Field Update: Armed forces leave Afar September 2021

8 September 2021

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For seven weeks, conflict has been mounting in the Afar region of Ethiopia, as armed TPLF forces (Tigray People’s Liberation Front) moved into the area.

There have been reports of aerial artillery, emergency closures of markets, banks and health centres, and herds of livestock being killed. Thousands of Afar families have been forced to flee their homes and livelihoods.

However, as of 7th September, project partners Afar Pastoralist Development Association (APDA) report that the TPLF armed forces have left the Afar region.

While this does bring immediate relief from the violence, APDA’s Valerie Browning says it does not change the ongoing humanitarian crisis among individuals and families who have been displaced.

“This does not change the humanitarian crisis for the displaced now of 7 weeks. There remains no possibility of getting food, and there is extremely limited medical care. In fact, Zones 4 and 2 almost have no food*. (*Afar is sub-divided into five areas or administrative “zones”.)
Today, our health team shocked us with a nutrition screening of five sub-districts of northern Afdeera (part of Zone 2). A total of 5,750 children under five were screened: 14.4% have severe acute malnutrition and 39.39% are moderately malnourished.
This situation is endemic in many other areas spanning Afar. There is no food availability, no market and, in the few areas where food is present, there is extraordinary and escalating inflation.”

- Valerie Browning, Co-Founder & Program Director, Afar Pastoralist Development Association

Displaced family trying to live in classroom in Afar
Displaced family trying to live in a classroom in Afar
Displaced family boiling water in schoolyard
Trying to boil water in a schoolyard in Afar


What's being done to help

APDA is currently providing the following aid to displaced communities:

  • WATER: Running 8 water trucks to displaced communities which have scarce natural resources.

  • FOOD: Providing a month’s worth of supplementary food to 900 malnourished people in displaced communities, including pregnant and breast-feeding women.  

  • SHELTER: Providing 630 families with traditional palm leaf mats to construct durable shelter, plus providing a further 1,250 families with sleeping mats and blankets.

  • LIVESTOCK: Sending veterinary medicine to two regions in Zone 1 and Zone 2 where camel disease has broken out and which is killing off important herds.

  • SCHOOLING: With the school year commencing on 20th September, APDA are hoping to run informal learning under a tree for lower grades to relieve children’s minds of the horror of the past 7 weeks. For higher grades, APDA is planning to organise student hostels in larger towns as several rural school buildings have been bombed.


If you would like to help

Ethiopiaid Australia is directly supporting relief and recovery work by long-time project partners, the Afar Pastoralist Development Association.

If you would like to help, please make an emergency donation of your choice via the link below. Donations will be put towards urgently-needed essentials: food, cooking supplies, sleeping mats, blankets, soap and water purfication tablets, for Tigrayan and Afar people who have had to flee their homes.  


Any amount you can give will be gratefully received. With our warmest thanks.