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Social media based activists mobilize to support IDPs in Addis Ababa

Concerned residents of Addis Ababa have been collecting funds and necessary goods to support internally displaced persons following the ethnically motivated attacks in Burayu town and peripheral areas of Addis Ababa. The violence has led to a reported 17,000 people displaced from their homes.

Social media based campaigners are gathering donations of food, water, clothes, diapers and sanitary materials on Facebook and Twitter. Many aware of the difficult conditions from posts online have gone to visit the IDPs sheltered in schools and churches in Asco, Ayer Tena and Jemo areas of the city.

Elyab Tilahun one of the organizers of the movement says he expects the number of shelter seekers will increase in the coming days. “There are 10 to 15 people actively working to support this work. There are also organizations like Setaweet and the Yellow Movement supporting us with gathering donations.”

Volunteers have been physically going around the city to gather Donation centers have also been installed at all Efoi pizzeria locations, xHub Addis at Medhanialem Mall and Mary Restaurant at Ayat. Many local companies like Safeway Supermarket are offering discounts on various items to help the refugees.

“The City administration had offered to take over the operation,” Elyab told The Reporter. “But we are still doing this until things settle down.”

It is to be remembered the clothes drives and monetary donations initiated on social media to support IDPs from Gedeo and Guji zones as recently as June and July.

Social media has become a key tool to gather information and mobilize resources in areas where there is low government intervention or organized community support.