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
People like you.
As I mentioned, the people of Afar have had far more than their fair share of hardship in recent years.
First, they faced three years of crippling drought, which decimated the livestock herds that are the economic lifeblood of the region.
Then there were locust plagues, which further devastated grazing areas and left families without food and fodder for their animals.
And just when you thought things couldn’t get any more biblical, Afar was hit by never-before-seen floods in July 2020. Homes, schools and health centres were destroyed, whole livelihoods washed away.
The people of Afar were still reeling from these natural disasters when conflict broke out in the neighbouring Tigray region between separatist political party the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the Ethiopian Government.
Towns have been destroyed and looted in the fighting, and the markets and trade routes which local farmers depend on to sell their livestock and produce have been shut down.
Families fleeing the conflict, carrying some few blankets & clothes on their backs
To escape the conflict, tens of thousands of people fled inland from Tigray to the most rural and isolated parts of Afar. Most left with nothing but the clothes on their backs.
With trademark generosity, the local Afaris shared what they had with the displaced Tigrayans. But it didn’t take long before food and other essential items ran out.
As many as 600,000 people are now living in makeshift camps without shelter, clean water or food.
As is always the case in crises like these, children are amongst the worst affected.
Reports are coming in of children younger than five dying in the arms of health workers, too weak to swallow medicine or protein paste.
Project partners APDA loading up camels with emergency supplies to reach isolated,
crisis-hit areas of Afar
I keep picturing the face of our project partner Valerie Browning (Co-Founder & Project Manager for partners, the Afar Pastoralist Development Association – APDA) as she told me the news over video call.
“We’re finding families who haven’t eaten for two to five days. As many as 20,000 children are unspeakably malnourished because they’re too isolated.
“Right now, we are the only contact organisation for these displaced people. We’ve got to pull out every stop we can.”
APDA are racing to get food, shelter, clean water and medical care to all the displaced families, before it’s too late.
But Valerie says it’s been challenging.
“We’re sending out health teams in four directions. They’re going through the displaced communities, family by family, screening and giving treatment and support.
“We start with trucks, then camels, then finally travel on foot where the roads are broken by the floods.”
Did you know, in many parts of Afar, APDA is the only aid organisation able to reach displaced families?
Valerie and her team are doing everything they possibly can, but their resources are limited. I’m really concerned that without extra support, many vulnerable people will be left without the food, shelter, clean water and medical care they need to survive.
I don’t want to see more children lose their lives to starvation. Your gift today can stop this from happening.
Here are some of the ways your gift can save lives:
- $25 will provide soap & water purification to displaced families
- $35 will feed malnourished children with high protein paste
- $50 will give blankets & durable shelter for families sleeping rough
- $75 will carry out medical care & screenings by on-foot health workers
- $100 will provide food care packs for mothers & their families
Any gift you can give will be enormously appreciated.
Thank you so much. For being the kind of person who cares about those in need and who takes steps to help.
I’m grateful to have you with us.
With my thanks today and always,
PS: Northern Ethiopia is facing its worst humanitarian crisis in living memory. Children and families are dying of starvation as we speak. I urgently need compassionate people in Australia to help Ethiopia’s most vulnerable survive. You are one of these people, Graham.
Rotary eClub (D9510online, Australia and EthiopiAid working together
Or Donations can be made directly to the eClub’s account;
Bendigo Bank: Rotary E-Club D9510online, Australia
Account No: 156 707 358
(please mark reference – AFAR + your Club Name)