This Emergency Appeal reflects the Federation-wide funding requirement of 27 million Swiss Francs, which comprises all Federation-wide support and funding to be channelled to the Ethiopian Red Cross Society, Dji-bouti Red Crescent Society, and Sudanese Red Crescent Society to deliver humanitarian assistance to and support early recovery of some 660,000 people (displaced and host communities) in Ethiopia (355,000 people), Sudan (300,000 people), and in Djibouti (5,000 people) affected by multiple disasters and compounding humanitarian vulnerabilities intensified by the Tigray crisis for a period of 18 months. The opera-tion will focus on the following areas: Shelter and Essential Household Items (EHI), Livelihood & Basic Needs, Health & Psychosocial Support (PSS), Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Protection, Gender & Inclusion (PGI), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), and Migration & Displacement. Funding requirements channelled through the IFRC Secretariat represent 9.4 million Swiss Francs: CHF 3 million to Ethiopia, CHF 4.4 million to Sudan, CHF 0.5 million to Djibouti, and CHF 1.5 million for the Regional Coordination component
For this response, the IFRC Secretariat established a Federation-wide multi country coordination cell to support National Societies from the affected countries to develop domestic response plans and funding requirements with the expertise of the Federation-wide membership support. The IFRC Secretariat will complement with Coordination, National Society Development (NSD) in emergencies, technical and support services management, including information management to all members, and coordinating with ongoing National Society preparedness for response capacity, and creating conditions for coordinated risk management. This multi-country coordination cell will ensure seamless coordination, cooperation, timely communication and maximize resources between countries. As of the launch of this Emergency Appeal, in addition to the initial DREFs, support to the responses have been through bilateral channels from PNSs partner National Societies in country. A Federation-wide footprint will be ensured to reflect the reporting on all the support provided through this Emergency Appeal and by all National Societies.
A. Situation analysis
Description of the crisis
Humanitarian needs remain severe, and indicators show a deteriorating trend, in western and northern Ethiopia. While the situation has evolved somewhat since November 2020, sporadic clashes continue to pose major obstacles towards the provision of life-saving interventions by humanitarian actors. The armed violence has uprooted hundreds of thousands of people across Tigray, leaving people in urgent need of emergency shelter and basic household items.
There are with an estimated 12.9 million people facing acute levels of food insecurity and requiring emergency food (Integrated Food Security Phase Classification 3 (IPC) Jan 2021).
In Amhara, Beninshangul-Gumuz, SNNPR, Oromia, Gambella and Afar - areas neighbouring and outside of Tigray -, besides dealing with displacement from Tigray, the scale and scope of needs is equally bad and may worsen. Climate shocks, devastating desert locust infestation, the continued economic impact of COVID-19, below-average rainfall projected for 2021 particularly in the south and south-eastern parts of the country threatens to exacerbate food insecurity and other humanitarian needs, while also increasing the risk for violence as communities compete for even more limited water resources.
It is estimated that February–to–May rains will likely reduce crop production and livestock productivity across much of eastern Amhara, central/eastern Oromiya, and southern Tigray regions, further exacerbating food insecurity among vulnerable households in the coming months up to July.
Further, the resulting displacement and population movement has had considerable cross-border impact – nearly 62,000 people have crossed the borders since the beginning of the Tigray crisis. The Government of Ethiopia, at the urging of the international community, has stepped up its efforts to improve the situation in the affected areas, though much more remains to be done.
Since early November, military confrontations between the federal and regional forces in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, which border both Sudan and Eritrea, have led to more civilians fleeing the region seeking safety in neighbouring Sudan. Prior to the Ethiopian emergency, East Sudan received 4,000 new arrivals this year, mostly from Eritrea. The significant and rapid pace of the refugee influx requires UNHCR and its operational partners to continuously mobilise resources and ramp up services to respond to the urgent needs of refugees, as well as to support and capacitate the Government of Sudan (GoS) in its response to the growing demand in humanitarian assistance. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Sudan’s Government Commissioner for Refugees (COR) are registering new arrivals from Ethiopia crossing the border into Sudan, increasing the total number of arrivals to 68,470 as of 28th February. COR, who is responsible for the preliminary registration at the transit centres, continues registering new arrivals at the household level, while UNHCR is registering new arrivals in Um Raquba using its electronic registration and case management system (ProGres v4 reception module) at individual level.
In Sudan, refugees fleeing the crisis have settled mostly in Kassala and Gedaref States which are already overwhelmed hosting over 900,000 refugees and migrants before the start of the Tigray crisis. A total number of 1,004 people have arrived through the border point in the Blue Nile State. With the recent sudden unplanned influx of refugees from Ethiopia, the transit centres have exceeded their capacity. Gaps remain across all sectors, including access to clean drinking water, latrines, hand washing stations, and bathing units as well as shelter and basic health care and protection services. Relocation from transit centres to permanent settlements have been slow, with 26,809 people remaining at the transit centres as of February 19. Therefore, relocation remains urgent. A total of 41,661 people have been relocated to the 2 permanent settlements in Gedaref State (Um Rakoba and Tunaidba), with 20,572 people in Um Rakuba and 21 089 people in Tunaidba. The Sudanese government, together with UNHCR increased capacity of both camps to host 20,000 refugees in each camp. Discussions are on-going on further expansion in these 2 camps or opening of an additional location now that Um Rakuba and Tunaidba have both reached close to the final capacity of 20,000 people.
To accommodate refugees, a significant number of trees in the area were cut, deforesting the region, contributing further to soil erosion, which has impacted the displaced, migrants, refugees and the host communities alike. The risks associated with COVID-19 are extremely high in these crowded sites, and social tensions cannot be ruled out. Sudan is also likely to see increased food insecurity as the result of inflation, pushing the cost of some basic food items up by 200%, as well as the flooding which submerged approximately 1.4 million hectares of cropland.
In Djibouti, there are signs that the situation is starting to deteriorate. In February 2021, the first Ethiopians have crossed the border into Djibouti to seek asylum. 19 persons had been smuggled into the country, consisting of women, men, children, and a pregnant woman. Previously, 8411 Ethiopians of Tigray origin that have returned from the Gulf region transiting in Djibouti have been stranded due to the current Tigray crisis. As tensions between the different ethnic groups were present in the transit camp of Aouraoussa, authorities decided to transfer the Tigrayans to Hol Hol refugee camp2 for processing and registration as refugees. The increase of arriving asylum seekers is putting additional pressure on Hol Hol town already suffering from scarce services and severe poverty. It is possible any arriving Tigrayans wishing to claim asylum will have to be housed in Obock Camp, putting pressure on a town already suffering from scarce services and extreme levels of poverty. In the initial days of the crisis, over 600 Ethiopian trucks were abandoned in Djibouti and around 80% of Ethiopian truck drivers hail from the Tigray region3 . So far, 179 truck drivers claimed asylum and were transferred to Hol Hol camp to be processed and registered as refugees. Moreover, Ethiopians from different regions continue to cross the border daily for private and commercial purposes, both officially and unofficially, and the situation can change rapidly stranding Ethiopians in Djibouti indefinitely.