Evacuation from Ethiopia during a time of conflict
When a state of emergency was declared in Tigray, Ethiopia, Healix received an assistance request from an NGO client, concerned about conflict affecting the capital and consequential risk to their employee who was based locally.
Unrest had been escalating in the Tigray region between the separatist militant group Tigray Peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) and the central government. As the TPLF indicated they would advance on Addis Ababa, authorities in the Ethiopian capital urged residents to prepare to defend neighbourhoods, and house-to-house searches were being conducted. Ethiopian airspace remained open however, demand for flights was high as other individuals tried to evacuate. There was a possibility of flights being cancelled in the coming days.
The authorities had implemented a curfew and checkpoints around Addis Ababa which created operational difficulties. There was also a partial internet shutdown, which created communication delays. Healix instructed the employee to stand fast in his secure accommodation and ensured he had enough food, water and medical supplies for the coming days in case the situation deteriorated further, while we began making plans for a ground move to the airport.
Healix dedicated a Global Threat Analyst to monitor the situation, with a focus on identifying the locations of ongoing unrest and security checkpoints, as well as closely monitoring developments at the airport. Within an hour of the request coming in, Healix began making preparations for the ground team to collect the employee and securely transfer them to the airport, as well as assisting with exit requirements. Healix secured a seat for the employee on a flight to South Africa.
Healix remained in constant communication with the employee throughout, in order to reassure
and update them, before briefing them on evacuation procedures. The client was also kept updated on the employee’s well-being and any security developments. In the early hours of the morning, the ground team conducted a reconnaissance of the route to the airport to ensure its viability, before successfully
transferring the employee there. The ground team remained at the airport until the employee cleared customs and the flight had taken off. The employee landed safely in Johannesburg where the NGO had made arrangements for them to be met by local colleagues.