For months now, conflict has been building in Ethiopia. It is now at breaking point. Across the north of the country, in Tigray, Amhara and Afar, violence between government forces and armed groups has forced millions of people to flee for their lives. Many are facing severe hunger. Here are some of their stories.
When violence arrived at their door
Habiba* and her husband, Ahmed*, lived a peaceful life with their twelve children – they had everything they needed. But as the conflict started, food became scarce, as seeds for crops were in short supply. Harvests were abandoned by farmers, escaping the violence. And many were too scared to travel and work.
Ahmed was elected by his community to help distribute aid to those in the area who needed it. But then armed groups showed up in his village.
'My husband was a farmer, he was not involved in politics. However, homes were searched… and killings began,’ Habiba shares with us.
‘My husband… he hid under the bed [when they] lined up at the door… They abducted him.’
After her husband was taken, Habiba fled with her children to another district.
‘I came here because my life was difficult and I was afraid of being attacked. Now I don't know where my husband is,’ she says.
On arrival it was difficult for Habiba to support her children – they had nothing. Different host families in the community took in the children so they would have shelter and food. But thanks to support from Tearfund’s local partner, Friendship Support Association (FSA), they have now been reunited.
‘You give me not only food but also my children. I sent my children to different families… to save their lives. But now, thanks to the FSA, I can feed my children and start living under one roof with my children,’ says Habiba.
Tearfund is working with FSA to provide families like Habiba’s with food, shelter and access to clean water and safe sanitation. But the need is increasing: more than 3 million people in Ethiopia have now fled their homes due to the violence.