Since October 2020, there has been a devastating conflict in Tigray, the most northern part of Ethiopia. The fighting between the TPLF (Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front) and Ethiopia’s National Defence Force (and their allies) has led to thousands of deaths, displaced 1.7 million people, and led to charges of atrocities — including ethnic cleansing and horrific sexual violence, from all parties. A dire humanitarian situation continues.
Our projects are within the neighbouring Amhara region and are based around the town of Lalibela. Up until June 2021, our projects remained unaffected and progressed well. However, at the end of June, the TPLF begun moving south into Amhara with tanks, armoured cars, weapons, and thousands of troops. On the 5th August the TPLF occupied Lalibela. It is understood that they took control without gunfire, but since that time thousands of residents have fled due to fear of violence. There are concerns over the safety of all remaining residents in Lalibela.
For those that fled Lalibela, they have become internally displaced people (IDP). Many are homeless, facing famine-like conditions and in urgent need of assistance.
Our team is on the ground, providing cash grants to 220 women. Over half of these women have children or a due to given birth soon. Most of these women have nowhere to live and cannot afford food. There is no opportunity for them to earn a living whilst they remain displaced from their home, family and community.
Each woman receives AU$80 per month so she can afford food, water and shelter.
What happens next in the conflict is unclear. How long the people of Lalibela and Tigray will remain displaced is unknown. We urge the groups involved to immediately end hostilities and reach a negotiated solution for the people of Ethiopia and the country’s stability.