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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update Situation Report, 9 July 2021

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Situation Report
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HIGHLIGHTS

  • Humanitarian access within most of Tigray is significantly improving, with large areas now accessible while the flow of humanitarian supplies into the region remains blocked.
  • Humanitarian partners gradually resumed operations including food distribution, water trucking, medical supplies and farming seeds.
  • Humanitarian operations are constrained by the absence of fuel, banking services, telecommunications and electricity.
  • Additional staff, supplies, and restoration of basic services are urgently needed for the continuity of humanitarian operations.
  • The Northern Ethiopia Humanitarian Response Plan is facing a significant funding gap of $433 million until the end of the year.

BACKGROUND

Disclaimer

This report is prepared by OCHA Ethiopia with the support of Cluster Coordinators. The data/information collected covers the period from 28 June - 5 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 15 July.

BACKGROUND

Situation Overview

Since the Tigray Defense Forces (TDF) took control of most parts of Tigray on 28 June, following the withdrawal of the Ethiopian Defense Forces from the capital, Mekelle, the security situation remains volatile and unpredictable. The overall situation in major towns, including Mekelle, Adigrat, Adwa, Axum, and Shire remains calm with no significant incidents reported.

Humanitarian access within the region is significantly improving, with large areas now accessible. The UN and partners have assessed access along main roads to several areas for full resumption of aid delivery. During the reporting period, road movement was cleared from Shire to Selekleka in North-Western Zone and Axum to Adwa. From Mekelle, the road was cleared to Abi Adi and Yechi’la in Central Zone, to Samre in South Eastern Zone, to Adigrat in Eastern Zone, and to Maychew in Southern Zone.

The road from Mekelle to Alamata, in Southern Zone, was also cleared but access beyond it has been denied by Amhara Security Forces (ASF), who are still in control of areas south of Korem toward Alamata and beyond. Parts of North Western Zone bordering Western Zone, northern part of Sheraro, and areas bordering Eritrea remain inaccessible.

Road access from Mekelle to Addis Ababa via Afar region for staff rotation was possible on 1, 4, and 6 July. A limited staff movement into Tigray was allowed. The Government of Ethiopia announced on 1 July the possibility of approving UN flights to transport staff.

The flow of humanitarian supplies into the region remains blocked. In the Western Zone, which is under the control of ASF, humanitarian access was denied from Amhara and from Western Zone into the neighboring North Western Zone. A 29-truck convoy with WFP food aid was denied entry and forced to return to the Amhara region on 29 June. Five UNICEF trucks with water, sanitation, hygiene, health, and nutrition supplies are waiting to enter South Eastern Zone since 1 July, pending approval from federal authorities. The logistics cluster had to re-route food trucks from Mai Tsebri in North-Western Zone to Abala in Afar.

Electricity and telecommunications remain cut off, and banking services are still not available. However, the electricity was partially restored in Mekelle and Shire on 5 July for few hours before it was cut off again. Commercial flights to and from Mekelle, halted on 23 June, have not resumed.

Meanwhile, humanitarian supplies within the region are quickly depleting, including a severe shortage of fuel. In Mekelle, 23 IDP sites reportedly did not have access to water on 4 July due to fuel shortage to operate water pumps. Lack of fuel is also affecting the transportation of humanitarian supplies inside the region. Fuel price in the illegal market has reportedly increased from 35 birr per liter two weeks ago to 100 birr this week. Several partners were not able to provide cash assistance due to a lack of cash.

On 1 July, two bridges over Tekeze river connecting Western Zone and North-Western Zone were destroyed and rendered inoperative. A third bridge in May Tsebri town connecting North-Western Zone and neighboring Amhara region was also damaged and rendered inoperative. The destruction and vandalization of vital infrastructure threaten the provision of humanitarian assistance to people in need and access of civilians to essential services, goods, and livelihoods.

The humanitarian situation remains dire, and the needs are enormous, including food, nutrition, and medical services. Additional staff and supplies are urgently needed in Tigray, together with restoration of electricity and telecommunications, cash, and fuel to fully resume the scale-up of humanitarian operations. There is also a need for unexploded ordnance clearance in areas that were impacted by heavy fighting.

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