Conflict in Ethiopia pulls at Heartstrings of Missoula’s Eritrean community

Heartbreakingly, there are many conflicts, wars, and horrific human rights violations taking place all over the world at any moment. So many, that it becomes easy to not only tune them out, but become overwhelmed to the point of numbness. At Soft Landing Missoula, our work does not focus globally, on these large and complicated issues, but right here at home- in Missoula, Montana and how we can best help new Missoulians who have fled these situations and landed here thrive in their new home. While challenging in its own right, it is also a more tangible place to put our efforts- sometimes to a fault.

The fact that we too are the beneficiaries of the skills, talents, and diverse experiences that refugees bring to our community cannot be stated enough. One of the ways in which we benefit is increased awareness to what is going on in the world and the inspiration to continue to be a part of the healing of this often broken world. We benefit by having friends that put a face to the numbers, that continue to push us back to the global view and challenge us to think bigger.

This is the case right now as it pertains to the conflict happening in the Tigray region of Ethiopia- a place where some families here in Missoula have spent time in camps as refugees, and a place where friends and family that are still there are once again fleeing for their lives, many into neighboring Sudan. As most are, this conflict is extremely complicated and we are not writing this to take a side, but to take a stance that the loss of human life and the displacement of individuals and families is ALWAYS a tragedy. At the request of some of the Eritrean families here in Missoula, who asked that we help bring to the attention and educate Missoulains on the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, we would like to present a few resources for further reading (below). We have also reached out to try and understand the best way to help people affected, and as there is enough chaos on the ground to not have an avenue to assist local organizations at this moment, we are advised in supporting and trust in the great work that the UNHCR is doing in the region.

Below you will also find a link to join Soft Landing Missoula in making a donation toward the UNHCR’s relief effort specific to this crisis.

Thank you for standing with us in solidarity with our Eritrean community. As one young Eritrean we spoke to stated- “I want everyone to know what is happening in Tigray. Bombing is happening in Tigray and there are four refugee camps in this region. The camps have been left to fend for themselves, there is no food, no water, no hospitals and no security, my people are desperate and they have nowhere to go. We are very worried about them and we are asking for the bombing to stop now!”


Background from NPR:

What to Know About Ethiopia’s Tigray Conflict

Ethiopia, UN Reach a Deal to Allow Aid

Refugees in Ethiopia

Other Resources:

BBC Current Situation Tracker

Short Video released Dec 30th 2020

One Way to Help:

GIVE to the UNHCR to support refugees fleeing this crisis into Sudan