Tigray: Atlas of the humanitarian situation

Eritrea Ethiopia Opinion Tigray

Date: 9 March 2021

Authors: Sofie Annys1, Tim Vanden Bempt2, Emnet Negash1,3, Lars De Sloover1, Jan Nyssen1

1Department of Geography, Ghent University, Belgium

2Concerned citizen (Leuven, Belgium) who follows the war in Tigray closely, documenting it on Twitter (@tvbempt)  

3Institute for Climate and Society, Mekelle University, Tigray, Ethiopia

Contact: tigraymaps@gmail.com

Link to configurable Web Application: https://arcg.is/vmbWH0


At the beginning of November 2020, an armed conflict emerged in Tigray, Ethiopia’s northernmost region. The objective of this ‘Atlas of the Humanitarian Situation’ is to document and map the situation in which approximately 6 million Tigrayans currently find themselves. For this, we contacted key informants in different districts of Tigray to collect qualitative and quantitative evidence of the actual situation on the ground. We also confronted these data and testimonies with information disclosed by the Government of Ethiopia and by humanitarian organizations. The 19 maps in this atlas provide detailed information at the scale of districts (woredas) or sub-districts (tabiyas). Besides background information related to administrative divisions, social and natural resources – locations of internally displaced people, massacres and civilian casualties receive due attention. Humanitarian access and needs are particularly addressed; official data on humanitarian aid distribution are mapped, and contrasted to ground evidence related to such distributions. The final outlook, using a map of the onset of the growing season, forewarns that a continuation of the Tigray war may lead to another failed harvest in the next season.

Keywords: Civilian casualties; Internally Displaced People; Humanitarian needs; Humanitarian access; Humanitarian assistance; Ethiopia

To be cited as: Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: atlas of the humanitarian situation. Journal of Maps, preprint.


The authors in the first place thank the numerous eyewitnesses who agreed sharing information, often taking immense risks. Irob Advocay, Tghat, and office holders (who prefer to be anonymous at this stage) shared their data with us. Publicly available data from MapEthiopia and OCHA have also been used. Secondary sources of information are acknowledged in the endnotes. Ghent University and the Department of Geography are acknowledged for material and human support. All initiators and signatories of various appeals for ceasefire and human rights are thanked, especially those who have returned numerous solidarity messages. We acknowledge Wolbert Smidt and other colleagues who contributed to the formulation of paragraphs of earlier text that we incorporated in this atlas. The people of Tigray, in their thousands, who supported our earlier research endeavours gave us the strengh to carry out this emotionally difficult work. Thank you to all farmers, university staff, development workers, support staff, translators, research assistants, etc. who have directly supported our (cumulated) 60 years of research for development in Tigray. Last but not least, the authors thank Dr. Catherine Dom and Prof. Seppe Deckers (KU Leuven, Belgium) for critically reading an earlier version of this work.


The authors did not receive any financial support to carry out this research. This atlas (text, illustrations and maps) is free from copyright and can be reused without restriction, subject only to the obligation to acknowledge the source.

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