• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints



On 4 November 2020, the federal government’s Ethiopian National Defense Force and the regional Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) clashed after months of increasing political tensions. Violence broke out following an unconfirmed attack on a national military base in the Tigrayan capital city of Mekele and an attack on the Dansha military barracks. ?

While the situation has stabilised compared to November and December, there remain significant areas of insecurity particularly in the North Western, Central and Eastern Zones of the region. This raises safety concerns for local populations and humanitarian staff in these areas.?

The exact number of people in need or displaced remains unknown due to access constraints and communications blackout, which hamper assessments and data collection. It is also difficult to anticipate which demographic group or location has the highest needs. Of particular concern is the situation of Eritrean refugees hosted prior to the conflict in two camps (Shimelba and Hitsats) that remain inaccessible.?Estimates suggest that close to 500,000 people are displaced within Tigray and to Amhara, Afar, and Sudan.?Over 60,000 people have fled to eastern Sudan as at 31 January.?

Extensive needs are anticipated, as the delivery of essential basic services has been significantly disrupted by the conflict, due to infrastructure damage, reduced staffing levels, ongoing insecurity, non-payment of salaries in the public sector, and lack of supplies.?Public service provision has been affected across the region, including WASH and health services, banks, electricity, and telecommunications.?

Latest Developments


17/02/2021: Those most in need in Tigray include IDPs, refugees, and children. An unknown number of IDPs are in inaccessible areas of Central and North Western Zones, and likely have high needs across all sectors. In Mekele and Shire, IDPs are hosted in collective sites with inadequate facilities, including WASH, and have heightened protection needs. Lack of site management and proper IDP registration pose challenges for verifying numbers of IDPs. Many IDPs are unaccompanied or separated children. Children remain at risk of abduction, recruitment, and exploitation, and in need of food, protection, nutritional services, and psychosocial support. Shimelba and Hitsats camps remain inaccessible to humanitarians and authorities plan to close them. The camps hosted some 30,000 Eritrean refugees as at November 2020, who are now at risk of involuntary and unsafe relocation. Access remains constrained, particularly into rural areas and the Central, Eastern, and North Western Zones.?

09/02/2021: Shimelba and Hitsats camps in Tigray region -hosting some 30,000 Eritrean refugees- remain inaccessible for humanitarians since November 2020. Destruction and damage to homes, schools, and clinics were reported since end of 2020, although causes are unclear. Refugees are likely in need of food, health, shelter, and protection.?

01/02/2021: There is a high need for protection services in Tigray region, including SGBV assistance, especially for women and children. Cases of conflict-related sexual violence, including rape, have increased. There are reports of armed groups' members forcing women into transactional sex in exchange for basic goods. Children are at risk of abductions, recruitment, and exploitation.?

28/01/2021: The number of malnutrition cases in Tigray region reportedly have increased, with shortage of nutritional supplements affecting the delivery of nutrition services, compounded by reduced food aid and rise in food prices. Tigray was already experiencing higher levels of malnutrition prior to the conflict resulting from the ongoing locust infestation, drought and impacts of COVID-19.?



Food: Food shortages have been reported in the region, where more than 1 million people were already dependent on food aid. The conflict and access constraints prevent the delivery of humanitarian food assistance.?Household food consumption is likely to be low due to a reduction in access to farming land, inability to harvest, destroyed harvests, increased food prices, shortages of goods, insecurity, looted household food stocks, and partial to no access to markets in assessed areas .?

Health: Health needs are critical throughout the region, and there are reports that the health system has collapsed. It is estimated that only 22% of health facilities are functional.?

WASH: Clean water and waste management are urgently needed. Lack of clean water is resulting in the use of unprotected water sources and raising concerns about the spread of waterborne diseases and  COVID-19.?


  • Due to very limited access to affected areas, the number of displaced and their needs is unknown.
  • The scale and scope of needs across Tigray, particularly in inaccessible areas  in Central, Eastern, and North Western Zones.
  • The situation and needs at Hitsats and Shimelba Eritrean refugee camps remains unknown due to communications blackout and lack of access.