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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update Situation Report, 15 January 2021

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Situation Report
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • The security situation in Tigray Region remains dire with reports of sporadic fighting and population movement in search of safety, particularly in rural areas.

  • In addition to hampered physical access into many parts of Tigray, mobile network and access to internet remain cut-off except in some areas in the south and west of the region.

  • The humanitarian situation is severe as people have now lived through nearly two and half months of conflict without adequate access to food, water and health services.

  • Deeply dependent on imports of goods, Tigray has been cut-off from trading since November. This, coupled with the impact of insecurity on the harvest, left many at risk of hunger.

  • Despite the challenging security environment and bureaucratic obstacles, humamitarians continue to deliver limited assistance in areas where access has been granted by authorities.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

The security situation in Tigray Region remains dire, with reports of sporadic fighting and population movement in search of safety, particularly in rural areas.
There are reports of civilian casualties, including six aid workers. While access from Mai-tsebri to Shire is now possible, ongoing hostilities dictate that humanitarian partners put in place extreme safety and security measures ahead of any field missions.

In addition to hampered physical access into many parts of Tigray, mobile network communications and access to internet remain cut-off, except in some areas in southern and western parts of the region. Access to areas in Afar and Amhara regions where internally displaced people from Tigray have settled is also increasingly challenging due to military activities in the areas.

The access constraints continue to challenge the speedy scale-up of humanitarian assistance and prevent the population from accessing the necessary life-saving information and support.

Overall, the humanitarian situation of the population is dire after nearly two and half months of fighting. With supply routes cut-off and the harvest season impacted by the conflict, reports indicate that food is not available or is extremely limited in markets, posing increased risks of malnutrition. Pre-crisis malnutrition in Tigray was already on the rise due to COVID-19 and desert locust infestation, with a 34 per cent increase registered in admissions of severely malnourished children between January and August 2020, compared to the same time in 2019.

Access to repair water and sanitation systems, as well as provision of fuel and spare parts are needed to ensure the restoration of services and prevent the spread of water-borne diseases and epidemics, including COVID-19. In addition to food, water, sanitation and hygiene, protection, health (including pshychosocial support), safety and security remain some of the priority concerns, as well as access to public services.

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