On November 4, conflict broke out in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
Thousands have been displaced internally and almost 50,000 Ethiopians have fled to neighboring Sudan.
In Tigray, a humanitarian crisis looms, as critical shortages in such essential supplies as food, water, medication and cash worsen.
International Medical Corps is ready to provide lifesaving services to the affected and displaced people in Tigray and surrounding regions, with a focus on health and nutrition.
On November 4, conflict broke out in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, when the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) allegedly attacked a regional command post of the Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF). The violence was a result of long-simmering struggles between the semi-autonomous region and the national government that were brought to a head when Tigray proceeded with regional elections in September despite the federal government’s postponement of the elections due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In response to the alleged attack, the Ethiopian government declared a state of emergency, cut off government services and travel to the region, and launched a counter-offensive. Though federal forces captured the regional capital of Mekelle on November 28, the TPLF has said it will continue fighting, and there have indeed been reports of continuing conflict, especially in the region’s mountainous areas, where the TPLF leadership is said to be hiding. There are concerns that if fighting continues, it could lead to further destabilization of the region and displacement of the population on an evenlarger scale.
The government of Ethiopia has announced an agreement with the UN that will allow unimpeded, sustained and secure access for humanitarian supplies to reach those in need. However, in reality it remains difficult to fully assess needs and access those most affected. It remains unclear just how many people have been displaced, their exact locations and the support they need.
In Sudan, more than 49,3701 refugees have been registered at the crossing points along the Sudan-Ethiopia border.
Refugees are arriving mainly in Gedaref and Kassala states—to Lugdi and Abderafi in Gedaref state, and to the remote border locations of Hamdayet in Kassala state. The crossing points are incredibly remote and are accessible only through sand tracks and non-paved roads. From the border points, refugees are transported to existing refugee camps and registration sites that are already reaching maximum capacity. In Hamdayet, nearly 20,000 people remain at the registration center and in the host community, with most families sleeping out in the open.2 Sudan already hosts 1 million refugees and 2 million internally displaced people, is undergoing a period of political transition and it is suffering an economic crisis with unprecedented rates of hyperinflation (up to 200%)3 and fuel shortages. The country is also experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases, after having locked down between April and August 2020 and suffering further damage to its economic stability as a result.