Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Highlights

  • More than 3.3 million people of the targeted 5.2 million reached with food under the 2021 response plan since late March, reaching additional 567,000 people.
  • About 482,000 people of the targeted 3 million reached with emergency shelter and non-food items to date, reaching more than 50,000 additional people.
  • Denial of access, looting and confiscation of humanitarian assets and supplies by the parties to the conflict continues to be a major concern.
  • If not addressed immediately, food insecurity and acute malnutrition already at catastrophic levels in hard-to-reach areas will deteriorate towards a substantial famine.
  • Expanding the area-based coordination structure further from Mekelle and Shire to additional six locations with five OCHA staff covering the whole region.
Ethiopia
The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. © OCHA

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Key Figures

5.2M
People in need
5.2M
People targeted
63,110
Refugees in Sudan since 7 November

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Funding

$853M
Requirements (May - December)
$197M
Outstanding gap (May - July)
$502M
Outstanding gap (May - December)

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Contacts

Hayat Abu-Saleh

Public Information Officer

Peter Ekayu

Deputy Head of Office, OCHA Ethiopia

Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Background

Disclaimer

This report is prepared by OCHA Ethiopia with the support of Cluster Coordinators. The data/information collected covers the period from 29 May to 4 June. In some cases, access and communication constraints mean that updates for the period are delayed.  The next issue, covering the period from 5-11 June will be issued on 17 June 2021. 

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Background

Situation Overview

As scale-up of the response continues, the overall security situation remains challenging and unpredictable.  Armed clashes continue to be reported, particularly in North-Western, Central and Eastern Zones, affecting humanitarian operations and scale up to people in need and the provision of humanitarian and protection services.  

Incidents of temporary arrests and intimidation of humanitarian workers at military checkpoints as well as looting and confiscation of humanitarian assets and supplies continue . An INGO truck carrying 500 non-food items kits, flour and water treatment chemicals (chlorine)-funded by the Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund was seized reportedly by the Ethiopian Defense Forces. The drivers were handed over to the police where they have been reportedly severely mistreated, charged and released on bail days later. At the time of writing this report, partners have learned the content of the truck was confiscated while the truck is being used by the military. Similarly, six INGO staff returning from providing health and nutrition services in Tanqua Melash Woreda, Central Zone, were stopped at a military checkpoint on 1 June. They were interrogated, intimidated and physically assaulted and held at a nearby military compound for 10 hours. 

In North-Western Zone, partners report being denied movement in Endamadre checkpoint by Amhara Special Forces (ASF), impacting the movement of critical supplies from Gondar to Shire. Reportedly, ASF are requesting an authorization letter from interim authorities in Mae-Tsebri, which contravenes the declaration made by the Prime Minister’s Office on 3 March granting “unfettered access through Tigray to humanitarian organizations”. The situation in the check point in Agulae (Eastern Zone) located on the road between Mekelle and Adigrat has improved over the past two weeks, with previous denials of movement by parties to the conflict lifted. 

During the reporting period, OCHA, UNICEF and Save the Children International carried out joint assessment missions to several areas in Central Zone. which is one of the most affected zones by the conflict.  In Maryknetal, Edega Arabi, and Nablet towns, the mission observed dysfunctional water systems, looted and not functional health facilities, farmlands are being cultivated while limited number of people received food support. Several villages along the road were completely deserted and houses are looted. An INGO is providing medical support to pregnant and lactating women and children under the age of 5 twice a week. Similarly, in Adet, Naeder’s Dego Kebele (neighborhood), Naeder’s Daero Hafash Kebele, Chila Town, Ahsea and Egela Woredas, limited food assistance has been provided since the start of the conflict. There are no water and health services. In Rama Woreda, the situation is relatively better where an INGO has provided food assistance to more than 53,000 people out of the 75,000 population and to the 5000 IDPs staying with host community. The primary hospital is operational albeit with limited staff and limited medical equipment and supplies. Commercial activities have resumed although primary hospitals, schools, houses and shops have been looted.

In South-Eastern Zone, OCHA conducted an assessment mission to Gijet Town, Saharti Woreda on 1 June. According to local authorities, more than 8,000 people are displaced to the town with the majority staying with host community. Others are staying in the open air, exposed to COVID-19, cholera, and other health and protection risks. The upcoming rainy season risk to aggravate their situation. An INGO, along with the Government, provided a second round of food to more than 48,000 people. Limited emergency shelter, non-food items, nutrition supply and medicine were also provided by another INGO. 

If not addressed immediately, food insecurity and malnutrition risk which are already at catastrophic levels will continue to decline with the risk of substantial faminePreliminary field reports from Axum and Adwa (Central Zone) indicate visible signs of starvation among IDPs, where women and children look extremely weak, emaciated, and falling asleep for extended periods of time. In Zinban-Gedena Kebele, North-Western Zone, air workers noted severe need for food, after the harvests have been burnt or looted. Residents described signs of starvation among several men and women. At IDP sites in Adrigat, Eastern Zone, food is a priority gap, along with protection and adequate shelter.  

Urgent lifesaving and serious protection needs persist across the region, including sexual gender-based violence (SGBV) at a large scale. The reported cases of SGBV, however, do not represent the actual cases as underreporting is widespread due to fear of stigmatization and/or retaliation, limited access to trusted service providers, and widespread impunity for perpetrators. 

The Government reportedly plans IDPs relocations and return to areas of origin. Any returns of IDPs must be voluntary, safe, fully informed, dignified and in line with the Ethiopian Government’s commitment to Kampala Convention on protecting, assisting and resolving the plight of IDPs. 

To date, some 78,011 doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the region with 78 per cent in the community, 4 per cent for IDPs, and 18 per cent among health care workers. This includes over 13,000 people vaccinated during the week. More than 55 per cent of the vaccinated people are from Mekelle.

On 2 June, more than a dozen key donor countries jointly called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray region. “We need to act now to mitigate famine, protect civilians and save lives. All parties should cease hostilities, allow unhindered access and respect International Humanitarian Law,” the EU in Ethiopia tweeted.  

On 3 June, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs convened a meeting with humanitarian partners and  the diplomatic community. The Government briefed on progress including extension of NGO visas to three months, clearance for communications equipment, and opening Shire air strip for humanitarian cargo air transportation in two weeks, if security situation allows. Participants raised concerns of access restrictions and the need to strengthen civil-military coordination. 

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Visual

Humanitarian Access in Tigray

Access Map - Tigray Region

The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations. © OCHA

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Emergency Response

Humanitarian Preparedness and Response

There are currently [as of 10 June] 391 UN staff supporting the humanitarian response (85 international staff and 176 national staff in Mekelle and 23  international staff and 107 national staff in Shire).  Currently, there are 123 partners operating across the region: 70 international NGOs, 33 national NGOs, 11 UN agencies and 9 Government offices.

Humanitarian partners continue to scale up the response as quickly as possible, despite challenges. From 27 March to 2 June (since the start of round 1 food distribution of 2021), the three main food partners assisted more than 3.3 million people out of the targeted 5.2 million people in 65 Woredas, reaching additional nearly 567,000 people in one week (27 May-2 June). Nutrition partners are increasing nutrition screening reaching 34,362 children 6-59 months in in 37 Woredas, up from 21,115 children screened the previous week.  From 23-29 May, 36 Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams operated in 39 Woredas providing more than 16,000 people with medical consultationsup from about 11,000 people a week earlier.

To date, 481,975 (17 per cent of the targeted 3 million people) were reached with emergency shelter and non-food items. This is an increase from about 430,000 people reached a week earlier, with more than 50,000 additional people reached. With completed, ongoing, and already planned distributions, 874,075 people (31 percent) of the targeted 3 million will be reached. 

During the reporting period, the Logistics Cluster facilitated the transport of 446 MT of WASH, protection, shelter, health, food, nutrition and NFI cargo to Tigray on behalf of 9 partners, compared to 185 MT a week earlier.  Cluster partners are working with OCHA to begin UN-led convoys with partners to increase access and decrease diversion and looting.  It will also support the establishment of satellite hubs with mobile units storage for prepositioning of stocks ahead of rains. The Emergency Telecommunications sector is providing information and communications technology coordination services with a focus on strengthening staff capacity, security communications, and assessing options for humanitarian organizations to access internet services.

On 3 June, as part of expanding humanitarian presence, OCHA conducted a joint access and security mission to Mai Chew, Eastern Zone, to identify approved accommodation to facilitate extended mission to the area.

OCHA coordinated a 3-day workshop on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, including component of accountability to affected population, for 41 trainers from UN agencies, international and local NGOs, and the Government. 

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Agriculture

Needs

  • No updates since last reporting period

Response

  • About 83,506 quintals (a quintal equals 100kg) of fertilizer was distributed to agricultural cooperative unions, for further distribution to farmers.

  • Improved agricultural inputs were distributed to 19,234 farming households (96,170 people) in 12 Woredas in Central, Eastern, North Western, South Eastern and Southern Zones. 

  • Seed distributions are ongoing this week. Some 2,773 quintals were distributed out of the 8,611 quintals transported to the Woredas.

  • Mothers and Children Multi-Sectoral Development Organization (MCMDO) and FAO conducted a three day training on agronomic practices and project introduction in attended by 79 extension workers  in Mekelle.

Gaps

  • Lack of access to lands by farmers in a number of areas.

  • Access constraints and blocking fertilizer trucks to reach its destinations.

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Camp Coordination and Camp Management

Needs

  • Identification of additional IDP relocations sites.

  • Funding especially for shelter and WASH response is needed for IDP sites outside Mekelle and Shire.

  • Rising needs for nutrition supplementary feeding in the urban collective sites in Mekelle.

Response

  • Additional collective sites have been identified in Axum.

Gaps

  • Looting of construction materials in “Sabacare-4” IDP site in Mekelle and Five Angels site in Shire. 

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Education

Needs

  • Support the Regional Education Bureau (REB) with the rapid damage assessment of public schools in main cities including Shire, Adwa, Axum, and Adigrat.

Response

  • In support to the REB, verifying if any of the 36 unoccupied public primary and secondary schools are functional in line with reopening schools on 7 June 2021.

  • UNICEF supported the REB to conduct a rapid damages assessment of Mekelle public schools, covering 52 of the 58 schools. Some 50 of the 52 schools incurred significant damage and looting. 

  • Save the Children distributed school bags with stationery materials, high-energy biscuits and COVID-19 masks to 600 children in Adigrat. 

  • Save the Children started learning activities at 3 IDP sites in Mekelle for 429 children.

  • World Vision continued training their newly recruited teachers and facilitators in South-Eastern Zone on UNICEF’s innovative and integrated education and child protection approach. This includes 64 teachers for the accelerated learning program and 24 facilitators for the accelerated school readiness program from Hintalo, Wejerat, Enderta and Degua Temben.

  • USAID funded READ II program engaged 330 community members on psychosocial support, social-emotional learning and education in emergencies. 

Gaps

  • No update since last reporting period.

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Emergency Shelter & Non-Food Items

Needs

  • Identify unfinished building including private residentials, guest houses, and commercial buildings for IDPs to support their relocation from schools and those in host community. 

Response

  • To date, 481,975 (17 percent of the targeted 3 million people) were reached with emergency shelter and non-food items. With completed, ongoing, and planned distributions, 874,075 people (31 percent) of the targeted 3 million will be reached. 

  • Identification of additional land for construction of IDP site in Mekelle. The new site will accommodate 252 duplex shelter units. INGOs Catholic Relief Services and Samaritan Purse started the construction this week. 

  • Completion of construction of 560 shelters in Shire. 

Gaps

  • No updates since last reporting period.

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Food

Needs

  • No updates since last reporting period. 

Response

  • From 27 March to 2 June (since the start of round 1 food distribution of 2021), the three main food partners assisted  3,350,979 people with 56,841 metric tons (MT) of food in 65 Woredas.

  • While Round 1 distribution is ongoing, partners are simultaneously conducting Round 2 distribution, which was launched on 10 May.

  • From 27 May-2 June, food partners distributed 8,906 MT of food to 527,339 people under Round 1; and 39,638 people have been assisted with 671 MT of food under Round 2. 

  • The National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) distributed 1,573 MT of food to 104,833 people in Ofla, Zata, and Raya Alamata Woredas in Southern Zone and 570 MT of food to 18,986 people in Maykadra and Humera Woredas in Western Zone. 

  • As of 2 June, WFP has distributed 18,534 MT of food to 1,093,566 people under round 1.  WFP has also started round 2 of distribution, assisting 39,638 people with 671 MT of food in Korem and Ofla Woredas in Southern Zone.

  • The Joint Emergency Operation Program (JEOP) distributed 97 per cent of the allocated 66,736 MT of food to 1,910,520 people targeted in round 6/7 with double rations, which started in October 2020.

  • From 27 March to 2 June, JEOP has assisted 2,133,594 people for the first round of assistance for 2021.

Gaps

  • Delays with completing the list of targeted people in some accessible Woredas mainly due to the increasing needs on the ground which is often greater than the approved caseload quota; insecurity, lack of documentation among the affected population; and poor or non-existing local Government structure particularly in rural areas. This continues to delay the launch of planned food distributions. 

  • Flexibility for including new caseloads without quota limitation in food assistance is urgently needed. 

  • Access and security challenges to reach affected populations significantly delaying the first round of food distribution in some areas. 

  • In locations with partial access, affected populations, if allowed safe passage, are often required to walk for a long distance to the food distribution points. 

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Health

Needs

  • Additional funding needed to operate all the 55 Mobile and Health and Nutrition Teams (MHNT) currently operating in the region.

  • Increase the number of MHNTs to reach hard-to-reach areas.

  • Additional partners to support the Oral Cholera Vaccination and COVID-19 vaccination preparedness and response.

Response

  • The Regional Health Bureau and Health Cluster partners currently have the capacity to operate over 55 Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams (MHNTs) in 57 Woredas

  • From 23-29 May, 36 MHNTs operated in 39 Woredas providing 16,387 people with medical consultationscompared to 40 MHNTs in 34 Woredas reaching 11, 603 out-patients, a week earlier.

  • Provision of medical supplies to partners and to the Regional Health Bureau.

  • To date, some 78,011 doses of  COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in the region with 78% in the community, 4% for IDPs, and 18% among health care workers. This includes over 13,000 people vaccinated during the week. More than 55% of the people vaccinated are from Mekelle. 

  • Some 179 health facilities reported disease surveillance data in 40 Woredas.

  • Nutrition treatment kits distributed to 3 stabilization centres in Mekelle targeting 150 people.                     

  • Some 1320 liters of fuel provided for ambulances operation to facilitate sever acute malnutrition referral cases from Ofla, Endamekoni and Rayazebo Woredas.

  • Training on mental health provided to 34 professionals from Shire and surrounding areas. 

  • Training on clinical management of COVID-19 and public health emergency 30 professional in Mekelle. 

Gaps

  • COVID-19 vaccination has not commenced in the Western Zone due to insecurity. 

  • Inability to operate at Raya Alamata, Southern Zone, due to admin issue. 

  • Lack of access to Neksege, and Zata Woredas, Southern Zone, due to insecurity.

  • Lack of cash due to banking restrictions affecting response.

  • Frequent power outages and fuel shortages.

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Logistics

Needs

  • No updates since last reporting period.

Response

  • The Logistics Cluster has facilitated the dispatch of over 3900 metric tons of humanitarian cargo since December 2020 on behalf of its partners along the main routes into Tigray, primarily Gondar – Mai Tsebri – Shire routes, and from Kombolcha to Mekelle.Secondary routes have yet to be serviced due to lack of requests from partners for delivering of cargo along these routes.

  • During the reporting period, the Logistics Cluster facilitated the transport of 446 MT of WASH, protection, shelter, health, food, nutrition and NFI cargo to Tigray on behalf of 9 partners, compared to 185 MT a week earlier.

  • The Logistics Cluster currently supports 41 partners in the Tigray response and is on standby to facilitate access to a dedicated WFP fleet to support the humanitarian community, should commercial transport become unavailable.

Gaps

  • Lack of access remains the main challenge of the response. 

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Nutrition

Needs

  • No update since last reporting period.

Response

  • Nutrition partners continued to scale up nutrition screening in 37 out of 93 Woredas of Tigray region, reaching 34,362 children 6-59 months, up from 21,115 the previous week.  

  • Some 1,123 children were identified with severe acute malnutrition (3.2% of the total screened) and enrolled on lifesaving treatment compared to 703 cases in the previous week (3.3%)

  • During the week, 11,985 children 6-59 months received blanket supplementary food, while 1,862 children 6-59 months with moderate acute malnutrition received food commodities.  

  • Some 1,507 pregnant and breastfeeding/lactating women (PLW) received blanket food rations, and 2,668 PLWs suffering from acute malnutrition received food rations.    

  • Moreover, progress continued on malnutrition prevention response with 2,663 pregnant women, mothers and caregivers of children less than 24 months received appropriate individual infant and young feeding counselling.  In addition, 6,804 children 6-59 months receiving vitamin A supplementation, and 3,835 children 24-59 months each received a deworming tablet. 

Gaps

  • Access restrictions across the region hindering nutrition response. 

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Protection

Needs

  • Protection for children, including a high number of unaccompanied and separated children, women and girls as they are affected by crisis induced protection concerns  of violence, family  separation, and psychosocial  distress. Increased family tracing and  reunification capacity. More than 5,400 unaccompanied and separated children have been identified. 

Response

  • In preparation of IDPs relocation to “Sabacare-4” site, UNHCR constructed 17 protection desks at IDP hosting sites in Mekelle to monitor, provide information and counselling to IDPs during the relocation process. This brings the total protection desks available to 19.  

  • In partnership with UNICEF, the Bureau of Labour and Social Affairs (BoLSA), Imagine One  Day and Action Against Hunger provided critical child protection services to 927 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), including 468 girls,  and other vulnerable children at IDP sites in Mekelle and Shire. Out of these, 58 children, including 26 girls, are  placed  in kinship  and  foster families with follow up  and  cash support.

  • Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) provided cash support to 300  families  caring for UASC in Shire.

  • IOM, Save the Children, and Imagine One Day provided psychosocial services to 5,997 displaced people and children including 3,014 females in  Mekelle, Shire, Adigrat, and Axum. The services included child friendly spaces, recreational services, general mental health awareness, psychoeducation, and individual psychosocial counselling.  

  • With  UNICEF  support, 21 rape cases reported  in One Stop Center in Ayider Hospital, Shire and  Hintalla. Partners provided survivors with medical, psychosocial, and case  management  services. Four of them were  referred to safe house in Mekelle for further safety and rehabilitation  support. 

  • Local NGO Action for Social Development and Environmental Protection Organization (ASDEPO) provided 3000 women and girls of reproductive age with dignity kits in Adawa.

  • UNHCR-funded partner Innovative Humanitarian Solutions continued with protection monitoring activities in Adi Daero, Mekelle, Sheraro, Shire and Endabaguna towns. Some 27 people with special needs and 127 children at risk were identified. 

Gaps

  • Slow implementation of family tracing and  reunification due to limited capacity of protection partners.

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

Needs

  • WASH NFIs for IDPs in the existing IDP sites.

  • WASH response for about 561,000 people at new IDPs sites across the region.

  • Some 169 water trucks are needed to fill the gap with water trucking.

Response

  • Completion of the borehole; 12  water tanks platforms; 184 latrine stances and  112 showers at “Sabacare-4 “ IDP relocation site in Mekelle. 

  • Completion of 40 showers  at 5 Angels IDP site in Shire.

  • Some 1920 people received WASH NFIs assistance at Mekelle collective center

  • UNICEF provided 109 drums (45 kg each) of chlorine for water treatment to Regional Water Bureau (RWB).

  • UNICEF provided 106 boxes of aqua tabs  to RWB  benefiting 74,200 people in Eastern, Central  and North-Western Zones. 

  • Netherlands Development Organization (SNV) provided 68 drums ( 45 kg each)  of chlorine to RWB in Mekelle.

  • Local NGO Relief Society of Tigray (REST) rehabilitated 18 shallow well in Atsbi Woreda  (Eastern zone), Degua Temben and Enderta Woredas ( South-Eastern Zone ), Keyhe tekli Woreda ( Central zone), and Emba Alaje Woreda (Southern Zone). 

  • RWB maintained  4 motorized borehole  in Enderta Woreda (South-Eastern Zone )  and in Wukro town ( Eastern Zone )  benefiting 14,000 people.

  • INGO Save the Children provided 1,300 liters of fuel for water treatment plan in Axum town.

  • The Lutheran World Federation distributed 500 dignity kits in Mekelle collective centers (Ethio China) benefiting 2,750 people.

  • INGO  Action Against Hunger, with UNICEF financial support, made community sensitization for 11,448 people in Abi-Adi (Central Zone).

Gaps

  • Water trucking operations declined from 139 to 116 due to lack of funding.

  • Construction of 34  latrine stance and  74 showers at “Sabacare-4”.

  • Limited WASH partners in Central, South-Eastern and North-Western Zones.

  • Fuel shortage in Shire and Axum.

  • Limited water tucking in Hawzen Woreda (Eastern Zone) due to access restrictions.

  • Delay with resuming WASH response in urban centers due to looting and destruction of water utilities offices. 

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Coordination

Regular Meetings

Coordination platforms are being strengthened. The Inter-Cluster Coordination Groups (ICCG) have been activated in Mekelle and Shire and are holding regular meetings. However, Tigray UN-led clusters have very varied levels of capacity. Given the scale of the crisis and the need for coordination and information management, all clusters urgently require dedicated full-time coordinators and IMOs. The Interim Administration-led Tigray Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) continues to meet weekly with all clusters and with the humanitarian community.

The humanitarian community is now decentralizing the coordination structure further from Mekelle and Shire. A decentralized area-based coordination system is being set- up in additional five locations (Maichew, Abi-Adi, Adigrat, Axum and Sheraro), with five OCHA staff, covering the whole region. This coordination system is working with emergency telecoms partners for installation of emergency telecoms, UN Department of Safety and Security for security focal points in each location, and with the logistics cluster to establish mobile storage units for prepositioning of relief items using UN led convoys for delivery to hubs. This is to bring the response closer to those in need, buffer against continuous access interruptions and mitigate against diversion of assistance and looting currently being experienced by partners operating without UN escorts.  

An Emergency Response Framework has also been established including 3 key operational strategies: IDP host community strategy; famine prevention and response strategy; and protection strategy. 

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Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report
Emergency Response

Funding Update

On 14 May, humanitarian partners finalized a Northern Ethiopia Response Plan requesting US$853 million to address the multi-sector needs of 5.2 million people. Despite agencies’ reallocation of funds and new funding received, the humanitarian response is facing a significant funding gap of $502 million until the end of the year and $197 million until the end of July. As information on needs and requirements is further clarified the requirements will be updated.

On 09 June, USAID Administrator, Samantha Power, announced that the US is providing more than $181 million to deliver life-saving food, agricultural supplies, safe drinking water, shelter, health care, and essential services to protect the most vulnerable in Tigray region. 

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