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Multi-Country Response in Ethiopia, Sudan, and Djibouti: Ethiopia’s Crisis and its Humanitarian Consequences (Revised Emergency Appeal n°2 MDRTIGRAY)

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The second revision of the Federation Wide Emergency Appeal addresses the rapidly evolving humanitarian needs and operational context in Ethiopia and neighbouring Sudan and Djibouti. This revised Emergency Appeal endeavours to ensure relevance and agility in the provision of humanitarian assistance, including preparedness and readiness measures and considered key lessons learnt during the response. The Federation Wide funding requirement is retained at CHF 27 million given the severity and now protracted nature of the humanitarian situation. Please refer to Operations Update – Six Month for information on the accomplishments made thus far under the Emergency Appeal.


The crisis in Ethiopia continues to have a profound and devastating impact on women, men, children, and families. The year-long fighting combined with multiple natural disasters has left people homeless, jobless, traumatized, and hungry.

The humanitarian situation and prevailing outlook remain of grave concern. Latest reports indicate that 14.8 million people in Ethiopia are now in need of humanitarian assistance across the country, due to the combined consequences of conflict, drought, epidemics, food insecurity, pest outbreaks, and population movement.

Sustained fighting in locations across northern Ethiopia since November 2020 has resulted in the loss of life; injuries; destruction of property and infrastructure; displacement; loss of livelihood and has led to psychological distress. In June 2021, a humanitarian ceasefire was announced inside the Tigray region, however, fighting has persisted with increasing spillover of violence into adjacent Afar and Amhara. This has generated new population movement, including the displacement of affected people for the second and third time. On 2 November 2021, a state of emergency was declared, underpinning the protracted nature of the fighting, and deep concerns regarding the security situation.

Meanwhile, multiple natural and man-made shocks have been aggravated by the effects of the violence, exacerbating humanitarian needs even further. Compounding impacts of climatic shocks, devastating desert locust infestation, the continued economic consequences of COVID-19, and below-average rainfall, particularly in the south and south-eastern parts of the country, have led to a deterioration in food insecurity. An estimated 4.4 million people across the country are now facing acute food insecurity, of which 400,000 people are experiencing catastrophic conditions.

In other regions of the country, Benishangul Gumuz, Oromia, and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regions (SNNPR), violence has continued to flare up creating humanitarian needs.

In Sudan, the crisis has led to an increased number of arrivals of people from Ethiopia seeking safety across the border, predominantly to Gedaref, Blue Nile and Kassala states. More than 58,000 arrivals have been reported by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and Sudan’s Government Commissioner for Refugees (COR) – with this number continuing to increase as violence in Ethiopia persists. The rapid pace of the refugee influx has required a scale-up of services to respond to the urgent needs of refugees; as well as reduce the impact on host communities and the local environment. Sudan is also contending with the effects of devastating flooding, and an economic crisis that has resulted in spiralling inflation rates, with basic items now increased by 200%. On 25 October 2021, a military takeover led to widespread demonstrations in Khartoum and other states including Gedaref. The current political situation might further compound the humanitarian situation.

In other countries that share a border with Ethiopia, the influx of refugees has thus far been modest. However, with the escalation of fighting in new areas, the situation is fluid, and there is the possibility of prospective Ethiopian refugee population movement into Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, and South Sudan. In Djibouti, there is a refugee camp at Hol Hol on the border of Ethiopia, and population movement is possible due to cultural and ethnic affinity. While the porous borders with northern Kenya and western Sudan, present points where people could also cross. In these areas, residents are already experiencing challenging conditions. An influx of arrivals from Ethiopia could increase pressure on scarce resources, prompting further instability, and generating a humanitarian situation which authorities are not yet prepared for.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is bringing together its members and partners to enable the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS), Sudanese Red Crescent Society (SRCS), and Djibouti Red Crescent Society (DRCS) to scale up the lifesaving humanitarian response and preparedness for future actions. The respective National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies are leading the response operation to reach the most vulnerable population through the mobilization of their staff and volunteers. The National Societies, as impartial, neutral, and independent organizations, have unparalleled access to and acceptance from communities across their countries, which allow them to work without disruption in sensitive areas. They are supported by the IFRC, its member National Societies, and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The crisis in Ethiopia remains continuously complex and evolving, and the IFRC and membership under this revised Emergency Appeal will support host National Societies with scenario-based contingency and readiness planning so that the response can be adapted as necessary, and service delivery sustained. National Society strengthening investments will include pre-positioning of stocks, securing pipelines to deliver humanitarian assistance; strengthening of strategically located branches including those at border points; sustaining communications, including internet and mobiles; and skills development of staff and volunteers.

There will also be collaboration and coordination with National Societies in neighbouring countries (Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and others) to ensure readiness planning should the humanitarian consequences of the crisis have cascading impacts within the sub-region. In this event that there are emerging needs in other countries resulting from this crisis, which trigger a need to scale up the response, consideration will be given to the revision of the Emergency Appeal and associated Operational Strategy