Crisis Severity The severity score from 1 to 5 is based on 31 indicators aggregated into 3 pillars (impact, conditions, and complexity)4.20 Very lowVery high 5
Impact This measures the impact of the crisis itself, in terms of the scope of its geographical, and human effects.3.90 Very lowVery high 5
Humanitarian Conditions This measures the conditions and status of the people affected, including info about the distribution of severity.4.50 Very lowVery high 5
Complexity This measures the complexity of the crisis, in terms of factors that affect its mitigation or resolution.3.90 Very lowVery high 5
Access Constraints This measures the level of humanitarian access constraints.4.0No constraintsExtreme constraints
Ethiopia: One year into the conflict in Northern Ethiopia
Ethiopia: Pre-crisis situation in Tigray
Fighting initially broke out in Tigray in November 2020 between Tigrayan forces on one side and the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF), the Eritrean Defence Forces, and allied regional special forces on the other. The conflict was localised to Tigray region between November 2020 and June 2021 before expanding to Afar and Amhara regions.?
At the end of June 2021, a shift in conflict dynamics (including the ENDF’s withdrawal from Tigray) dramatically changed the operational context. Access within Tigray has improved since early July 2021, but access into Tigray remains severely restricted. There is only one viable road for humanitarian transport into Tigray through Afar, with sporadic cargo movement and limited air travel for humanitarian staff. The consequent lack of humanitarian supplies, fuel shortages, and reduced cash availability hamper the humanitarian response in Tigray. Telecommunications, internet, and electricity blackouts persist across the region. Commercial movement in and out of the region has not been possible since July 2021.?
Between mid-July and December 2021, Tigrayan forces were advancing towards Amhara and Afar regions, resulting in increased access constraints and humanitarian needs in both regions. Conflict increased food insecurity, large-scale displacement, and the lack of access to essential services. Despite the withdrawal of Tigrayan forces starting in December 2021, the presence of armed forces and the threat of escalation keep the security situation along the regional border areas unpredictable. ?
Since the start of the conflict, the population in Tigray has experienced mass killings, human rights abuses, violence against civilians, sexual and gender-based violence, and arbitrary detention, resulting in high protection needs. There have also been similar reports of human rights violations in Amhara and Afar, especially since the spread of fighting in July 2021.?
Due to the effects of drought and conflict in Afar region, malnutrition and mortality rates among children have notably increased. In April, admissions of severely malnourished children increased by 28% compared to the same period in 2021. At least 35 children died since mid-April because of food shortages. Nutrition supplies, and preventative and treatment interventions are needed.?
Food: severe food insecurity has resulted from displacement, movement restrictions, supply constraints, the loss of harvest and livelihoods, and disrupted markets. As at July 2022, 13 million people needed food assistance across all three regions. This number is a considerable increase from the nine million who needed food assistance in northern Ethiopia in November 2021. ?
Health: an estimated 3.9 million people in Tigray and ten million in Amhara need access to healthcare, which has drastically worsened since the start of conflict. Health facilities have been looted and destroyed, rendering the majority non-functional. Other health concerns include the lack of supplies for the treatment of chronic health issues and disease outbreaks.?
Nutrition: severe acute malnutrition rates are rising across the three regions, but a lack of clarity on the number of people screened for malnutrition per week, combined with issues of access to people in need, limits the understanding of the scale of the issue over time.?
WASH: roughly 70,500 IDPs living in collective sites in Tigray and more than 336,000 IDPs across 11 sites in Afar require water trucking. Fuel shortages and access constraints are among the issues preventing the sufficient distribution of WASH services and NFIs and the proper functionality of WASH infrastructure.?
Shelter: emergency shelter and NFI needs are high because of mass displacement, particularly after the spread of the Tigray conflict into Afar and Amhara and the reopening of schools that sheltered IDPs. Supply chain disruptions are causing NFI shortages. ?
- Because of limited access and communications blackouts, the extent of the needs in northern Ethiopia is hard to determine.
- There is a lack of recent food security data, especially in Tigray.
- There is a lack of information on displacement in Tigray given the lack of fuel in the region.
- Displacement figures for Amhara and Afar are unknown because of a lack of government capacity, access constraints, and multiple displacements.
Update from the October 2021 Risk Analysis
MEDIUM RISK LEVEL
Increasingly intense and widespread conflict in Afar and Amhara causes mass displacement, access constraints, food insecurity, and protection concerns
This risk has largely materialised as Tigrayan forces advanced south, but through Amhara and not Afar as suggested. On 31 October 2021, Tigrayan forces were able to control two strategic Amharan towns (Dessie and Kombolcha). These towns are located on a highway linking Addis Ababa to the port of Djibouti, increasing fears of the Tigrayan forces controlling the supply route.? They also formed an alliance with eight armed groups, including the Oromia Liberation Army, against Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Government, which greatly increased tensions across the country.? A few reports from Tigrayan refugees in Sudan indicated that the Eritrean Defense Forces were still involved in the conflict and supported the Ethiopian regional government forces.? The Ethiopian Government declared a six-month state of emergency on 3 November in response to the increased threat of Tigrayan forces advancing.? Many clashes erupted in Amhara and Afar over the control of towns, resulting in large-scale displacement and an increase in humanitarian needs.? The mass looting of humanitarian supplies happened over days at the beginning of December in Kombolcha and Dessie towns, resulting in the suspension of operations.? Since mid-December, fighting has shifted mostly to Afar, and there have been reports of large-scale displacement and access constraints. On 3 February 2022, unidentified armed men targeted Berahle camp in Afar region, displacing more than 14,000 Eritrean refugees. The attack killed at least five refugees, and the armed men kidnapped several women. The camp remains inaccessible, and the status of the remaining refugees is unknown.?
Update from the October 2021 Risk Analysis
HIGH RISK LEVEL
Intensified conflict in the Tigray region, a sustained humanitarian blockade, and the main harvest being missed for the second time result in mass starvation and deaths
This risk has partially materialised. The blockade has prevented access to Tigray, resulting in cash and fuel depletion. The 2021 Meher harvest has also been below average.? As at February 2022, large-scale fighting had not shifted back to Tigray but continued to affect border areas in Afar and Amhara, and airstrikes remained a security risk in Tigray. Data on starvation in the region remains unavailable, except for unverified information collected by local doctors and researchers. This information indicates that between late June and October, almost 200 children under the age of five died of starvation in 14 hospitals across Tigray.? On 26 November 2021, the Ethiopian regional government started to regain control of towns in Afar and Amhara regions, while the Tigrayan forces started to retreat.? Airstrikes over Tigray intensified between mid-October and the start of January 2022, increasing insecurity and affecting the Meher harvest season (October–January).? Access into Tigray has been challenging since mid-December because of active fighting in Afar, which is blocking the Semera-Abala-Mekele road into Tigray.? Fuel and cash have largely been depleted in Tigray, resulting in the suspension and reduction of humanitarian operations. Water-trucking operations are affected and cover only 19% of needs among IDPs. Stocks of nutrition supplies have been depleted, and stocks of food commodities are very low. By the end of January 2022, an estimated 80% of Tigray’s population are food insecure, with half of them suffering from an extreme lack of food.?