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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update Situation Report, 19 July 2021

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Situation Report
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Over eight months on since the start of the conflict in Tigray, the humanitarian situation remains alarmingly dire and could further deteriorate if immediate action is not taken.

  • Inside the region, humanitarians can now access previously hard-to-reach area, with 75 per cent of the population now in zones where relief operations can take place.

  • In addition, a humanitarian convoy arrived on 12 July in Tigray’s capital Mekelle, the first to reach the region in more than two weeks.

  • However, supplies & personnel fall short of the immense needs of people in Tigray. Stocks are depleting fast, as road access to the region has been curtailed over the last weeks.

  • Increased humanitarian funding and unfettered access to the region is urgently needed to prevent loss of life in Tigray

BACKGROUND

Disclaimer

This report is prepared by OCHA Ethiopia with the support of Cluster Coordinators. The data/information collected covers the period from 6 to 15 July. The dashboard data below is as of 22 June. In some cases, access and communication constraints mean that updates for the period are delayed. The next issue of the sitrep will be published on 23 July.

Situation Overview

More than eight months on since the start of the conflict in Tigray Region, the humanitarian situation remains alarmingly dire and is expected to deteriorate further, as aid organizations continue to report major challenges to deliver assistance to people affected by the fighting and insecurity.

Despite recent improvements in access within Tigray since end-June, movements in and out of the region has been extremely challenging, impacting humanitarian’s capacity to replenish stocks and mobilize personnel to sustain aid operations. Inside Tigray, aid workers are now able to access areas previously hard-to-reach, with an estimated 75 per cent of people in need of assistance (4 million out of 5.2 million people in need) now in zones where humanitarian operations can take place, compared to 30 per cent in May. However, stocks are rapidly depleting inside Tigray, as road access to the region has been curtailed over the last weeks. Road access to Tigray is now only possible through Semera, in Afar Region, via Abala, with heavy control by regional and federal authorities. The UN Humanitarian Air Service received, on 5 July, approval from the Government of Ethiopia to recommence flights to Tigray, and final arrangements and operational details are now being worked out to resume the service.

Meanwhile, violence and clashes reportedly broke out around 12 July south of Mai Tsebri, increasing concerns about the security of refugees and humanitarian workers in Mai Aini and Adi Harush camps. Across the rest of the region, the security situation remains calm but unpredictable, as declarations from all parties to the conflict indicates that the conflict could escalate again, especially in the western part of the region. In recent weeks, there have been increasing reports of ethnic violence against Tigrayans in different parts of the country, including arbitrary detentions and forced closure of business of individuals suspected to be aligned with the Tigrayan forces, particularly in Addis Ababa.
Similarly, in Tigray Region, there have been reports of attacks on individuals suspected to have supported the Ethiopian National Defence Forces and the Eritrean Defence Forces. On 16 July, the Government’s Ethiopian Human Rights Commission publicly stated that it is “alarmed by reports of arbitrary detentions, attacks on civilians and refugees, inhumane treatment of detainees and captured combatants, and the use of child soldiers in Tigray.”

In addition to limited humanitarian assistance, access to basic needs—including health care and water and sanitation—remains severely constrained. Lack of banking system and cash, scarcity of fuel, and limited access to commodities, are affecting the ability of the population to cope. Many rural areas still have no electricity and/or communications. Families remain unable to contact missing or separated loved ones due to the communications blackout in large parts of the region, while services and/or supplies that are reliant on electricity are no longer functioning.

The ongoing agricultural season (June to September) offers an opportunity to contain the increasing hunger and malnutrition affecting millions of people in the region. However, without funding and sustainable access for aid agencies, the tight window of opportunity for farmers to get a crop in the ground and reboot local food production during this Kiremt/summer rainy season could be lost.

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