A. THE DISASTER AND THE RED CROSS RED CRESCENT RESPONSE TO DATE
This Operations Update is issued to announce a revision to the Secretariat component of the Ethiopia Plan of Action (PoA) which is part of the coordinated MDRTIGRAY Tigray Crisis: Population Movement Complex Emergency Appeal. The PoA revision is required to respond to the deterioration in the acute food insecurity situation in Ethiopia.
For information on the overall Emergency Appeal which is a multi-country Federation-wide response to the cascading effects of the Tigray crisis across Djibouti, Ethiopia and Sudan please refer to Operations Update no.2 issued on 20 June 2021.
3 – 4 November 2020: Fighting erupts between Ethiopian Defense Forces and security forces in the Tigray Region following an attack in Mekele on a military base resulting population movement, including across the border to neighbouring Djibouti and Sudan
18 November 2020: IFRC releases CHF 498,763 from the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) support Sudan Red Crescent Society (SRCS) provide assistance to 40,000 people that had crossed the border from Ethiopia into Gedaref and Kassala.
20 November 2021: IFRC releases CHF 359,213 from the DREF to support Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) aid 7,500 people that had been displaced into Amhara region; as well as complete assessments in Tigray region and other areas.
26 January 2021: IFRC issues a coordinated Tigray Crisis: Population Movement Complex Emergency Appeal requesting CHF 27 million to support 600,000 people as part of a multi-country response across Ethiopia (355,000), Sudan (300,000) and Djibouti (5,000).
30 March 2021: IFRC issues a revised Federation-wide Emergency Appeal; with a retained funding requirement of CHF 27 million comprising: CHF 9.4 million Secretariat (Ethiopia CHF million, Sudan CHF 4.4 million, Djibouti CHF 0.5 million, Regional Coordination CHF 1.5 million), and CHF 17.6 million bilateral.
June 2021: Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) reports that 5.5 million people in Tigray and neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions are facing Acute Food Insecurity.
28 June 2021: IFRC issues a communication informing partners of the deterioration in food insecurity in northern Ethiopia (Afar, Amhara and Tigray); and need for CHF 2.5 million to support ERCS scale up their response in these areas.
28 June 2021: Ethiopian Government announces a unilateral ceasefire in Tigray.
15 July 2021: Reports of clashes between need for Ethiopia Defence Forces and security forces in Tigray persist.
Since November 2020, fighting between the Ethiopian Government and the Tigray Defence Forces has resulted in loss of life; injuries; destruction of property and infrastructure; displacement; loss of livelihood and has led to psychological distress. Displaced populations from Tigray region and other internally displaced people (IDPs) remain in camps. The number of people across the country in need of humanitarian assistance has increased to more than 16 million people.
On 28 June 2021, a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray was announced by the Ethiopian Government; and while movement and access are improving, the security situation in the region remains a concern. There continues to be reports of clashes; and remains disruption to basic services such as electricity and communications, as well as reduction in availability of cash, food, and fuel.
Food insecurity and malnutrition across northern Ethiopia has escalated due to the cascading effects of the fighting, including population displacements, movement restrictions, loss of harvest and livelihoods assets, and dysfunctional or non-existent markets.
It is estimated that 5.5 million people are facing acute food insecurity in Tigray and the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara, with 353,000 people in Catastrophic situation (IPC Phase 5) which is the highest number of people in this category since the 2011 Somalia. Furthermore, there are 2.1 million people in food insecurity crisis (IPC Phase 4), and 3.1 million in Crisis (IPC Phase 3), between May and June 2021. This is despite major humanitarian assistance that has reached up to 5 million in the last few months. There is an urgent need to scale up humanitarian assistance; with the planting season currently underway, and therefore if people do not receive seeds, tools and other livelihoods assistance, there is a danger that the situation could be further exacerbated. Latest projections for July to September 2021, are already indicating that the number of people in IPC Phase 5 is expected to increase to more than 400,000.
In other areas of Ethiopia, the humanitarian situation remains of considerable concern. In Amhara region, there has been new spates of ethnic violence in North Shewa and Oromo Special Zone of Amhara region which has resulted in the displacement of 250,000 people. There are also concerns regarding the deteriorating situation in Benishangul-Gumuz, where unknown armed groups are gaining momentum in western areas of the region and restricting access.
Though casting of votes in the 2021 general elections have been done peacefully, the postponement of elections in Harari and Somali regions, as well as delayed declaration of results in some polling stations raises concerns on perceptions on the regularity in which they were conducted which may impact opposition groups acceptance of the results. In the complex security situation, these factors continue to exacerbate the risk of election-related violence.