The expansion of the Tigray crisis into neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions has caused significant displacement across regional boundaries and internally within the regions creating a new wave of humanitarian needs. As of 31 July, Amhara and Afar were hosting over 674,000 and 161,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), respectively, since the beginning of the crisis. In July, UNICEF actively responded to the needs of over 23,000 IDPs in Amhara and 60,000 in Afar through provision of essential supplies and services, including ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF) and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) non-food items (NFIs), and through deployment of Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams (MHNTs).
Nationwide, Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) admissions increased by 8.9 per cent (3,438 more children) compared to the previous month and by 11 per cent (4,154 more children) compared to the same month last year. In response, UNICEF dispatched 20,245 cartons of ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), 435 cartons of F-75 and 316 cartons of F-100 during the month of July. In Tigray, a total of 74,527 children were screened for malnutrition and 1,388 children were admitted for SAM treatment.
In July alone UNICEF and partners reached 32,764 girls and boys, women and men across Tigray, Amhara and Afar with gender based violence (GBV) risk mitigation and response interventions; case management services; support to GBV survivors and unaccompanied and separated children (UASC); as well as mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) and prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA). In addition, 1,136 children who experienced violence were reached by health social and legal/law enforcement services in Amhara, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, Oromia, Gambella (refugees) and Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s (SNNP) regions.
UNICEF continues to provide education assistance for internally displaced and emergency-affected out-of-school age children in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Regional Education Bureaus (REBs) and NGO partners. To date, a total of 141,338 (48% girls) children have been reached through the provision of formal or non-formal education. This includes 16,879 children (49% girls) receiving “Bete-My Home” integrated education and child protection assistance in Tigray.
UNICEF has revised its 2021 Northern Ethiopia Response Plan (Tigray, Afar and Amhara) up till end December 2021, scaling up targets and budgets - with a funding requirement of US$108 million or over double the previous plan. Presently, the funding gap for the scale up response stands at 66 per cent. Urgent funds are required to meet the alarming situation of children.
Situation Overview & Humanitarian Needs
Humanitarian needs in Ethiopia are steadily increasing as communities face multiple and simultaneous shocks, including protracted and new conflict, food insecurity, floods, drought, desert locusts, and COVID-19. Altogether, approximately 3.95 million people are displaced across the country, of which 1.8 million people are living in camps or camp-like settings through the country.
In the northern regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar, approximately 400,000 people are classified as Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) 5 (catastrophe) in addition to four million people in IPC 3 or 4 (crisis or emergency). This is in addition to over 2.1 million people who are currently displaced due to the conflict with a steady increase of displacements across the regional boundaries and within the regions of Afar and Amhara. While access has generally improved, more than 200 humanitarian aid trucks have been prevented from reaching Tigray for two weeks in July, further intensifying the humanitarian needs. A scarcity of cash, fuel and electricity also continues to significantly hamper emergency responses in Tigray.
In Amhara, more than 1.37 million IDPs are living across the region in host communities and IDP sites. Of these, over 674,000 are new IDPs as a result of the expansion of the Tigray crisis. Despite the large number of IDPs, there has been limited humanitarian operations in the region. Furthermore, the regional 2021 ‘belg’ assessment estimates over 80 per cent productivity loss, resulting in 623,920 people in need of relief assistance as of July 2021. Food security may further deteriorate due to the desert locust invasion, inflation of food costs, failure of the belg production, ongoing conflict, and active displacement due to the Tigray crisis. It is expected that the caseload of malnutrition will continue to rise in the coming months.
The situation of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in Amhara region also continues to worsen due to a shortage of resources and limited number of partners while multiple emergencies with influx of IDPs is being reported across the region. The capacity of governmental counterparts to respond for emergency is limited, and there are few NGOs working in the region.
The humanitarian situation in Afar has become increasingly complex as result of active conflict between the ENDF and the TPLF, as well as the Afar-Issa clan conflict. The conflict in Hari Resu zone was unpredicted and has caused an additional burden to the existing strained humanitarian situation in the region.
Furthermore, in Afar, 18 woredas along the Awash River Basin experience flooding annually. Communities affected by the 2020 floods are still struggling to recover and are at risk of further flood-related damage this year due. An estimated 90,000 people likely to be affected and up to 54,000 people displaced. Coupled with other hazards in the region, almost half of the region’s population – approximately one million people – are at risk.
In Oromia’s Horo Guduru Wollega Zone, the security situation is volatile due to expanding unidentified armed group (UAG) operations and ethnic-based attacks, which have resulted in numerous civilian deaths and population displacements. Displacements are also ongoing in Kelem Wollega and East Wollega zones. IDPs are experiencing severe psychological distress escaping the violence, and increased risk of gender-based violence (GBV) in IDP sites has been reported. Altogether, the most recent Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) round 24 shows there are a total of 592,992 IDPs in the region, primarily due to conflict, as well as to drought and flooding. This has also created a higher than usual drop-out rate of students.
In Benishangul-Gumuz, a total of 246,938 people have been displaced due to ongoing conflict in the region. The security situation in Metekel zone remains volatile with sporadic conflicts in Bullen woreda. Similarly, road access to Kamashi zone has been restricted for some months. Based on the regional Disaster Risk Management Commission (DRMC) report, there are 246,938 IDPs in the region. Some woredas are only partially accessible and nearly 50 per cent of rural health facilities are no longer providing routine essential health and nutrition services.
In Somali, drought is anticipated to affect large areas of the southern part of the region including Dolo, Korahay, Shabelle, Liban and Afdher zones, impacting an estimated 2.4 million people including 300,000 children living within these areas.
On 24 July 2021, conflict was reported in the border areas between Afar and Somali Regions mainly Gerba-Isse town, which had a devastating impact on children and women; the number of casualties still remains unknown. Preliminary information has shown that approximately 1,500 households were displaced with confirmed figures pending an inter-agency joint assessment.
In SNNP, intermittent ‘belg’ rains have impacted agricultural land preparation, availability of water and forage for the livestock; productivity is also expected to be impacted. IPC Phase 3 (crisis) level outcomes are projected to occur and, in some areas, may reach IPC Phase 4 (emergency) level. In addition, a measles outbreak was reported in Haylusha Kebele of the Selamago woreda in South Omo zone in the region. A total of 54 cases (no deaths) were reported as of 21 July 2021.
In Gambella, a heavy rainy season has resulted in flooding along the Baro and Gilo rivers and has caused damage and suffering amongst refugees in the region.
Nationwide, severe acute malnutrition (SAM) admissions increased by 11 per cent (4,154 more children) compared to the same month last year. Significant changes in SAM admissions were observed in Tigray (92%), SNNP (33.8%), Dire Dawa (15.6%), Sidama (10.3%), Somali (7.2%), Oromia (1.9%) and Afar (1.4%) as compared to the previous month of reporting.
As of 31 July 2021, there were a total of 280,024 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 4,385 deaths (CFR=1.56%) since the onset of the outbreak on 13 March 2020. Addis Ababa reported 183,093 cases (65.3%), whereas Oromia and Amhara contributed 39,593 (14.1%) and 12,207 (4.36%) cases, respectively. Reports from the Tigray region (8,171 cases) have not been received since 29 June 2021. A total of 263,500 (94%) patients were reported recovered, and 223 severe COVID-19 cases were admitted in designated treatment centres in Addis Ababa and across the regions. The increasing trend of the confirmed COVID-19 cases and admissions for the last three weeks may be marking the beginning of the third wave of the pandemic in Ethiopia.