The war in Northern Ethiopia has caused enormous destruction of infrastructures and social services facilities. The preliminary assessment of the damage in war-freed areas in the Amhara and Afar regions shows, among other things, thousands of schools destroyed and millions of students left without schools. When the Tigray region and more areas are freed from the war, it is feared that an unfathomable level of damage and destruction will be unraveled. Until schools and other educational infrastructures are restored, children of age are going to be deprived of educational opportunities, on top of all other social, psychological, and economic problems. The absence of education will have a multifaceted and long-term impact on recovery from the economic devastation and the social and personal trauma of the war.
One of the most crucial services needed, especially during times of war, is that of the health sector. Unfortunately, facilities providing healthcare services have been among the most heavily impacted infrastructures in the war-affected areas. According to a recent report, over 40 hospitals, 453 healthcare centers, 1850 clinics, and 466 private healthcare institutes have been destroyed or looted. In this breakout section, speakers from regional governments, subject matter experts, and conference participants will discuss ways to address the provision of immediate healthcare needs, post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts, as well as long-term plans to support the mental and social well-being of war victims
War hurts the well-being of citizens by disrupting their social, economic, and political patterns. Over nine million Ethiopians have been displaced from the war-affected regions and family members have been separated when some fled their communities while other family members were left behind. People who stayed in the war zone are affected mentally and physically (living in a state of shock) after witnessing atrocities and faced with a lack of food, drinking water, and basic services. Experiencing severe trauma or life-threatening events causes the mind and body to be in shock. Long-term exposure to war and postwar conditions can cause serious psychological consequences including depression, and suicidal attempts.
The energy and communication sectors have been playing a vital role in enabling the country’s rapid economic growth. Unfortunately, reports indicate that there has been significant destruction of this infrastructure in the war-affected areas and requires immediate action. In this breakout session, leaders, experts, and participants will share information on the extent of the damage and discuss possible ways that diaspora/local professionals and other stakeholders can help in recovery efforts.
In recent days, media’s negative influence is reaching developing countries as they become emerging global media users. Even though a business within a territory that provides service should align with the society’s values, the capitalistic giants of media and social media that are owned and run by individuals in western world with no values for developing countries are adding fuel to burning flames. Now western media is manipulated by those that have divisive and toxic ideas, who are using major platforms to spread misleading information and propagate hate within societies. Case in point is the recent misinformation campaign driven by media against Ethiopia, which damaged the social fabric and threatened the coexistence of national diversity. Going forward, we need to consider strategies to mitigate the damaging impact of media and instead revert the use of media towards rebuilding and rehabilitating Ethiopia.