Ethiopia - Northern Ethiopia Humanitarian Update Situation Report, 6 January 2022

Situation Report
Originally published


OCHA Ethiopia prepares this report with the support of Cluster Coordinators. The data/information collected covers the period from 28 December to 3 January 2022. In some cases, access and communication constraints mean that updates for the period are delayed and cannot be reflected. The next issue of the sitrep will be published on 13 January 2022.


  • In Amhara, 30 hospitals, 280 health centres and 890 health posts have resumed provision of basic health services.

  • Food Cluster partners voiced concern over the risk of spoilage and infestation of humanitarian food stocks in Semera, Afar Region, due to the harsh weather conditions and the urgent need to bring in fumigants (currently unavailable in the region) to treat stored stock.

  • As of 3 January, food partners have around only 10000L of fuel left in Tigray. At least 60000L of fuel are needed to dispatch around 4000 MT of food currently available in Mekelle.

  • A measles campaign started on 1 January in Mekelle, targeting 1.7 million children under five years of age.


Situation Overview

Ongoing fighting was reported in Alamata and Korem areas in southern Tigray during the reporting week. Tension has also risen along the borders with Zalanbesa, Gulomekeda and Erob areas in northern Tigray. In Afar Region, the security situation is calm with no new fighting reported in Abala Town during the week, but tension remains, especially in border areas in Abala, Gulina and Yalo. Humanitarian partners’ movement to Abala Town is still restricted. In Afar, access has improved and findings and recommendations from the UNDSS security assessment mission conducted from 28 to 30 December to Euwa, Gulia and Yalo in Zone 4, will inform changes in travel restrictions and support scale-up of activities. A similar assessment is planned in Telalak, Hadelala and Shewa Robit in Zone 5, Afar Region in the coming days as well. In Amhara, the overall security situation has improved significantly, and most areas have become accessible for humanitarian partners. The security situation however continued to be tense and unpredictable during the week with ongoing clashes reported in North Gondar, Wag Hemra, and North Wollo. Areas close to the conflict-affected areas are still not accessible to partners, including Adi Arekay in North Gondar, part of Wag Hamra and North Wello leaving people without life-saving assistance. Few areas have however become accessible during the reporting week, including Wuchale,Weldiya, Mersa and Kobo in North Wello.

On 28 December, UNHCR has publicly announced the death of one staff member in northern Ethiopia and issued the following statement: With this death, 24 aid workers have lost their lives since the conflict in Northern Ethiopia started in November 2020.

Overall, the situation of IDPs in all three regions in Northern Ethiopia remains dire and requires further scaling-up of multisector assistance. New displacements also continued to be reported during the reporting timeframe, including from Afar,
Amhara and the Western Zone of Tigray. In Tigray Region, new IDPs have continued to flow from Western Zone of the region as well as from Afar and Amhara. There are over 5,521 (1,363 households) new IDPs from Abala currently living in five collective centers on the outskirts of Mekelle. The IDPs have not received support since they arrived, and most are living in overcrowded schools and open spaces. Only one partner has supplied core relief items, blanket and plastic mat, solar lamp and jerrycans to some 130 IDPs. In Afar Region, 4,000 IDPs who recently arrived from Abala Woreda to Semera Town, Awsi/Zone 1 due to fighting in Abala Woreda on 23 and 24 December still require urgent additional assistance as well as for other IDPs sheltered in sites and in host families. These new IDPs are currently residing in two public buildings, in open spaces with no shelter and no beddings. On 27 December, the regional Disaster Prevention and Food Security Programme Coordination Office (DPFSPCO) invited humanitarian partners to visit the sites and requested immediate support.

IDPs returns are ongoing in all three regions. As of 31 December, 9,033 IDPs/1,977 households in Tigray have expressed their interest to return, according to a humanitarian partner. The vast majority of these IDPs have registered to return to areas within Tigray Region. Meanwhile in Amhara Region, a high number of IDPs have returned in the last three weeks, but the exact figure still needs to be confirmed. There are significant needs in the areas of return, including food and shelter repair support and basic infrastructure repairs. Most IDPs left without much household items, which will need to be replaced. WASH facilities need repair and/or desludging. Mental health and psychosocial support needs are very high and medical and nutritional supplies are severely lacking.

Damages/destructions of public infrastructures due to conflict across Afar, Amhara and Tigray have significantly impacted the population’s access to basic services, including health, water, education. More specifically, the impact of the conflict on schooling has deprived millions of children of education for over a year in some areas. In Amhara Region for example, 4,107 schools (3,823 primary and 284 secondary schools), accounting for 42 per cent of the schools in the region, are reportedly totally/partially damaged and looted according to an initial assessment by the Regional Education Bureau. More than 1.9 million children, 116,939 teachers, 9,583 school leaders and 1,941 Zonal and Woreda Education personnel are directly affected as a result. An estimated US$424.5 million is required for the restoration of damaged schools and other Education in Emergencies (EIE) activities in Amhara alone. Similarly in Tigray, more than 1,000 schools were damaged or looted and need renovation or clearance from explosive ordinance; while in Afar, 203 schools were damaged (32 per cent completely damaged), affecting more than 150,000 students.

Looking at the impact of the conflict on the health system, at least 40 hospitals, 453 health centers and 1,850 health posts have been damaged and/or looted in Amhara Region. Similarly, essential health service provision has continued to decline rapidly in Tigray Region. In a letter sent to all partners on 30 December, Ayder Referral Hospital, which is the major hospital that was functional in Tigray, called on urgent support to avert further suffering and loss of life. The letter underlines the lack of basic medicine and medical supplies, and notes that the hospital has now resorted to the usage of expired medicine and recycling of medical gloves to continue to treat patients. Hospital staff have not been paid for the past seven months. In Afar Region, 91 health facilities (1 hospital, 23 health centers and 67 health posts) have been looted and damaged in Zone 1, 4 and 5 as of 16 December.

Power and telecommunication cuts continue to affect the conflict-affected population as well as humanitarian operations in Northern Ethiopia. Some improvements were however seen during the reporting with mobile data restored in Bahir Dar and Debre Berhan.

According to the Tigray authorities, food security is expected to worsen next year given the likelihood of up to 50 per cent reduction in harvest during the next harvest season due to lack of fertilizers. Fertilizers for farmers is usually delivered this time of year for farmers to start planting their crop. Last year about 570,000 quintals of fertilizer were distributed. This year the need is estimated to be about 600,000 quintals, but no fertilizer is available in Tigray so far.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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