Ethiopia

Ethiopia: Tigray Region Humanitarian Update - Situation Report No. 1 (7 November 2020)

Format
Situation Report
Source
Posted
Originally published

Attachments

This report is produced by OCHA Ethiopia and covers the period from 3 November to 6 November 2020. The next report will be issued in due course.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Tension between the federal Government and Tigray regional government has been escalating since the region held elections on 9 September despite the postponement of national elections due to the pandemic. This escalation eventually led to armed conflict in the early hours of 4 November 2020.

• Tigray region is home to approximately 600,000 people dependent on food relief assistance (more than 400,000 food insecure, 100,000 IDPs and nearly 100,000 refugees). In addition, 1 million people receive safety net assistance.

• The blockage of air and road access to the region, as well as the regional communication black-out is significantly affecting humanitarian operations.

• The disruption in the distribution of humanitarian supplies is contributing to the worsening of the humanitarian context, as it prevents timely and adequate assistance to vulnerable communities.

• We urge all warring parties, at all levels, to grant uninterrupted humanitarian access to affected population, as well as to existing humanitarian beneficiaries (food insecure, refugees, IDPs and migrants) and to all areas affected by the desert locust infestation.

• We ask donor partners and friends of Ethiopia for urgent mobilization of additional resources to address potential new needs as a result of the conflict, as well as existing needs captured in the Humanitarian Response Plan (https://bit.ly/2JEroEd). Despite rising humanitarian needs, the Ethiopia humanitarian appeal is only 49.4 per cent funded, including $187 million Government allocation.

SITUATION OVERVIEW

In the early hours of 4 November, the Ethiopian defense forces (EDF) and the security forces of the ruling Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) clashed near Mekelle airport. Military confrontation was also reported near Dansha in Western Tigray. An official statement by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on 4 November announced that the EDF were given orders to start military offensive against TPLF in Tigray. According to an official statement by the Prime Minister, “operations by federal defense forces underway in northern Ethiopia have clear, limited and achievable objectives — to restore the rule of law and the constitutional order, and to safeguard the rights of Ethiopians to lead a peaceful life wherever they are in the country.” The Prime Minister also called on the Ethiopian people “to follow the situation calmly, monitor possible localized flare ups, and to stand with the national army.”

Effective 6 November, a State of Emergency (SoE) for Tigray region was decreed by the Council of Ministers in accordance to article 93(1)(a) of the Ethiopian Constitution and approved unanimously by the Parliament. The SoE is for a period of six months and an SoE Task Force was established, led by the Chief of Staff of the armed forces and accountable to the Prime Minister. The Taskforce is given the mandate to: a) disarm any security forces in Tigray region and to maintain the peace and security of the civilian population; b) impose restrictions on modes of transportation; c) impose curfew; d) detain those suspect of taking part in illegal activities that endanger the constitutional order; e) use proportionate force to restore law and order; f) take measures necessary in furtherance of the objectives of the State of Emergency.

Roads within and to the region are cut, flights prohibited, and communication lines are shut down in the region. The Ethiopia Human Rights Commission and some opposition parties have called for ensuring the protection of civilians. The Government, including the defense forces, reassured the population that caution is being taken to ensure the safety of civilians. Large movements of security forces to the northern region have been reported.

Today, 7 November, Ethiopia’s House of Federation has voted to establish a transitional government in Tigray regional state.

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