Ethiopia + 1 more

UNHCR Protection Brief - Ethiopia: Tigray region - July 2021


Operational Context

The conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region precipitated a major protection crisis with an estimated two million people forced to flee their homes, thousands of civilians injured or killed and exposed to serious harm, including gender-based violence.
Those who fled often did so with nothing but a few belongings, stripped of any income and means of survival other than the scarce humanitarian assistance available.

Prior to the crisis, the Tigray region, with a population of more than six million, had the highest poverty rate in the country, and some 950,000 of its people relied on aid. In a few months, the conflict has left a staggering 91 percent of the population in dire need of humanitarian assistance,1 an increase of more than 500 percent compared to the pre-conflict period.

In this worsening crisis, the safety and wellbeing of civilians remains of grave concern. Indeed, their survival is at stake. Some 150 hunger related deaths have been recorded in Olfa district alone, and an estimated 350,000 people in the region suffer from an extreme lack of food.2 Should fighting and impeded humanitarian access persist, famine is likely to occur in North Western, Central and Eastern Tigray.3 Despite these alarming developments, humanitarian operations continue to be disrupted owing to lack of fuel and the interruption of electricity, telecommunications and banking services.4

On 28 June 2021, the Government of Ethiopia announced a unilateral ceasefire and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has reportedly retaken the capital Mekelle. On 4 July 2021, the TPLF communicated its conditional acceptance of this ceasefire declaration. However, the security situation remains fragile with fighting reported around Mai Tsebri town.