Millions face starvation in Ethiopian Tigray

There’s an old English expression which suggests that disasters rarely happen one at a time. How true this is for the Ethiopian state of Tigray, which right now is facing a humanitarian catastrophe of proportions which will likely outdo the shocking famine of the 1980s.

An estimate appearing throughout the world’s media this week suggests that a full 91% of the population of Tigray (over 5 million people) have reached starvation level. Covid 19, locust plagues, civil war, and the complete absence of the small rain which should have fallen in March/April means that yet again millions of the world’s most fragile citizens are facing death through starvation. Our hope that the very real emergency aid we have provided over the past year could come to an end when the rain fell in March has been shattered by the unexpected hot and dry weather of the past two months. We are receiving daily calls from our local government and our wonderful manager about the situation which is now far, far worse than anything we have experienced in our 14 years in Tigray.

Can we stop the huge death toll which – without international support – will eventuate, and which is already mounting? No, we can’t. However, we have been asked to do the following and we will try to provide this help. For the next four months until the wet season begins we are asked to ‘adopt’ the families of the students at our school. This will keep those 1500 students and their families alive and in return their parents will ensure that they return to school NOW. Our school will reopen its doors this week under government mandate but due to the problems in the region over the past year the incentives for students to return are understandably low.

Can you help us? Keeping a 5-7 person family alive over the next four months will cost CHF 200. We cannot promise to get photos of all the families but we will at least be able to give you names. And you can rest assured that every cent of that CHF 200 – or whatever you can afford – will go to that family in the form of food and water. We have an excellent and experienced team in place which has been delivering food aid on our behalf for a year now and they are able to manage this.

One of our donors has offered to double the amount we can raise in family sponsorship up to CHF 5’000.- That is 25 of the roughly 900 families which make up our school community. Please help us find sponsors for at least the first 25 families in the coming days so that we can take advantage of this generous offer to support a further 25 families. For further information, you can contact our project leader Lesley ( who was back in the region in February and is well informed about the current situation.

Donation platform (please specify ’emergency support Lemlem Baro’):

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