• 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 Mekelle and an attack on the Danasha military barracks.?

Renewed political tensions between the two parties had flared up in August 2020, following the nationwide postponement of national elections by the federal government. These were originally scheduled for 29 August and postponed because of COVID-19.?The region of Tigray held elections on 11 September in defiance of the nationwide postponement. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed claimed that these elections were unconstitutional.?In light of this, the federal government severed its diplomatic relations with the Tigray region and the TPLF government on 12 September.?

On 7 October, the House of Federation – Ethiopia's upper house of parliament – voted to withhold budgetary subsidies from the Tigray region. The TPLF government recalled its representatives in Addis Ababa and threatened to withhold tax revenues from the federal government in retaliation.?

The escalation of violence in the Tigray region has resulted in an unknown number of reported casualties. Prior to the onset of the violence, there were 2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, including  96,000 refugees and 100,000 IDPs in the region. More than 45,000 refugees have already crossed the border into neighbouring Sudan.?

The Tigray region has been under an almost complete communications blackout since 4 November.?Internet and telephone lines have been cut, and there is very little information passing in or out of the region. This has severely limited humanitarian needs assessments and operations.?

From 4 November–3 December, only three humanitarian organisations were granted partial access to the Tigray region. On 3 December, the Federal Government of Ethiopia came to an agreement with the UN to open Tigray’s borders to humanitarian aid.?

Latest Developments


18/01/2021: Rice prices have increased by as much as 100% in Tigray region in comparison with pre-crisis levels. Fuel price increases are as high as 1,000%. Around 600,000 people were already dependent on food aid in the region. Households continue to lose economic opportunities due to the conflict, and are less able to afford food.?


12/01/2021: Over 222,000 people are internally displaced due to the conflict in the Tigray region that broke out on 4 November. Humanitarian access into some areas of Tigray has slightly improved since December 2020, however, insecurity and bureaucratic constraints remain a challenge. The needs for those affected by the conflict are shelter/NFIs, food, WASH, and health and protection services.?



Food: Shortages of food have been reported in the region, where more than 600,000 people were already dependent on food aid. The conflict and difficulty in access have prevented the delivery of humanitarian food assistance.?

Health: Health needs in the Tigray region are high. Health facilities outside of major cities are non-functional, while health facilities in major cities are partially operating, with limited to no stocks of medical and food supplies and an absence of health workers – many of whom have fled the conflict.?

Shelter and non-food items: ICRC reports that an unknown number of people in Tigray are living in makeshift shelters. Shelter is needed for the more than 45,000 refugees who have crossed the border into Sudan. Shortages of fuel have been reported.?