I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks and that’s because I’ve been in Addis Ababa with my friend and colleague, Dave Ray, exploring ways of getting much needed ShelterBox aid into Ethiopia. Down in the South of the country, in the Dolo Ado region, over 1,000 Somali refugees cross the border every day, fleeing a drought and famine of biblical proportions. The ongoing conflict in Somalia has only worsened the situation.
Dave and I are here as part of a Shelterbox Response Team and have been working in Addis Ababa for the past 10 days to find a way in. We’ve been very lucky to have the support of the local Rotary who provided us with a fantastic fixer, Mr Mohammed Idris. Mohammed’s experience of working with Rotary’s Polio Plus project in the Southern region has proved invaluable and through him we have been able to enlist the help of the Ethiopian Government and partner up with the CCRDA (Consortium of Christian Relief & Development Agencies – an umbrella organisation of some 300 NGO’s operating in Ethiopia) and Save The Children USA to provide a meaningful response to what is a very dire need for emergency shelter in Dolo Ado and beyond.
We were thrilled to hear that with all our agreements in place, the first consignment of ShelterBoxes will be arriving in country early next week and Save The Children’s logistics will move them swiftly into the field (I say swiftly, but Dolo Ado is a 3 day journey from Addis by truck). Through Save The Children, we’ll be helping some of the most vulnerable, it is the children that are the most affected by this famine. We’ll be working with them to provide shelter for refugee families fostering orphans and unaccompanied minors and to develop child friendly spaces.
The people fleeing the famine have only what they can carry and the need for emergency shelter is enormous. For more information visit Shelterbox at http://www.shelterbox.org