Ethiopia - Flash update on the situation in South Wello Zone, Amhara Region, 1 Nov 2021


Flash update on the situation in South Wello Zone, Amhara Region


  • Fighting reportedly results in large-scale displacement from and around Dessie and Kombolcha.
  • Food, emergency shelter, drinking water, medicines and health services are urgently needed.
  • The delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance to people in need is hampered by insecurity.
  • Electricity and telecommunications were reportedly cut in Dessie and Kombolcha since 30 October.
  • Humanitarian partners continue to deliver and dispatch relief supplies to South Wello Zone and maintain limited presence in Dessie Town.

Situation overview

Ongoing fighting and hostilities in and around Dessie and Kombolcha in Amhara is understood in having resulted in large scale displacement and increasing humanitarian needs. As of 30 October, fighting was reported in Dessie. Fighting was also reported in nearby Komobolcha, 20 kilometers southeast the zonal capital.

Large scale displacement of people from Dessie and Kombolcha, which was already hosting a large number of IDPs having arrived from nearby Habru and Kutaber Woredas, have been reported. The vast majority of displaced people are understood to living with the host community while the remaining are living in crowded collective centers, including schools.

The delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance has been hampered by ongoing insecurity as well as the limited presence of humanitarian partners. Electricity and telecommunications have reportedly been cut in Dessie and Kombolcha since 30 October and commercial flights to Kombolcha have been suspended since mid-October.

IDPs living in the congested collective centers and the host communities are in need of food, safe and clean drinking water, health services, and hygiene and dignity kits, according to regional authorities. Vulnerable groups, including people with special needs, the elderly, children, and pregnant and lactating women, are particularly vulnerable.

Humanitarian preparedness and response The Joint Emergency Operation Programme (JEOP) has received approvals to provide food assistance to 500,000 IDPs in Dessie and Kombolcha, and there are adequate food stocks to provide a full basket. WFP will provide support with delivery of commodities to food distribution points.

In addition, WASH partners distributed WASH supplies to IDPs in Dessie last week, including more than 3,000 plastic buckets, 30,000 sanitary pads, 74,000 laundry soap, and 13 plastic water tanks with capacity of 10,000 liters each.

In September, the Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund allocated US$ 7.1 million for response in Amhara region to address the needs of people affected by the Tigray crisis, including in Dessie.

Constraints related to access and limited humanitarian presence need to be addressed in order to scale up the response in the days and weeks ahead.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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