Ethiopia: Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Ethiopia Tigray

Highlights

  • EthiopiaHumanitarian partners continue the scale-up effort to reach all people in need in Tigray; but the response is not commensurate to the needs.
  • Nearly six months into the conflict, most rural areas remain cut from communications and electricity, impacting access to health services and water supply among others.
  • Three Food operators are providing food assistance to food insecure people in the region.
  • Humanitarian partner continue to scale-up response to Gender-Based Violence, including identification and support to survivors
  • US$427 million have been allocated to respond to the crisis as of 20 April.
The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. © OCHA
 

Key Figures

 




Background

Situation Overview

The complex and unpredictable security situation is impeding the freedom of humanitarian movement to reach people in need, while civilians continue to bear the brunt of the conflict with ongoing forced displacement to towns like Shire, Axum and Adwa. The main road between Adigrat and Axum was blocked from 10 to 22 April due to hostilities, impacting several humanitarian convoys, including emergency food aid, as well as the provision of medical supplies to Axum and Adwa Hospitals. Humanitarian partners were forced to travel to Gondar (Amhara) and drive through Mai-Ttsebri to transport supplies to Shire. Also, partners were reportedly unable to mobilize assistance beyond Maychew town in Southern Zone during the reporting period [17-23 April] and food trucks were unable to reach Ofla and Neqsege Woredas. The Mekelle-Abi Adi-Shire route remain closed due to insecurity.

Nearly six months into the conflict, most rural areas in Tigray remain cut off from communications and electricity, impacting access to health services and water supply among others. Furthermore, disrupted communications in North Western, Central and some parts of Eastern and South Eastern Zones is causing a delay in reporting and the monitoring of progress of distribution of aid.

Looking at the humanitarian impact of the conflict, food insecurity remains dire. Nutrition partners continue to express grave concern of malnutrition particularly among young children and pregnant and breastfeeding women. The population’s access to health care remains limited. Movement restrictions due to insecurity prohibited mobile health and nutrition teams (MHNTs) to access several areas. Provision of adequate shelter for the estimated 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the region is amongst the humanitarian response priorities. So far, shelter cluster partners have only reached 285,000 people – that’s only 10 per cent of the targeted population.

In a statement released on 23 April, the Call to Action on Protection from Gender-based Violence in Emergencies (Call to Action on GBV) expressed its concerns about the ongoing reports of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, in Tigray. The statement said “GBV is notoriously under-reported due to the fear of stigmatization or retaliation, limited access to trusted service providers and impunity for perpetrators.” They called for prioritization of GBV prevention and response; ensuring GBV risks are identified and mitigation actions are resourced across all sectors; placing the safety and well-being of women and girls front and center in the delivery of assistance; and allocating resources for an immediate and sustained scale-up of GBV prevention and response services.

Similarly, while recognizing the Government of Ethiopia’s efforts to provide assistance and increased access, the UN Security Council recognized in a statement on 22 April that humanitarian challenges remain and called for a scaled-up humanitarian response and unfettered humanitarian access to all people in need.

Please see details on ongoing responses and gaps under the “Humanitarian Preparedness and Response” section below.

 

Analysis

Cross-Border Impact

Eritrea/Ethiopia

On 16 April, Eritrea told the UN Security Council that it has agreed to start withdrawing its troops from Tigray Region, admitting publicly for the first time its involvement in the conflict, according to Reuters. Eritrean Ambassador to the UN, Sophia Tesfamariam stated in a letter to the Council’s members and posted online by the Ministry of Information that “Eritrea and Ethiopia have agreed – at the highest levels – to embark on the withdrawal of Eritrean forces and the simultaneous redeployment of Ethiopian contingents along the international boundary”.

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Humanitarian Access in Tigray

Tigray acces with header (002)
 

Emergency Response

Humanitarian Preparedness and Response

There are currently [as of 22 April 2021] 215 UN staff supporting the humanitarian response in the region (59 international and 101 national staff in Mekelle and 6 international and 49 national staff in Shire), and over 1,500 more aid workers with international and national NGOs. Humanitarian organizations continue to deploy additional staff to support the scale up of operations and ensure protection-by-presence amid reports of ongoing violence against civilians. There are 51 partners (Government, UN, NGO) operating across the region.

The three Food operators, the National Disasters Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), Joint Emergency Operation Program (JEOP) and the World Food Programme (WFP), are providing food assistance to food insecure people in the regionFor the first round of assistance for 2021[1], and as of 25 April, JEOP has distributed more than 5,500 metric tons of food reaching more than 325,000 people; WFP has distributed nearly 9,000 metric tons of food reaching nearly 529,000 people in North Western and Southern Zones and to nearly 34,000 people in Edgahamus and Atsibi towns of the Eastern Zone. Meanwhile, NDRMC has allocated nearly 11,000 metric tons of food for Southern and Western Zones.

So far, shelter cluster partners have only reached 285,000 people – only 10 per cent of the targeted population. With completed, ongoing and planned distributions, the cluster could reach 672,000 people or 25 per cent of the target. Nutrition Cluster partners reached more than 14,000 moderately malnourished children and more than 6,700 acutely malnourished pregnant and lactating women with supplementary food. Additional 30,842 children and 8821 pregnant and lactating women received Blanket Supplementary Feeding. WASH partners have provided water trucking service to more than 700,000 people across the region and excavated solid waste disposal pits in six IDPs sites in Mekelle to benefit more than 17,000 IDPs.

Meanwhile, the preparation of the “Sabacare 4” displacement site for more than 3,800 households (more than 19,000 individuals) in Mekelle is ongoing, including building shelters, access roads and latrines. Some 3,310 shelters have been committed for “Sabacare 4” and have begun construction on the site. An additional 506 shelters are needed to address the full shelter needs for the planned camp capacity. In Shire, Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster partners have identified five IDP sites and have started development work in one site.

Health Cluster partners have supported hospitals and health facilities to scale up response where security permits. Additional health teams are preparing to be deployed to newly accessible Woredas, including to Arearo, Chila Dawhan, Hawzen, Ferima, Sewen and Shire. Health partners are also supporting with the COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers and displaced persons aged 55 years and above in Abi Adi, Adigrat, Axum and Mekelle. Plans are underway to expand COVID-19 vaccination across the region.

The Protection Cluster partners are working to increase access to hard-to-reach areas to support protection mainstreaming and conduct protection assessments. Efforts also continue to ensure a consistent protection presence in all IDP sites. Protection interventions are ongoing, including identification of unaccompanied and separated children, family tracing, provision of psychosocial support for children and adults, and identification and support to GBV survivors and persons with disabilities.

With the establishment of a storage facility in Shire during the reporting week, the Logistics Cluster has now increased its capacity to seven storage facilities and common transport from Addis Ababa, Adama, Kombulcha, Semera, Gondar, Mekelle and Shire. The cluster has also facilitated the transport of 53 metric tons of WASH cargo to Tigray on behalf of one partner during the reporting period. Overall, cluster partners have so far facilitated transport of over 2000 metric tons of humanitarian cargo on behalf of its partners along the main routes into Tigray since December 2020.

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[1] The first round of food assistance for the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) was launched on 26 March, under which food operators are distributing food for 5.2 million people across the region.

Emergency Response

High Level Visits

The Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, Grant Leaity, accompanied by UNHCR, OCHA, and UNICEF, led a high-level UN mission to Shire from 19 to 21 April. During the meeting with the zonal administration, Mr. Leaity expressed the commitment of the international humanitarian community to continue to closely work with the Government at all levels and assist the affected populations. He also visited IDP sites in Embakasi, Shiraro and Shire, and held focus group discussions with displaced women and men. From the 22nd to 25th the mission proceeded to visit locations in Western Tigray and Gondar: observed needs have been identified for urgent action.

Cluster Status

Agriculture

Needs

  • Additional funds are needed for the 90-day agricultural emergency response plan, including for critical activities such as emergency seed support, livestock health, feed, and draft power provision.

  • Farming communities need to start ploughing and planting their farm plots for the coming Meher main crop season (crop harvested between September and February). Should farmers miss this planting season, food insecurity will worsen.

  • In addition to emergency seeds, farmers need to also be provided with fertilizer and agro-chemical supplies.

  •   There is a lack of draft power supplies in local markets, which is critical for timely land preparation and sowing.

Response

  • No updates since the last reporting period.

Gaps

  • Shortage of seeds at local and national markets. 

  • Restricted access is affecting market supplies of required agricultural inputs.

Cluster Status

Education

Needs

  • Relocation of IDPs from schools

  • Renovation and rehabilitation of destroyed/damaged schools

  • Psycho-social support training for teachers and students

  • Temporary learning spaces to provide education in emergency

Response

  • Accelerated school readiness and accelerated learning program and early childhood care and development is being provided by the INGOs Imagine 1 day and International Rescue Committee in Shire and Mekelle.

  • Some 75 children started non-formal education schooling in Hintalo Woreda supported by Operation Rescue Ethiopia.

  • Free play and child friendly spaces is being provided by READ II and OSSAD in Mekelle IDP centres.

Gaps

  • Shortage of Temporary Learning Spaces at IDP sites.

Cluster Status

Emergency Shelter & Non-Food Items

Needs

  • The cluster target increased from 2.2 million people in January to 2.7 million in April following the new IDPs figure of 1.7 million issued by the Regional Interim Administration. 

  • Despite progress, the shelter response remains concerningly low compared to the needs, particularly in North-Western, Central, and South-Eastern zones.

  • The number of IDP sites in Mekelle increased from eight sites in February to 20 sites during the reporting week.

Response

  • Only 285,000 people (10 per cent of the targeted 2.7 million) have been reached with ES/NFI so far. With completed, ongoing and planned distributions, the cluster could reach 672,000 people (25 per cent of the target).

  • The cluster organized a ‘Cash and Voucher Assistance’ training to partners implementing and/or planning to implement cash assistance. More than 18 participants from 13 organizations will benefit from the two-day training planned for 26 and 27 April in Mekelle.

Gaps

  • Response activities by partners have been delayed amid alarmingly deteriorating IDP situation due to the ongoing heavy rainfall as well as increased influx of new IDPs.

  • Household Livelihoods Protection Score issues, particularly in Western Zone and the southern part of Tigray is a challenge.

  • The cluster will need to conduct a multi-agency assessment to verify the ownership-related issues.

  • There is difficulty in procuring cluster standard plastic sheeting in domestic markets; while tarpaulins are procured from international markets. 

Cluster Status

Food

Needs

  • The interim Regional Administration has estimated that 4.5 million people need food assistance in the Region. An additional 631,775 displaced people were included in the plan for the 2021 round 1 food distributions (a round lasts about six weeks).

  • The main drivers of food insecurity include reduced purchasing power of households following loss of income or livelihood, increase in food prices and inaccessible and poorly functional market systems in place

Response

  • The Joint Emergency Operation Program (JEOP) started food distributions in seven new Woredas during the reporting week. As of 25 April, JEOP has distributed 5,511 metric tons of food reaching 325,159 people for the first round of assistance.

  • WFP started food distributions in two new Woredas – Adidaero and Tahtay Adiyabo in North Western Zone. As of 25 April, WFP has distributed 8,964 metric tons of food reaching 528,777 people in North Western and Southern Zones for the first round of assistance. It has also assisted 33,908 people in Edgahamus and Atsibi towns of the Eastern Zone.

  • The National Disaster Risk Management Commission has allocated 10,839 metric tons of food for the first round of assistance in Southern and Western Zones.

Gaps

  • Disruption of communications in North Western, Central and some parts of Eastern and South Eastern Zones is causing delay in reporting and monitoring of progress.

  • Volatile and dynamic movement of IDPs is contributing to increases in food insecure people in different parts of the region.

Cluster Status

Health

Needs

  • Agalechoma Health Post and the Dawhan secondary health care facility (North Eastern Tigray) were reportedly looted creating a gap in health care service in the area.

  • Don Bosco Hospital in Adwa and Axum health clinics are still not operational.

  • There is a critical shortage of essential drugs, including antibiotic, antiprotozoal, family planning contraceptives, vaccines, and anti-tuberculosis and antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV patients, affecting the response to the diverse health care needs.

  • Strengthened prevention of and case management for people with COVID-19, including case management, contact tracing, isolation, particularly in IDP camps, is needed.

  • The Health Cluster response capacity has been significantly reduced the last two weeks due to access and security constraints. By 2 April, nine health partners and the Tigray Regional Health Bureau (TRHB) operated 50 mobile health and nutrition teams (MHNTs) covering 42 Woredas. Two weeks later, they were only operating 23 MHNTs covering only 23 Woredas

Response

  • Cluster partners and mobile health and nutrition teams have supported hospitals and health facilities to scale up where security permits.

  • Health operation in IDPs camps is ongoing.

  • NGO partners, including MSF-S, GOAL, SCI, WVE, are supporting the implementation of the COVID-19 vaccination for health care workers and for displaced persons aged 55 years and above in Abi Adi, Adigrat, Axum and Mekelle.

  • There are ongoing interventions for the prevention of and case management for people with COVID-19, including case management, contact tracing, risk communication and community engagement, isolation. The NGO GOAL and other partners are supporting the establishment of isolation areas within IDP camps.

Gaps

  • Inadequate essential supplies, including drugs.

  • Poor, or absence of, referral systems.

  • Several Woredas are still underserved with the provision of health services, including Hawzen, Atsbi, Zana, Mereb Leha and Saharti.

Cluster Status

Nutrition

Needs

  • A rapid nutrition assessment conducted between 26 March-7 April in four Woredas, based on the global acute malnutrition (GAM) and severe acute malnutrition (SAM) scale, shows that the level of acute malnutrition is very critical (see detail in table 1). Between 33 per cent and 42 per cent of children/women screened were acutely malnourished.

Rapid nutrition assessment summary result:

  • Hawzen

– Edema: 5(1.7%)          

– SAM:     25(8.3%)      

– GAM:    97(32.3%)     

  • T/womberta         

– Edema: 1(0.3%)        

– SAM:     20(6.7%)                 

– GAM:    87(29.0%)

  • D/Temben           

– Edema: 2(0.7%)       

– SAM:     16(5.3%)                 

– GAM:    83(27.6%)       

  • D/Temben          

– Edema: 1(0.3%)       

– SAM:     13(4.3%)                 

– GAM:    86(28.7%)      

In the 90-days response plan:

  • Some 10,000 children 6-59 months are targeted for severe malnutrition treatment.

  • Some 657, 519 children and 184,101 Pregnant and Lactating Women (PLW) are targeted for Blanket Supplementary Feeding Program (BSFP).

  • Some 104, 318 children and112,352 PLW are targeted for Targeted Supplementary Feeding Program (TSFP)

  • Some 717,704 children aged 6-59 months are targeted for Vitamin A supplementation

  • Some 188,432 PLW are targeted for Infant and Young Children Feeding (IYCF)

Response

  • Screening for malnutrition and treatment activities are carried out in Atsbi, Enda Selasie, Tsiare Wemberta, Raya Azebo, Mehoni, Chercher, Ganta Afeshum, Bizet, Enderta and Shire IDPs sites.

  • Some 14,180 moderately malnourished children and 6,753 acutely malnourished PLW received TSFP.

  • Some 30,842 children and 8821 PLW received BSFP.

  • Some 513 carton of ready-to-use therapeutic food and other medicines were transported to the Shire hub. 

  • Some 21,608 children under the age of 5 were screened for malnutrition, in which 376 severely and 2,615 moderately malnourished children were identified.

  • Some 5,083 PLW screened for malnutrition, in which 2,483 were identified as acutely malnourished. Some 1,191 PLW and care takers were counselled on IYCF for children under two years.

  • Some 507 children between 6-59 months and 253 children between 24-59 received vitamin A supplementation and albendazole (for deworming), respectively.

  • Twenty health workers from malnutrition stabilization centres in Wukuro, Mekelle, Quiha, Adigudem, Adi shuhu, Samre, Michew, Mehoni, Korem, Alamata Hospitals were trained on SAM management by the Regional Health Bureau, with UNICEF support.

  • Twenty-three health workers were trained on community-based management of acute malnutrition and on infant and young children feeding interventions.                                                                                

Gaps

  • Lack of access to Samre and Seharti, southeastern zone

  • Road blockage from Adigrat to Shire created major gap to deliver supplies to Adwa, Axum, Shire and surrounding Woredas in the reporting period

Cluster Status

Protection

Needs

  • Innovative Humanitarian Solutions (IHS) conducted protection assessments across IDP sites in Mekelle and, consistent with other reports, highlighted insecurity, WASH gaps, lack of shelter, and food shortages as the population’s most pressing concerns.

Response

  • The Rapid Protection Assessments (RPAs) across Tigray continued with training of Protection Cluster members in Shire and Mekelle. Training on the use of the Kobo format, an open source suite of tools for data collection and analysis in humanitarian emergencies, to facilitate compilation and analysis of protection assessment data from across the region will begin in the coming week. The RPA format was utilized for the first time to collect data in Sheraro on 23 April, and a report will soon be released.

  • Provision of information, counselling, and referrals at IDP sites in Shire and Mekelle was enhanced through the cooperation between Protection Cluster and CCCM partners. Efforts continue to ensure a consistent presence by protection partners in all IDP sites, including those newly established. This will ensure that IDPs have critical information regarding the availability of services and assistance.

  • Protection interventions are ongoing, including identification of unaccompanied and separated children, family tracing, provision of recreational activities for children at child-friendly spaces, provision of psychosocial support for children and adults, distribution of dignity kits, awareness-raising regarding GBV, identification and support to GBV survivors (including child survivors), and identification and assistance of persons with disabilities.

  • A new initiative to raise public awareness on mental health and psychosocial support and GBV services was initiated through broadcasts on 104.4 FM radio.

Gaps

  • Lack of information about .. among the newly displaced IDPs. Protection Cluster partners are working to ensure outreach to newly displaced communities in particular, through a variety of modalities, as a key component of Accountability to Affected Populations.

Cluster Status

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Needs

  • Some 512,554 IDPs, who are to be resettled in the planned 20 new IDP sites, will need to be provided with WASH services’.

  • At least 167 water trucks are needed to address all identified needs for the next three months

Response

  • Water trucking is ongoing providing water to about 700,186 people through partners and the Government Water Bureau.

  • Water treatment chemicals were distributed to 2,478 IDPs in Mekelle.

  • Solid waste disposal pits were excavated in six IDP sites in Mekelle, which will benefit about 17,240 IDPs.      

  • WASH NFIs were distributed in IDP sites in Mekelle for 3,129 IDPs

  • Installation of three water storage tanks in three IDP sites in Mekelle, which will benefit 2,306 IDPs.

  • Rehabilitation of four hand pumps in Shire.

Gaps

  • Interruption of water trucking operation in Hawzien, Hagereselam, Enticho due to access and security restrictions

  • Frequent electricity interruption causes water trucking interruption in most areas because the water utilities do not have capacity to provide fuel for standby generators. In some areas, there is a shortage of fuel in the market.

  • Water utility staff did not get their salaries in most of the areas and are not in a position to support the response.

Cluster Status

Camp Coordination and Camp Management

Needs

  • The “Sabacare 4” IDP relocation site in Mekelle still needs to be completed. The site is expected to shelter 3,816 households (19,080 individuals).

  • Additional camp management funding is needed, including for cross-cutting CCCM/Shelter and WASH sectors for “Sabacare 4”

  • Additional camp management partners are needed.

  • Designation of a Government camp management entity is urgently needed to ensure a well-coordinated approach with the daily management and maintenance of IDP camps across Tigray.

Response

  • Preparation for the establishment of the “Sabacare 4” IDP site is ongoing.  The INGO Samaritan’s Purse has completed the construction of 1,150 shelters, Development for Peace Organization has completed the construction of 160 shelters, and ZOA has completed 200 shelters. Meanwhile, IOM is implementing its communal shelter program targeting 1,300 households. The UNHCR-funded project to build 500 shelters (through the local NGO ANE and DEC) has not started yet. IOM is building access roads and latrines.

  • In Shire, the identification of IDP sites is ongoing. Five sites have been identified: “Gubta”, “Liam Mesu”, “May Hagai”, “5 Angels Health Center” and “Matsa”.  Out of the five sites, site development work is in progress at the “5 Angels” site.

  • The cluster has completed another round of CCCM basic training for 20 participants from various Government and INGO/NNGO partners in Shire.

Gaps

  • Cross-cutting funding gaps across CCCM/Shelter and WASH clusters for “Sabacare 4” site.

  • Additional camp management partners are needed to complete the targeted 3,310 units in the new “Sabacare 4” IDP site. The gap at present is 506 units.

Cluster Status

Logistics

Needs

  • No updates since the last reporting period.

Response

  • In the reporting period, the Logistics Cluster facilitated the transport of 53 metric tons of WASH cargo to Tigray on behalf of one partner.

  • With the establishment of one additional storage facility in Shire, the cluster has now increased its capacity to seven storage facilities and common transport from Addis Ababa, Adama, Kombulcha, Semera, Gondar, Mekelle and Shire.

  • The cluster is purchasing 120 Mobile Storage Units (around 38,000 square meters) to cover storage needs where required.

  • The cluster is expanding staffing capacity. Recruitment is ongoing for two additional warehouse staff, a logistics officer for Shire and a roving logistics officer to fill gaps and provide extra capacity where needed.

  • The cluster is currently supporting 29 partners in the Tigray response. The cluster is on standby to facilitate access to a dedicated WFP fleet to support humanitarian partners, should commercial transport become unavailable.

Gaps

  • No specific gaps were mentioned at this time.

Coordination

Regular Meetings

The Inter-Cluster Coordination Groups (ICCG) have been activated in Mekelle and Shire and are holding regular meetings. However, Tigray UN-led clusters have very varied levels of capacity in the region and all clusters urgently require a dedicated full-time coordinator in place.  Coordination platforms are being strengthened. All Government-led clusters have an established coordination forum in Mekelle, while all but four have set up coordination structures in Shire. The Interim Administration-led Tigray ECC continues to meet weekly with all clusters and with the humanitarian community.

Emergency Response

Funding Update

As of 20 April, the humanitarian community has allocated $427 million to respond from the outset of the Tigray crisis, including $365 million in bilateral funding, $25 million in multilateral funding and $37 million re-allocated/repurposed from existing resources. UN agencies and NGOs have used their core and or private funds to ‘front-load’ emergency response. Humanitarian partners continue to flag challenges with capacity and resources to be able to scale up to the level needed to respond across Tigray.

 


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