Background and key developments
On 4 November 2020, military confrontations between federal and regional forces in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, which borders both Sudan and Eritrea, led the Government to declare a State of Emergency.
Since then, and despite the announcement of an official end to the law enforcement operation in late November, large areas of Ethiopia’s Tigray region are still affected by armed clashes and insecurity, leading to further forced displacement of population – particularly in Western Tigray.
While humanitarian partners' access to Tigray has improved since the replacement of the previous "clearance process" for the deployment of international aid workers at the Federal level with a flexible "notification" system, access to large areas continues to be impeded by insecurity. This continues to limit the humanitarian response, particularly in rural hard-to-reach areas. Despite this volatile security situation and as stressed by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, efforts “must be accelerated, as large numbers of displaced people keep arriving in urban areas – 352,000 in Shire town alone – and thousands of Eritrean refugees are still dispersed.” Many refugees, internally displaced persons and host communities have endured more than five months with extremely limited – or no – assistance, resulting in a significant escalation in humanitarian needs.