Conflict leaves Ethiopia’s children alone and vulnerable

19 January 2022

The conflict in Northern Ethiopia has separated children from their families, forced them out of school and seen many go hungry.

Girls and women in a camp for displaced people in Ethiopia
Girls and women in a camp for displaced people in Ethiopia

Severe conflict in northern Ethiopia means children are still separated from their families, hungry, and desperate to return to school, warns Plan International

Conflict in northern Ethiopia is escalating, causing large scale displacement. In the regions of Tigray, Afar and Amhara, 9.4 million people need food assistance, while millions have been displaced by fighting. The World Food Programme has warned that the passage of life-saving assistance is being blocked by intense fighting.  

When fighting broke out in her village in Amhara region, Northern Ethiopia, Yannet* fled with her mother and siblings. “When the explosion happened, I just kept on running, hoping my family was behind me. They weren’t,” says 14-year-old Yannet.

“When I looked back, they were not there. I think they ran in a different direction when the explosion happened and that’s when we became separated.

“I walked for four days and nights to get here [a journey of 100km]. I had no food and so to survive, I collected water from the river using plastic bottles. When I came to this town, I slept on the streets until I found a displacement camp.”

Going hungry

Eating every day is not guaranteed for Yannet, who says she sometimes tries to sleep so she doesn’t have to feel hungry. “I haven’t had food since yesterday. I was so hungry, I got a headache.”

The grade four student is, however, hopeful for a better future. “I want to finish my education, become a nurse and return home to help my community.”

Plan International is working to keep programmes in Ethiopia running throughout this crisis while keeping our staff in country safe, rapidly scaling up humanitarian assistance to people who have been displaced by the conflict through providing child protection, health, nutrition, education, water and sanitation, hygiene, and mental health interventions in Amhara, Afar and Tigray regions.

Plan International needs support from donors urgently to reach even more girls and families in crisis. 

*Names have been changed to protect identities

Emergencies, Disaster relief, Disaster risk management, Food crisis, Migrant and displaced children