaced by the conflict continues to amaze us. With your help, we can enable APDA to support as many people as possible. Urgently needed aid includes:
- Water purification and soap
- Sleeping mats, tents and blankets
- Cooking pots
APDA are also planning to send mobile health workers to rural areas to find displaced households who have no food, and work to ensure that as far as it is possible, diseases do not spread.
Please donate today if you are able, to help APDA reach more people with their life-saving support.