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Ethiopia - Northern Ethiopia Humanitarian Update Situation Report, 11 Nov 2021

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  • An estimated 2.7 million children in northern Ethiopia are affected by destroyed or damaged schools or by IDPs sheltering in schools.
  • It is estimated that 80 per cent of essential medication is no longer available in Tigray while most health facilities are not functional due to damage and lack of supplies.
  • The cancer treatment program at Ayder referral Hospital in Tigray has closed, leaving some 500 patients without treatment.
  • Nearly 7,000 children in Amhara reached with learning programs, school feeding, scholastic materials, and temporary learning spaces.
  • Two revised response plans for Ethiopia released capturing new needs, including in northern Ethiopia, with funding gaps of $US 1.3 billion.


Situation Overview

The situation in northern Ethiopia remains highly unpredictable and dynamic, with severe impact on civilians. Fighting across Amhara have resulted in large-scale displacements from North Gonder, Wag Hemra, North and South Wello zones as well as in and around Dessie, Kombolcha, Baati and Kamissie, increasing humanitarian needs, including emergency shelter, food, safe and clean drinking water, medicines and health services, dignity and hygiene kits for women, and protection services. Thousands of people were also reportedly displaced from Chifra Woreda, Awsi Zone and in few locations in Ada`ar Woreda in Afar.

In Amhara, tens of thousands of IDPs have reportedly registered in Debre Berhan, with several sheltering in two schools in the city. Some IDPs in Dessie and Kombolcha towns, who arrived from nearby Habru and Kutaber *Woredas *during the last few weeks, reportedly started to return to their places of origin. The majority of IDPs are women and children.

The delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance has been hampered by access constraints due to insecurity as well as the limited presence of humanitarian partners on the ground. Electricity and telecommunications have been cut in Dessie and Kombolcha since 30 October and commercial flights to Kombolcha have been suspended since mid-October. Electricity and communications are also intermittent in Semera and Logia towns in Afar, as the main transmitter in Kombolcha is out of use. The water supply has also been disrupted and supplies in stores are depleted with commercial supply lines having been disrupted.

Meanwhile, no UN-organized humanitarian supplies have arrived into Tigray Region through the Semera-Abala-Mekelle route since 18 October. Some 364 trucks are on hold in Semera, pending authorization from the authorities to proceed. An estimated 100 trucks with food, non-food items, and fuel must enter Tigray daily to meet critical humanitarian needs.

Fuel needed for the humanitarian response has not entered Tigray since early August. The Sixteen fuel tankers that were in Semera have been requested back to Addis or Adama by the Federal Police and as of 9 November, nine of the tankers have arrived in Adama. Only 12 trucks of fuel (approximately 282,000 liters) have entered the region on 12 July. This is enough to carry out humanitarian operations for one week only.

Lack of essential medical equipment, supplies, vaccines and medicines across Tigray is seriously impacting the availability of health care and threatening the lives of patients. It is estimated that 80 per cent of essential medication is no longer available while most health facilities are not functional due to damage and lack of supplies. Out of the 59 mobile health and nutrition teams (MHNTs) which operated at the end of August, only 19 (33 per cent) are currently providing services due to lack of supplies and fuel.

Ayder Hospital in Mekelle, the only referral hospital in Tigray Region, reported that since the start of the conflict, 47 people have died of kidney failure due to lack of equipment for regular dialysis. 32 patients with chronic kidney diseases receive treatment only twice a week, instead of the standard three times, due to limited supplies and medicine. Cancer patients are also affected with the last remaining stock of expired chemotherapy drugs now being used. New cancer diagnosed patients are not receiving any drugs. As a result of an estimated 500 cancer patients are now without treatment.

With harvesting season having commences, farmers in five areas in North-Western Zone, for instance, started harvesting maize, teff and finger millet. This is expected to improve the household food security of small holder farmers, but it is not enough as not all farmlands were planted due to lack of cash and agricultural supplies. Farmers are also collecting and storing hay and crop residuals (feed) to improve livestock milk production and animals' body conditions. In Tsimbla, also in North-Western Zone, more than 1,000 tons of hay were reportedly collected and stored.

According to survey and control teams, there was no major threat of Desert Locust reported in the last few weeks in Tigray, but FAO recent report confirmed presence of immature swarms in Afar. Across northern Ethiopia, survey and control operations remain compromised due to insecurity.

In conflict affected areas in Afar and Amhara regions, cattle farmers are negatively affected by market disruption as they rely on these markets for animal trade and food purchase. They currently have no access to the market to sell their livestock and to buy food. As a result, food prices have significantly increased while livestock prices have remained low due to low demand.

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