Relief shelter for flood victims in Amhara Region

© UNICEF Ethiopia/2007/Berhan

Tinsae Berhan speaks with a UNICEF field monitor, in the Shoble Camp for flood-displaced populations in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. Ten thousand people are in the camp.

“There was nothing we could do to stop the flash flood, but with UNICEF’s assistance we will rebuild our small farm.”

Tinsae Berhane sits outside her allotted tent, tiredness on her face, in her eyes. “Our village’s levee broke in the night,” recalls Tinsae, “there was nothing we could do to stop the flash flood. By morning the wheat, millet and sorghum were all underwater. My sons and I tried desperately to protect the house, but water kept rising. We could not guess what tomorrow would bring.”

Tinsae abandoned her home and her small plot of land near the shores of Lake Tana in the heart of Ethiopia’s Amhara Region. She strapped her youngest child onto her back and carried all the items she could muster before wading over the flood waters in search of higher ground and the relief shelter set up with the help of UNICEF.

The torrential rain overwhelmed feeble earthen dykes and levees in dozens of settlements dotted around the swollen tributaries of the lake. Tinsae joined nearly 10,000 other displaced people in Amhara whose lives now depend on securing food, medicine and shelter.
“When someone in our village falls on hard times we usually chip in to provide support,” says Tinsae, “but these floods have happened twice now and have affected all of us. No one can afford to provide me or anyone else with food or cash. My crops have been underwater for a week and will be useless now – we have to start from nothing.”

Government health workers and Mengistu, a UNICEF field monitor, helped Tinsae check into the shelter. “Our support is critical to the welfare of these people,” says Mengistu. “Emergency supplies are urgently needed, such as medicines, cooking sets, shelter materials as well as vital water and sanitation assistance to meet the urgent needs of the families displaced by the floods in Amhara Region and elsewhere. We work with partners like the World Food Programme, Médecins Sans Frontières and the Red Cross.”

“I am not afraid for the future, my family will rebuild our small farm to ensure our survival,” says Tinsae. Fortunately, with UNICEF’s assistance, the family will return without a single member lost.

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