The humanitarian situation of the Tigray region in Ethiopia is proving to be a real challenge for humanitarian international organizations and NGOs. Access remains unpredictable while the humanitarian needs are rising.

According to OCHA more than 2 million people have been displaced by the conflict and our Ethiopia Forum confirms that the number of IDPs is increasing steadily.

Food aid is the top priority at the moment. In Mekelle, the capital city of the Tigray region, churches and host communities are doing their best to accommodate the needs of those in need, but their efforts are not enough. Schools used as IDPs centres are packed with people who live on top of each other. This is concerning from a health and hygiene point of view, but it is also insufferable for those living there.

“There is no privacy and no dignity”, says Elizabeth Zimba, ACT Alliance’s Regional Representative for Africa.

The constant influx of IDPs from the rural areas, where the conflict is intense, to the urban areas poses a massive WASH challenge to the humanitarian relief operations. Water points have been damaged and need to be restored as a matter of urgency.

Transport of supplies, particularly from Addis, is difficult and complicated by the rainy season which is also a deterrent for IDPs to move to the resettlement camps.

To complicate matters further, elections are imminent, and this could negatively impact the humanitarian response and hinder access to the concerned areas even more.

ACT members are currently involved in providing cash transfers to thousands of IDPs along with food distribution, water, sanitation and hygiene, psychosocial support, and protection.  Protection remains a major area of concern in the region.  A key aspect of the protection work undertaken by members of ACT involves the prevention of gender-based violence.

ACT members the Ethiopia Evangelical Church of Mekane Yesus Development and Social Services Commission (DASSC) and Norwegian Church Aid (NCA) have provided training to IDP committees, elders and religious leaders on prevention of gender-based violence and how to protect IDPs and to support survivors of SGBV. Religious leaders, both in host communities and IDP communities, are sharing their learnings with their communities on issues related to SGBV.

ACT Alliance has launched an appeal in January 2021. The appeal is currently only 28% funded.

“It is imperative that we look at helping the Tigray region by financially supporting our appeal” says Niall ORouke, Head of Humanitarian Affairs at ACT Alliance. “The humanitarian needs are growing and we must scale up our response to help the millions of men, women and children who are in dire need, and restore their dignity and hope”.