April - May 2021

In mid-March of 2021, armed terrorists from the OLA-Shen group targeted and attacked Amhara civilians found in the towns of Ataye and Shewa Robit, as well as several rural kebele’s (neighborhoods) in Efratana Gedem district as well as Kewet district. In the last two years, Ataye was attacked six times by armed OLA-Shene militants.  As a result, in addition to hundreds of deaths of civilians, more than 35,929 people were displaced from their homes and had to be settled in temporary shelters in adjacent districts.  The town of Ataye was tragically burned to the ground.


Dir Biyabir’s long-term project partner ADHENO, who has been implementing sustainable projects in Northern Shewa for over 18 years, was contacted by the local government North Shewa Zone Food Security & Emergency Response Coordination Office, and requested to provide help in responding to this humanitarian emergency. Given our long-standing partnership with Adheno in funding projects in this area, and the urgency of the situation.  In April 2021 Dir Biyabir decided to do a special fundraiser to respond to this emergency.


A total of $47,467 was raised, which includes a donation of $5,000 from Dir Biyabir.  The total amount was wired to ADHENO in 2 phases in April and May 2021.  The funds converted to two million two thousand birr (2,002,000). ADHENO conducted a detailed assessment of the needs of the displaced.  The most immediate needs were food, cooking utensils, mattresses, clothing, hygiene materials and school materials for students whose books were burnt during the attack.  The ADHENO team based in Debre Birhan purchased and personally delivered the following items in 5 rounds of relief deliveries from May through October 2021.



The relief was provided to 1,263 internally displaced people from Ataye and various parts of the district of Efratana Gedem.  This includes:


The displaced were housed in 8 tents at Ataye high school as well as at a shelter at Karakore primary school.  Additional displaced people were housed at various relatives homes throughout the area.  Though the local government had set up these shelters they had no resources to provide any food aid, thus leaving the displaced people in an especially precarious situation.  Though the tents the displaced people were sheltered in had a UN logo on it, these were just emergency tents that the zonal administration had made available.  There was no UN presence whatsoever in the area and no UN agency or any other NGO was providing any relief to the displaced people in this area.


Food Items Purchased and Distributed


Before the first round of food support, mothers were unable to breastfeed their children due to malnutrition. However, with the help of food items, mothers were able to resume breastfeeding their children.


Without any implements for cooking, the food aid by itself is not sufficient.  In addition the displaced people lacked any bedding material in the shelters.  Thus the following material were  also purchased and provided by ADHENO:


Cooking Utensils Purchased and Distributed


Bedding, Hygiene Products & School Supplies Purchased and Distributed



Dir Biyabir in collaboration with its partner ADHENO was able to meet the immediate needs of the 1,263 internally displaced people from Ataye and various parts of the district of Efratana Gedem.  These folks had no other organization who was helping them in their time of extreme need.  As the terror campaign waged by TPLF and OLA-Shene against innocent civilians in the Amhara and Afar region has been expanding, there is a growing need for relief and rehabilitation of impacted civilians.  Dir Biyabir is normally focused on funding long-term sustainable projects. However due to the severity of the crisis, Dir Biyabir will likely need to change focus in the short-term and drive additional fundraisers for emergency relief. Given the extent of the challenge, UN agencies, NGO’s and the government will need to step up to  provide the bulk of the relief.  This is a serious gap that must be addressed as soon as possible.


Damage to Ataye

ADHENO speaking with people affected

Supplies being delivered