15 Minutes on Forgotten Emergencies


Episode Transcript

Lama Alsafi: 00:01 Hello and welcome to 15 Minutes to Change the World. Where in 15 minutes you can learn a bit more about the world and how you can help change it.

Lama Alsafi: 00:39 My name is Lama Alsafi, host of this podcast. In 2019 countries across the world were rocked by political and social activism, demonstrating the potential for anyone to become or support a changemaker. Global movements have increasingly gone viral, spreading messages more quickly and widely than ever before. People came together to make noise and ignite change. With so many people taking to the streets and with so many global trends in the spotlight, both online and offline, we still find their are pockets of silence. So what about those who are suffering in silence? What about the world’s forgotten and under-reported crises?

Suffering in Silence CARE’s new report, which highlights the top 10 crises that received little to no media attention in 2019 is soon to be released. This report challenges media institutions, aid organizations and policymakers to make conscious choices about their priorities because, and as the report finds where crises is under-reported, the humanitarian response is also chronically underfunded. CARE’s new report finds that 9 out of 10 of the most under-reported crises of 2019 are on the African continent where man-made climate change has dramatically fueled displacement and hunger crises.

Lama Alsafi: 01:51 2019 was a year of many challenges in Ethiopia. There was a drought in the Eastern and Southeastern parts of the country, localized flooding as well as significant humanitarian and recovery needs of internally displaced people, refugees, returnees and host communities. Across the country 84% of all families live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming. In search of food and safety, many have moved to camps for the internally displaced. With many homes and villages damaged or destroyed by conflict, flooding, extreme drought, crop losses, livestock diseases and displacement, many have been unable to return home. In 2019 about 200,000 people are estimated to have lost their homes.

Almaz lives in one of the biggest displacement camps in Southern Ethiopia. It’s dark in her small hut and her home is sparsely furnished with a few cupboards and one bed on which she is sitting. She looks fragile with her back bent and her right hand covering her face as she tries to hide her tears. She has dark circles under her eyes. Her clothes are ripped. The floor of her home has cracks and her voice breaks as she brings up the memories of the day that her life changed dramatically.

Here’s the story Almaz shared with us.

Lama Alsafi: 03:20 It was evening when all of a sudden we heard gunshots and people screaming Almaz said. Me and my family were at home, we didn’t know what was going on in the village. We looked outside and saw people fleeing. When we realized something was wrong, my husband went outside to look at what was going on.

That was the last time I saw him.

Almaz continued. I didn’t have time to wait. I gathered my six children and we started walking towards a nearby village. We were all so scared and in shock by what we had just witnessed. Once we arrived, we went to an abandoned school building where people were gathering. It became our new home for the next three months. A few days later, some other villagers told me that my husband was killed. He was shot during the attack on our village. My heart shattered as my son brought back the body of his father to our new home, but the most difficult day was yet to come. Unable to cope with his father’s loss, my 23 year old son committed suicide just a week after we had left our homes and old lives behind.

When I found out, a part of me died as well. It hurts so much to have lost a child Almaz continued. I feel so much pain inside of me. I want my other children to go to school, but I can only afford to send one of them. I am weak and I depend on help now. I see no future for us.

Lama Alsafi: 04:53 I would give everything to go back to the days things were normal Almaz said. My husband used to work for the military, so I led our home life and I raised our children, but in recent years we farmed our coffee and wheat fields. He was the breadwinner in our family and I don’t know how we can survive without him. Almaz continued, a few months ago we returned to our old home. Our house was still standing, but the roof was destroyed in the attack. So much has changed in our village. It doesn’t even feel like home anymore

Ethiopia is only one of the many countries and crises that you aren’t hearing about in the news. It’s up to us to make sure that our friends, our families and our communities understand the issues and to hear the stories of survivors like Almaz. I want you to know that your voice has power. Use your voice, use social media and take up space. Every action makes a difference and it only takes one person to create noise, to start a trend and ignite a movement.

Want to learn more about under-reported humanitarian crises? Head to care.ca to read the top 10 under-reported crises of 2019 in CARE’s new report.

Lama Alsafi: 06:02 Thank you to all of our listeners for tuning in. As always, you can stay up to date on our newest episode of 15 Minutes to Change the World on Spotify and iTunes.