Ethiopia + 4 more

UNHCR Regional Update #29 Ethiopia Emergency Situation, 28 February 2022


Key Developments


On 18 February, UNHCR briefed media that it was working with the Ethiopian authorities and partners to provide emergency aid to thousands of Eritrean refugees who fled Barahle refugee camp and its environs in the Afar region after fighting engulfed the area.

In Afar, the security situation remains volatile with armed clashes reported in Barahle and Erebti districts. On 24 February, OCHA reported that according to Afar regional government authorities, the ongoing conflict has so far displaced hundreds of thousands of people, mostly pastoralists, and displacement is still ongoing. An estimated 200,000 people including IDPs, are in hard-to-reach locations either due to road conditions, security concerns, trapped behind conflict lines, or who took refuge in remote areas with no access to humanitarian assistance and services.

Ethiopia Response

The humanitarian situation across northern Ethiopia continues to seriously impact refugees, the internally displaced and host communities. Civilians have endured over one year of conflict with extremely limited basic services and assistance available, leading to a significant escalation in humanitarian needs with ongoing new displacements. The security situation remains volatile, affecting civilians and constraining humanitarian actors on the ground. Fuel remains in extremely short supply, humanitarian goods are currently only coming in by air, and communication, electricity, and banking services remain intermittent.

UNHCR continues to hold discussions with BoLSA in Mekelle on collaboration and future engagement in provision of support to refugees and IDPs in Tigray. A comprehensive list of joint activities is being consolidated to facilitate decisions. Discussions also include allocation of required resources for the implementation of planned activities including relocation of refugees from urban centers to the camps, camp management activities, food distribution and health services. UNHCR also collaborates with BoLSA on IDP enrolment.

On 6 February, The UN Deputy Secretary General visited Mekelle and met with UN agencies, including UNHCR, to discuss the situation in Tigray. UNHCR and IOM led the delegation’s visit to Sabacare 4 IDP site, where IDP leaders and families underscored the need for more support from the humanitarian community. IDPs raised concerns on insecurity, lack of food, cash, and inadequate health, education, WASH facilities and protection services. UNCHR protection, field, CCCM teams and partners briefed on ongoing activities. The delegation affirmed the commitment of the Secretary General to engage with stakeholders to facilitate provision of additional humanitarian assistance to Tigray and provide support for a peaceful resolution of the ongoing crisis.

On 9 February, the President of Ethiopia accompanied the UN Deputy Secretary General on a visit to the Afar region. UNHCR Senior Emergency Coordinator briefed the delegation on UNHCR's interventions and response in the region in support of refugees and IDPs, with an update on recent displacements, including the situation of affected refugees from Barahle camp.

On 10 February, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for East Africa visited Semera accompanied by the Head of Office of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) for Ethiopia.
The mission included meetings with Afar Elders, and focus group discussions with women and refugee leaders who fled Barahle camp and are currently hosted in Agda Hotel in Semera. They also met with cluster partners and head of agencies. Similarly, the UNHCR Senior Emergency Coordinator again briefed the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator on UNHCR' s interventions and response in the region.