• High levels of food insecurity in Northern Ethiopia remains a major concern. Urgent action is needed to reach an estimated 9.4 million people with emergency food assistance.
• Since the start of operations in March 2021, WFP has provided food assistance to 2.9 million people and nutrition assistance to over 500,000 people in Northern Ethiopia, enabling affected populations to meet their immediate food needs.
The security situation in Northern Ethiopia is highly volatile, with the recent escalation of heavy clashes between Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) and Tigray Forces and their respective allied forces in the Amhara and Afar regions. Since then, Ethiopia’s Minister of Justice has declared a nationwide state of emergency.
Over 840,000 have been displaced due to conflict in the two regions, according to estimates by the Government of Ethiopia. On 30 October, Tigray Forces entered Dessie and Kombolcha towns in the Amhara Region. As insecurity persists, access to many of those in need is impeded. Deliveries to communities located beyond the lines of conflict have not been possible to date, further threatening the food security of families living there; 3.7 million people are estimated to be food insecure in the Amhara Region plus over 500,000 people in the Afar Region. WFP is working with its partners and contracted security companies on the ground to ensure its assets in Dessie and Kombolcha remain secure.
Since 18 October, WFP has not managed to deliver humanitarian cargo to the Tigray Region. Only 1,114 truckloads have entered since 12 July, which is not nearly enough to meet the needs of 5.2 million people in the region. Compounding the situation, fuel stocks inside the region have all but run out for humanitarian operations. This has caused WFP and its partners significantly reduce, and in some cases halt, their lifesaving activities in the Tigray Region.
Due to insecurity, all United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights into Mekelle have been suspended until further notice. WFP and UN partners continue to advocate with the Federal Government for safe and secure clearance of UNHAS flights and also with the Tigrayan authorities for security checks at the airport in Kombolcha for UNHAS flights to operate into the Amhara Region.
Since banking services are unavailable in the region, cash had previously been brought in by humanitarian actors via the UNHAS flights. Stocks of cash have now run very low or been completely depleted, making it impossible for WFP and its partners to resume operations at full scale.