Ethiopia + 1 more

Ethiopia: Northern Ethiopia Access Snapshot (February 2022)

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Humanitarian access in northern Ethiopia remained highly challenging hindering the humanitarian response, and with civilians bearing the brunt of violence. In Afar region, thousands continue to be displaced by hostilities in Zone 2, while access to Zone 4 improved allowing many IDPs to return. The humanitarian situation in Tigray is at critical levels with no relief aid reaching the region by land since mid-December 2021. Access in Amhara region improved, except for a few hotspots in boundary areas with Tigray where sporadic hostilities continued, creating new forced displacements. Assistance to hundreds of thousands of IDPs and returnees is compromised by a limited humanitarian response and with only a few partners operational in these areas.

Since mid-2021, humanitarian access to Tigray has been heavily constrained by armed clashes in boundary areas with Eritrea, Amhara and Afar regions plus long-standing administrative impediments. Despite the airlifting of medical and nutrition supplies since January, access to health remains minimal, particularly in rural areas where lack of fuel has impacted the distribution of medicines. Lack of fuel and commercial supply has prompted a sharp increase of commodity prices (flour and beans by 414 per cent and 620 per cent). Household food consumption has reportedly drastically decreased, prompting an increase in malnutrition rates among children and pregnant and lactating women. Further, the limited availability of fuel has constrained the humanitarian response to critical levels. Market fuel and diesel prices increased exponentially due to extremely limited availability. Partners are using animals to transport supplies and walk long distances to deliver nutrition services. Relief stocks are depleted, and lack of fuel has forced partners to halt or significantly reduce operations, leaving millions unassisted.

In Afar, in February, heavy fighting continued in Abala, Dalol, Konneba and Berahle,
Megale and Afdera woredas, displacing hundreds of thousands. In Afdera, thousands of IDPs sheltered in various sites, without any water and sanitation facilities or access to services. Thousands of people are reported to be trapped within conflict areas, without any assistance as access is not possible due to insecurity.

Eastern Amhara is among the most heavily affected areas due to the spillover of armed clashes from Tigray in 2021. In North and South Wollo zones, partners scaled-up the response to assist hundreds of thousands of IDP returnees. Access to some kebeles bordering southern Tigray in Raya Alamata woreda, especially in Raya Kobo, remained limited due to sporadic clashes. Partners noted population movements from southern Tigray to North Wollo.

Elsewhere in Amhara, the end of fighting in December has allowed partners to expand operations. Most of Wag Hamra became accessible, including Lalibela and Sekota towns, while Abergele and Tsagbeji woredas remain hard to reach. In North Gondar, sporadic hostilities were reported in Addi Arkay woreda. Partners have been unable to mobilize any aid through Gondar – May Tsebri – Shire since June 2021.

The situation in Western Tigray remained worrying from a protection perspective, with very few partners operational. Dozens of health facilities were reportedly damaged during the conflict and there remains very limited capacity to resume essential services. In February, clashes – including airstrikes – were reported in North Western Tigray’s Asgede, Tahtay Adiyabo and Adi Hageray woredas and in Shire and Endabaguna towns.

In February, the National State of Emergency was lifted by Authorities, and the remaining UN and INGO personnel arrested in Addis Ababa were released without charges. The number of incidents reported by partners related to intimidation and harassment of aid workers in northern Ethiopia decreased significantly.

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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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