The walls of the Guduru Primary Hospital, which serves more than five districts, were riddled with bullets, and its water tank was damaged. Beds, equipment, surgical sets, medicines, and ambulances were looted. At the same time, the number of patients has drastically increased as thousands of people who fled their homes arrived in this area, making it extremely difficult for staff to provide healthcare services to the population.
We have a shortage of emergency drugs. No operating room sets. We do not have beds. And now there is also a shortage of water supply due to the damage to the water reservoir. The community pharmacy was also destroyed, and all the drugs and materials were taken, said Dr. Alemayehu Kiri, the hospital`s medical director.
Hundreds of thousands of people in the Oromia region of Ethiopia are seriously affected by the current violence. Many of them require humanitarian assistance, and the situation could deteriorate as ongoing fighting limits aid access to many areas. The needs are particularly significant in parts of Guji, the Wellegas, and Borena.
The gunshots were unbearable, so we fled to save our lives. It was a nightmare and very difficult for my children. We lost everything and have not received any assistance since we arrived in Balo. No one has come to ask about our situation, explained Mulu Takele, a displaced mother of seven.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), working together with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS), faces numerous challenges in addressing the enormous needs despite the extension of operations to the western part of the Oromia region and to Guji. The capacity of the ICRC and the ERCS in Oromia is overstretched in their efforts to provide protection and assistance to populations most affected by the violence in areas that are particularly difficult to access such as Bubul, Begi and Kondole, Balo, Bareda and Kombolsha, where few if any other humanitarian organizations operate. We have had to make difficult choices, targeting places with little presence of other humanitarian actors, said Julian Jaccard, the ICRC head of sub-delegation in Nekemte. People in these areas have suffered immensely and for a long time.
Since January 2023, in Oromia, the ICRC has:
- Assisted 62,800 people with food, household supplies, shelter, and cash.
- Regularly supported 12 health facilities with medical supplies and equipment such as medicines, medical consumables, furniture, and hygiene items, as well as training on clinical management of rape for healthcare staff to continue or resume basic lifesaving medical services.
- Helped 32,500 people restore or maintain family links by facilitating exchange of family news through Red Cross messages or phone calls, which some separated family members have described as their greatest moment of relief.
- Facilitated access to clean water for 187,000 people, including those in detention places, helping them to get suitable water to drink and wash with and for health workers to get the clean water they need to stay safe, and to save the lives of patients.