Ethiopia + 1 more

Ethiopia - Northern Ethiopia Humanitarian Update Situation Report, 18 Nov 2021



  • About 8 million people in northern Ethiopia are targeted to receive humanitarian assistance until the end of the year. In Amhara, tens of thousands of people are reportedly displaced from South Wello, North Wello & Wag Hemra zones to Debre Berhan City in North Shewa Zone because of active fighting
  • More than 16,000 displaced people were evicted from primary schools in Tigray since beginning of November.
  • No humanitarian supplies, including cash, have arrived in Tigray for almost a month. Fuel has not arrived since beginning of August.
  • Humanitarian partners in Afar and Amhara are scaling up the response in accessible areas, assisting more than 150,000 people with food in both regions during the reporting period.


Situation Overview

The situation in northern Ethiopia continues to be volatile and highly unpredictable, with humanitarian operations heavily constrained due to insecurity, bureaucratic impediments, and other factors, hindering the delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance. In Amhara Region, tens of thousands of people are reportedly displaced from South Wello, North Wello and Wag Hemra zones to Debre Berhan, Mertule Maryam and to different towns in North Shewa Zone because of active fighting. Many of these IDPs have been displaced multiple times during the conflict. The majority of the IDPs are staying with host communities, while several thousand have taken shelter in six schools. Several thousand people have reportedly returned from South Wello Zone to their homes in Dehana and Sahla Woredas in Wag Hemra Zone.

In Afar Region, the ongoing fighting in Chifra Woreda in Zone 1 and Woldiya Woreda in North Wello Zone in Amhara, has also displaced tens of thousands of people to bordering areas. While humanitarian organizations have access to some IDPs in Chifra and Berahle Woredas, there is no access to over 6,000 IDPs in Megale Woreda due to insecurity. Movement for humanitarian workers and cargo to zones 1 and 2 in Afar is also restricted. Some 315 new IDP households have been identified and registered in Maichew, Korem, Ofla Woredas in Tigray arriving from Afar and Amhara regions. More than 600 people (107 households) were also displaced from Western Zone in Tigray (Wolkayit) to Mai Tsebri Town during the reporting period.

Food partners will assist additional people with emergency food in Amhara, where more than five million people are estimated to need food assistance. The Joint Emergency Operation Programme (JEOP) is planning to assist 2.6 million people in North Wollo, Wag Hemra, West Gojam and South Gonder zones and WFP is targeting 650,000 people in North Gonder Zone. WFP will also support an additional 182,000 IDPs and host community in North Gonder Zone.

Meanwhile, no UN-organized humanitarian supplies have arrived in Tigray Region through the Semera-Abala-Mekelle route since 18 October. Currently, more than 300 trucks are positioned in Semera, pending authorization from the authorities to proceed with dialogue ongoing to unblock challenges. As of 15 November, there are less than 10,000 metric tons of food stocks in Tigray.

Fuel needed for the humanitarian response has not entered Tigray since early August. Lack of access for medicines and medical supplies hasresulted in that the second round of the cholera vaccination campaign and the integrated measles and polio campaigns have been suspended until vaccines, cash and fuel are available.

The nutrition situation in Tigray Region remains precarious with the number of children with severe acute malnutrition still high and the level of acute malnutrition among pregnant and nursing mothers at above 60 per cent for the last few months. According to data collected by nutrition partners from Keyih Tekli, Grealta and Neksege Woredas, the prevalence of global acute malnutrition (GAM) among children under 5 years isbetween 10-15 per cent, which is a serious emergency. The prevalence among pregnant and nursing women is between 55-72 per cent.

Similarly, malnutrition screening conducted in 38 woredas in Afar in mid-October revealed an alarming GAM rate of nearly 28 per cent and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) rate of 2.5 per cent. The closure of Dessie and Kombolcha markets in Amhara, major suppliers for the Afar region, is affecting the food security and livelihoods of an estimated 800,000 people in Hari in Zone 3, Kilbati in Zone 2, and Tigray-Afar bordering areas. The situation is exacerbated by high price inflation, limited market access, absence of transportation, road blockade, communication blackout, and lack of banking and money transfer system in the affected areas.

In preparation for the reopening of primary schools in Tigray, eviction of IDPs from schools continue to take place. More than 16,000 people were evicted by zonal authorities in the last two weeks from 12 IDP sites in Adigrat, Edagahamous and Abi Adi to secondary schools. Unverified number of IDPs have also been evicted from sites in Adwa, Axum, Wukro. According to an assessment mission to the new relocation sites in Adigrat on 10 November, IDPs lack access to basic services, food, and water. Humanitarian partners are discussing with authorities on the development of a formal site for the relocation, as any evictions must ensure voluntariness, informed consent, and movement with dignity and safety to locations with adequate shelter and basic services.

Meanwhile, 39 primary schools in North-Western Zone and 18 in Central Zone in Tigray resumed teaching activities. In Southern Zone and Mekelle, more than 67,000 primary school children are back to school, including about 32,500 girls, while 56 internally displaced children in Sabacare 4 IDP in Mekelle started classes in the site.


UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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