Despite some improvements in delivering humanitarian aid to communities in Afar and Tigray regions, overall humanitarian access in northern Ethiopia remains challenging. Various hindrances and restrictions, including fluid conflict dynamics, continue to impact relief operations in Tigray, Afar, and Amhara. Armed hostilities continued in Kilbati/Zone 2 of Afar and near the border with Eritrea during March, while tensions remained in bordering areas of Amhara region. On 24 March, the Government of Ethiopia declared an “indefinite” humanitarian truce to allow aid convoys to reach Tigray, which was reciprocated by stakeholders in Tigray. On 1 and 2 April, the first aid convoys entered Tigray by land since December 2021, transporting 670 MT of food and nutrition supplies. The convoy included one fuel tanker, the first since August 2021. Notwithstanding, relief operations in Tigray remain severely impacted due to the depletion of relief supplies, lack of fuel, and limited cash. Lack of food has led to increasing malnutrition rates across the region, with an estimated 1.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) receiving limited humanitarian assistance and services for months.
In Erob woreda, Eastern zone of Tigray, reports indicate over 33,000 people (65 per cent of the woreda population) are facing extreme food insecurity and have received limited assistance. In March, reportedly over 87,000 people were displaced within Eastern zone due to insecurity and limited assistance. Hostilities in Shire area, North Western zone led to civilian injuries and reports of damages to the premises of one aid partner. Meanwhile, armed hostilities continued in various hotspots along the border with Eritrea. Additionally, clashes were reported along the border with Sudan in Bereket, close to the Hamdayet border crossing, and near May Kadra and Humera areas, forcing humanitarian staff to temporarily relocate to safer areas. Access to Kafta Humera, Korarit, May Gaba, Welkait, and surrounding areas remains insecure, and many vulnerable people have not received assistance for months and are believed to be in dire need of humanitarian aid and protection services.
In Afar, hostilities in Kilbati/Zone 2 continued at the beginning of March, leading to additional displacements and loss of livelihoods. No clashes have been reported since the announcement of the humanitarian truce on 24 March. In general, the access situation across the region has improved. This has allowed partners to deliver aid to displaced people in some areas of Kilbati/Zone 2 and Fanti/Zone 4. IDPs continue to flee conflict-affected areas with reports that some IDPs still remain in hard-to-reach areas in remote areas. Due to ongoing tensions in the region, several security incidents directed against humanitarian partners have been reported. Nevertheless, humanitarian actors continue to scale up their response throughout Afar, reaching over 220,000 people in Kilbati/Zone 2 and Fanti/Zone 4. Civilians remain at risk of injury due to the presence of unexploded ordnances (UXOs) and explosive remnants of war (ERWs). In March, four deaths and 18 injuries (the majority of which were children) were reported in Awsi/Zone 1 and Ewa woreda, Fanti/Zone 4.
Access in Amhara continued to improve, with partners able to move throughout most of the region. Access remained challenging in certain bordering areas with Tigray, notably in parts of North Gondar, Wag Hamra, and North Wollo zones. According to the Regional Government, there are over 61,000 IDPs in Wag Hamra zone and over 57,000 IDPs in North Wollo zone newly arrived since January 2022. In addition, over 51,000 people were newly displaced from Oromia region to North Shewa zone (Amhara) due to ongoing inter-communal tensions. Partners continue to face challenges in scaling up their responses to the large number of IDPs (over 462,000) and IDP returnees (over 1.4 million) in need of assistance. Nevertheless, partners continue to support IDPs and people in need across the region, targeting over 11.6 million people for food support. Partners have also been providing multi-sectoral responses for relocated IDPs, those moved to Weleh site in Wag Hamra and Jara site in North Wello. Several UXO/ERW incidents in North Shewa amongst civilians have increased awareness for the need of comprehensive programs to ensure civilian/IDP safety in areas affected by the conflict.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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