Minneapolis, Minnesota (March 14, 2021).
On Sunday, March 7, 2021, hundreds of Oromos were burnt to death in the Yemeni city of Sana’a. The Oromo people affected by this tragedy are part of the thousands of Oromo refugees that left their homeland Oromia, Ethiopia because of their Oromo identity that have rendered them a target for mass arrests, mistreatments, extrajudicial killings, and abuse of power by the successive Ethiopian governments.
Although there are varying accounts of the incident that burnt down the building in which these and many others were stationed, the living condition and overcrowding has made the already bad situation worse. These dominantly youth refugees crossed multiple boundaries, made it across the Red Sea under very risky situations and negotiated desert lands on foot for several weeks to get to Yemen as they run away from the brutal regime in Ethiopia. They were hoping to get to a safe place where they can have basic human life and protection. Unfortunately, the war in the host country didn’t make their lives any better and hundreds (by some estimates up to 450) were burnt down to death. Based on some accounts from survivors, the migrant detention center was put on fire after the refugees rejected to join the fighting army nor pay ransom when asked by the Houthi forces. Many more are still in dire situation caught between the warring factions and have lost whatever belongings they had during this incident.
Like the millions of Oromo people who heard the news, we at HIRPHA International, a humanitarian non-profit organization, are shocked and heartbroken by this tragedy. We would like to express our condolences to the families and relatives directly or indirectly impacted by this sad incident.
HIRPA International want to call up on all Oromo Diaspora and humanitarian organizations to support the Oromo people who are still in Yemen and help them to get through this traumatic and very difficult time.
We call up on the relevant international organizations (UNHCR, IOM) to protect the Oromo refugees in Yemen through proper recognition following international rules and protection, and facilitate a third country resettlement.
We also call up on the international community to put pressure on the Ethiopian government to protect basic human rights and the rule of law to avoid mass migration of Oromos and other nationalities from their homeland.
HIRPHA International (HI) has made significant stride to play its part by providing non-food assistance to over 17,500 family members in various parts of Oromia Regional state. In excess of 500 women and children were also provided nutrition aid and/or medical support. This Annual Report (2017-2018) intends to outline these efforts, share victims stories and provide the financial summary of our operation thus far.
With over 1.5 million internally displaced people, a lot more work still remain. HIRPHA Int. will make efforts to increase its support base and generate more financial donations. We will also continue to work with local aid organizations, youth volunteers, the elderly, and the victims themselves for successful aid delivery.
On behalf of myself and the Board of Directors, I want to take this opportunity to thank the Oromo Diaspora whose incredible generosity has made this possible.
Nasir Kenea, PhD
Chair, Board of Directors
In early and late 2018, HIRPHA International responded to the humanitarian situation in Bale and Wollega Districts of Oromia, respectively. In Saweena area 475 households (200 in Kuni, 100 in Arele/Badda Dhera & 175 in Atawi) with 2400 family members were supplied emergency shelter and non-food items.
In addition, 100 children and 50 women (pregnant and lactating) exposed to malnutrition in the areas of Arele/Badda Dhera were provided urgently needed supplementary food such as FAMIX, vegetable oil & packed powdered milk.
In eastern Wollega, 1100 households with about 3300 beneficiary family members (1680 male, 1620 female) living in Haro Limu district, bordering Benishangul Gumuz (BG) State, were supplied with non-food items, primarily blankets.
In addition, mattresses were given to 292 family members with highly vulnerable women (pregnant and breast feeding) in Sasigga area.
The emergency situation has been escalating in many areas of the Oromia Region. In order to respond to the dire situation, it was very important for Hirpha International (HI) to understand the situation on the ground. Furthermore, identifying a reliable nonprofit organization that HI can partner with for delivery of aid was vital for accountability. Both of these objectives were successfully conducted in Oct. 2017.
Following field assessment to understand the situation on the ground, and financial requirements, HI decided to provide aid to Fadis (East Hararge) and Arero (Borena) districts. Although the needs of the internally displaced Oromos are wide ranging, 13 non-food items often categorized under emergency sheltering kit included bedding set, kitchen utensils and sanitation and hygiene sets were delivered. The items included plastic sheeting/tarpaulin, rope, blanket, bed mat, plate, cup, kettle, jug, cooking pot, cooking ladle, washing basin, jerry cans, and soap. In total, HI has been successful in providing assistance of non-food items to 10, 875 family members in both Fadis and Areero districts in 2017. The distribution breakdown is as follows:
- Two distribution centres (Boko Town and Facaatu) that supplied aid to people from 21 localities/Gandaas.
- Number of beneficiaries: 7997 family members (Full supply: 1295 households; Partial supply (blanket and mat): 449 households)
- Two distribution centres (Guto and Halu Dirree) that supplied to people from these locals.
- Number of beneficiaries: 2878 family members (Full supply: 468 households; Partial supply (blanket and mat): 84 households)
We thank all those who provided donations to HI to help us provide assistance to the people in need.
The total fund raised in excess of 125 Million Ethiopian Birr. The fund is managed and operated by a committee of notable Oromo individuals and community leaders.