News Alert: Mercy Corps responding to the crisis in Afar, Ethiopia 

Expanding conflict in northern Ethiopia has left an estimated 4 million people displaced and some 9.4 million people needing food assistance as a direct result of ongoing conflict. The global humanitarian organization Mercy Corps is ramping up its humanitarian efforts in the Afar region of Ethiopia to support scores of people who have fled their homes and need urgent assistance.

Melaku Yirga, Mercy Corps Country Director for Ethiopia, says,

“With little over a year since the conflict in North Ethiopia erupted, it is estimated that over 375,000 people have been displaced in the Afar region alone, with the most significant numbers in Chifra District. The displacement camps lack essential water and proper sanitation services, leaving many, especially women and children, at high risk of health concerns.

“We are responding to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of people living in the camps. Our teams are providing cash assistance in partnership with a local microfinance institution and supporting the distribution of essential items not available locally, including washbasins, hand and laundry soap, water purification tablets to help reduce the risk of water-borne diseases and dignity kits for women and adolescent girls. The site where we are working hosts about 7,000 families, and more people are arriving every day.

“The scale and severity of the crisis in Afar require immediate action. Without this, we will likely see more people falling deeper into an already deteriorating hunger crisis exacerbated by the loss of crops and livestock.”

Mercy Corps has worked in Ethiopia since 2004, providing urgent relief to millions of people in Ethiopia. Last year, Mercy Corps reached more than 800,000 people with humanitarian and development assistance. The United Nations reports that the evolving situation in Ethiopia could push an additional 1.1 million people into humanitarian need. More than 7.7 million people in Ethiopia struggled with acute food insecurity, malnutrition, and water shortages before this crisis.