Letha’s journey from the conflict-torn Tigray region in Ethiopia to safety in Sudan is a poignant tale of resilience and hope amidst despair. Seven months pregnant and forced to leave behind parts of her family as fighting erupted in November 2020, Letha made the harrowing decision to flee with her two youngest children, Ermyas and Mahelet. Her story underscores the devastating impact of conflict on families, often separating loved ones and leaving them in uncertainty and fear for each other’s safety.

Upon reaching Sudan, Letha and her children found refuge in a reception center where they received crucial assistance from UNHCR, including food and shelter. Despite the birth of her healthy baby boy, Letha’s heart remained heavy with the absence of her husband, son, and daughter. The conflict had dispersed her family across different parts of Tigray, leaving her in agonizing uncertainty about their whereabouts and well-being.

The silence from her family members was a relentless burden, but Letha’s resolve never wavered. She utilized the Restoring Family Links antenna service set up by UNHCR partners, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS), to try and reconnect with her missing loved ones. This service, offering free phone calls and letter writing, along with the tracing requests and active searches conducted by ICRC and SRCS, embodies the critical humanitarian efforts to reunite families torn apart by conflict.

Eymaret, Letha’s daughter, exemplifies the extraordinary courage and determination of those caught in such crises. Despite the odds, she managed to cross the Tekeze River and journey on foot to safety, eventually being reunited with her mother and new sibling, thanks to the collaborative efforts of UNHCR, UNICEF, and the Sudanese State Council for Child Welfare (SCCW).

Letha’s reunion with Eymaret, while a moment of profound joy and relief, is tempered by the ongoing absence of her husband and son. The search for them continues, highlighting the ongoing challenges and dangers faced by those trying to navigate conflict zones, especially for men.