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Finally a peace-agreement and moving forward with recovery…

November 13th 2022     The northern conflict over, so we all hope…

The peace-agreement

As has been well published, as of November 2nd a peace agreement between the Federal Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front has been brokered with the conditions of disarmament, returning to the constitutional understanding of regional relation with the federal government and so. Within Afar Region, this is greeted with tentative joy given the horrors that have taken place over the past 2 years, the utter disruption to livelihoods and the destruction of infrastructures. Indeed, it is a reversal of the aggression so many communities adjacent to the borders of Tigray and Amhara Regions in western Afar have endured repeatedly. As of writing, there is growing confidence that peace indeed in Tigray and with Tigray will become reality with excitement in Mekele, the Regional capital as prices of commodities drop daily to within country – costs and freedom of movement is restored. Moreover, there is talk of a federal reconciliation to be established between the warring factions leading up to election in Tigray. However the country continues to endure conflict in western Oromia (Wollega) and in other Oromo areas, ethnic crimes being perpetuated. Too, the Issa/ Afar conflict appears far from over although the Issa- Somali occupancy of Awash roadside towns in Afar came to an end in September, Issa having been pushed back into their adjoining Somali Region ending the decades – long contraband trade of the Issa from Djibouti and the Arab states into Ethiopia having a market base in the 3 towns now freed to Afar control. Djibouti-fired insurgency again flared in late October adjacent to Guddamyto, one of those former contraband towns causing severe casualty.

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“There’s a great sea of people here with no food at all…”

Sometimes I don’t know how to begin.

I’m sure you’ve heard mention of this, from me or from the news.

The Afar people, from Ethiopia’s north-east, are in the grips of a devastating human tragedy.

It’s the worst I’ve seen in my time here at Ethiopiaid.

As a compassionate supporter for people in need in our world, I know you’ll be as troubled by that as I am.

I feel like you’re the kind of person who cares about many different charities, and I can easily see the impact you have for the world’s most vulnerable.

That’s why I’m reaching out to you now. Because I desperately need compassionate people around Australia to rally together in the face of Ethiopia’s crisis.

A displaced mother & children boil water on the ground while hoping for food aid

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Thirst and Hunger verses to Need to Recover

Drought conditions have taken a massive grip on much of the Region

Thirst
For almost the entire Region, rain has not fallen since late September 2021. Now, in the thick of the annual hot season, communities are crying out to be rescued from the dangers of thirst. Added to this, Kamsiin winds are blowing off the Saudi Peninsular, the annual 50 days of searing heat dust. Now scores of communities that have road access are begging for water trucking, even more than usual as TPLF have destroyed and dismantled as many water schemes as they could reach in the process of battle.

Women stop for a chat in Shekoyta.

APDA is currently water trucking with 7 vehicles and being asked to more than double this. While the rain has begun in Addis, there is no sign of immanent precipitation right now, the main rainy season not expected before late July. This daily hardship falls on women, as it is they who are traditionally responsible to bring water to the household and it is they who perform all care for dependent family members.
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Dual Crisis of On-going Conflict and Drought

  1. The peace truce but still conflict

As of March 31st, the Afar people abided by their side of the truce to allow humanitarian convoys into Tigray travelling through Afar Region. Within two days of the first convoy getting in, fighting had resumed in Magaale, the Afar militia pushing TPLF fighters back from Bubbuyse, just 20 kilometers from where the majority of Magaale’s 35,000 displaced people are harboring in Dirma. Fighting in Konnaba is persistent with the TPLF controlling the entire district and jockeying to come back into Dallol through Dam’ale.

While the TPLF did withdraw from Erebti town around 20 kilometers from the border with Aba’ala district on the main road on April 12th, they have left behind mayhem of destruction: all shops systematically looted, government offices rendered unusable, private houses ripped apart, the school now totally unserviceable. While the clinic was raided of all possible supplies and equipment, the building still stands. The worse for the local people was they desecrated Islam by bringing the Koranic books out of the mosque and urinating on them. Erebti the last town Tigray – bound convoys pass through before reaching Aba’ala town where they cross into Tigray. Continue reading