It's been months since fighting broke out in Tigray, one of the poorest regions in Ethiopia, where hundreds of thousands rely on food assistance even under good harvest conditions. Prior to the conflict, however, more than one million people in the region were already reliant on aid and more than 600,000 grappling with hunger.
To make an already difficult situation harder, COVID-19 and desert locust infestation further hindered the ability of families to provide for even their basic needs. The conflict, which displaced hundreds of thousands, only made things even more difficult.
According to UNICEF’s situation report from January 14, 2021, 4.5 million people need emergency food assistance in Tigray, as many as 2.3 million of whom are children.
Leges, 30, a mother of six, is among those who have been displaced. Together with her six children and many others on move, she suffered greatly on the way to Shire, where she is currently living in an Internally Displaced (IDP) camp. They had to hide in the forest for six days before making the six-day walk to Shire.
“I just rushed to flee leaving behind my house and all my properties to save my children’s and my lives. I hope one day we would be back in our home,” she says, explaining how the cold weather, lack of sleep and lack of food is affecting her and her children. "I came here expecting at least to get food, water and shelter. Unfortunately, I am getting little or no food,” she adds.