Conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia Save the Children said Tuesday that it had separated nearly 5,000 children from their parents.
According to Save the Children, many children now live in crowded areas, often sleeping in rooms with dozens of unrelated adults, making them vulnerable to abuse.
It is believed that a battle between the federal government and military forces in the northern region broke out in November, killing thousands and evacuating more than a million.
Save the Children’s account was backed up by a girl who told Reuters how to stay home to find her parents gone.
Seven-year-old Freweyni, who lives in the town of May Cadera, lost sight of her parents and siblings when the murder began. Reuters withholds her name for privacy reasons.
“Our neighbor came and said,’Run away, people may kill you,'” she told Reuters in March at a school protecting refugee families in the provincial capital Mek’ele.
Her father was with her sick grandmother, but told her to run. When she returned home, neither her parents nor her grandmother were there. She hasn’t seen them since then, she said.
Freweyni, now being cared for by his neighbors, was one of 45 distant children evacuating to Casinette High School, where people crammed into crowded classrooms and camped under trees.
Many said they ate only one meal a day due to lack of sufficient assistance. According to the United Nations, humanitarian response has been hampered by ongoing combat in some areas.
The government has said it has supplied 70% of the food aid sent so far and is competing to rebuild the infrastructure.
Communication remains a challenge. Telephone lines in some areas have been down since the conflict began. Even major towns like Shire, home to tens of thousands of refugees, can lose road and phone connections for weeks.
Magdalena Rothman, Save the Children’s Conservation Advisor, said:
According to Save the Children, the 11-year-old girl and her brother lost their families in battle but were able to reunite with their 23-year-old brother. He fled to Sudan, but returned to look for them. Their parents are still alive, but they cannot contact their children.
“When the war started, everything went wrong,” said the 11-year-old. “There was always the sound of guns and armed men.”
“I want to be with my parents again. I’m still afraid.”
Approximately 5,000 children separated in the Tigray conflict: Aid Group-SABC News
Source link Approximately 5,000 children separated in the Tigray conflict: Aid Group-SABC News