Northern Ethiopia conflict causes over 1 million displaced people

Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) soldiers   Ethiopian National Defense Force (ENDF) soldiers Photo by Yuzu2020 on iStock

23 April 2021

IOM estimates over 1 million people displaced across Ethiopia’s Tigray region and neighboring Afar and Amhara.

According to the UN, since the start of the conflict in the Northern Ethiopia region in November 2020, 4,5 million people in Tigray require humanitarian assistance. More precisely, data on the humanitarian situation has been collected through the monthly Emergency Site Assessment (ESA) by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). These assessments show that there are some 1,000,052 internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the 178 accessible locations in Tigray region, 45,434 in Afar region and 18,781 in Amhara region, with the highest concentration in Shire, with over 445,000 IDPs living in overcrowded shelters, including schools. 

The internal movements of IDPs suggest that they reach other towns and cities to seek humanitarian assistance and to have access to essential services, such as life-saving food assistance, emergency shelter, non-food items (bedding and kitchen sets), access to healthcare and to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). Although the high need of humanitarian assistance, increased insecurity and ongoing communications disruption across the region has made the Northwestern, Central, Eastern and Southern zones in Tigray region continue to hinder humanitarian response efforts.

IOM is currently monitoring the humanitarian situation and actively uses monthly area-based assessments to capture the number of IDPs, as well as their locations and needs to properly inform the humanitarian responses. Nevertheless, hostilities have been recently reported across all of Tigray’s six zones and access constraints, limited resources, and increased numbers of IDPs remain the biggest challenge.


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Author: Barbara Caltabiano

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