Ethiopia

Ethiopia - Northern Ethiopia Humanitarian Update Situation Report, 27 May 2022

Attachments

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Large scale destruction of health, education, agriculture and shelter facilities, and water and sanitation systems observed during an assessment mission to Zone 2 in Afar.
  • Scale-up of nutrition services ongoing in Afar with opening of additional treatment centers for malnutrition, increased screening, and distribution of nutrition supplies.
  • Around 26,500 MT of food has been brought into Tigray by the main food partners through the eleven humanitarian convoys that have arrived between 01 April and 23 May.
  • According to regional authorities, an estimated 7,700 people newly displaced in Amhara along the border with Tigray.
  • In Amhara, more than 37,000 displaced people and returnees received emergency shelter and non-food items in North Wello, North Gondar, Wag Hamra and South Wello zones.

Situation Overview

The situation in northern Ethiopia remains generally calm but tense.Some areas in North-East Amhara remain hard-to-reach due to security concerns and with new displacements reported from bordering areas with Tigray to other parts in Amhara. In Afar, few internally displaced people (IDPs) have reportedly begun to return their places of origin.

On 20 May, 164 trucks with humanitarian supplies arrived Tigray via the Semera-Abala-Mekelle road.The convoy included five fuel tankers. On 23 May, 136 trucks arrived in Mekelle. In total, since the resumption of convoy movement on 1 April and following an interruption of more than three months, 875 trucks (over 32,800 MT of supplies including 25,220MT of food and 3,253MT of nutrition) have arrived in Mekelle througheleven humanitarian convoys. In parallel, approximately 23.5 MT of supplies have been airlifted to Mekelle during the reporting period that included agriculture inputs (2 MT), emergency shelter and non-food items (21.5 MT). Since 15 December 2021, partners have airlifted 735 MT to Tigray.

Fifteen fuel tankers (over 644,400 liters) entered Tigray since the resumption of convoy movement on 1 April. Partners estimate that 200,000 liters are required every week to carry out the humanitarian operations in the region. The amount that has entered the region is insufficient to cover the needs. Partners are not able to fully mobilize humanitarian supplies arriving in the region to intended destinations, while field missions remain largely impacted due to lack of fuel.

Fuel is urgently needed to support the provision of critical services such as health facilities. Ayder hospital in Mekelle, the biggest referral hospital in the region, serving more than 300,000 patients is reportedly at risk of closure due to lack of fuel. The hospital has reportedly grounded 70 per cent of their vehicles while the remaining operating 30 per cent requires 1,300 liters of fuel a week for medical transport and to run the ambulances and emergency services.

In Amhara, the regional government authorities continued with the relocation of internally displaced people (IDPs) from Kobo to Jara site in North Wello Zone. Since 14 March, nearly 23,000 people have been relocated out of an estimated 58,000 registered IDPs planned for this relocation. Multi-sectoral response is ongoing at the new site but is still not adequate. Serious food shortage was reported and some IDPs have reportedly left in search of food in the nearby towns.Key priorities for this response remain food, shelter, water, and basic health services.

Also in Amhara, and according to the regional authorities, about 7,700 people were newly displaced this week from North Wello, Wag Hamra and North Shewa zones and are reportedly arriving in Sekota town in Wag Hamra Zone. The new IDPs are arriving from hard-to-reach areas along the border with Tigray. This new influx of IDPs exacerbates the already dire humanitarian situation in Wag Hamra where there are reportedly more than 88,000 IDPs, including close to 12,000 in Sekota, according to the regional authorities’ figures.

Fuel availability is also a concern in this area, as humanitarian partners are required to seek a letter from the department of trade and industry before fueling their vehicles in Sekota, Lalibela and Gashena, , impacting the humanitarian operations in the region.

Communities in Amhara continue to be at risk of falling victims of explosive remnants of war (ERWs) and unexploded ordnances (UXOs). On 17 May, a father and his three children were reportedly killed and at least two women and three children also sustained serious injuries in an explosion in Kebele 3, Bati town in Oromo Special Zone. Reports indicate the blast occurred when an abandoned UXO exploded. On 18 May, presence of a UXO was reported near Gashena town. UN Mine Action teams are currently conducting explosive ordnance risk education in the region.

In Afar, an assessment mission was carried out in Abala, Berahle, Dalol and Kunneba towns in Zone 2 between 13 and 14 May to assess the feasibility of return for IDPs, and to conduct a rapid assessment of the damage. The team observed large scale looting and destruction of public services and infrastructure including health, education, agriculture, shelter facilities and water and sanitation system. Private properties, including houses, in the towns visited have also incurred significant damage. This has greatly affected people’s livelihood of people and market functioning. Further, basic services such as electricity, water, telecommunications, and banking are not operational. It is critical to have these basic services restored to support a safe and dignified return process and restore life back in these woredas.

In Abala, Berhale, Erebti and Kunneba towns, health facilities, including Abala hospital and Target hospital in Kunneba, were destroyed with all equipment, generators and all solar panels looted or damaged. Some buildings have been destroyed by the conflict but most of the houses’ structures are still intact though the insides and windows are damaged.

In Berhale, community members who have returned bought food from other areas. During the visit, one national non-governmental organization was distributing household items kits to 100 households. All houses and private properties in Berahle have been damaged.

In Dalol town, police structures were reinstated. The health facilities were not damaged, but stocks of supplies are low. Water supply has been cut due to lack of electricity. Most housing structures were untouched, and no damage was observed. Schools are functioning and have not been damaged. The community members in Dalol, Erbeti and Kunneba said their cattle had been looted or killed during the conflict resulting in a loss of livelihood for many people.

Meanwhile, Handag IDP site in Afdera has been closed as the IDPs returned to their places of origin in Erebti woreda supported by the regional authorities.

Disclaimer

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.