The situation in northern Ethiopia remains precarious and volatile with the continuation of active hostilities in several locations leading to increased humanitarian needs and vulnerabilities due to large-scale displacement, loss of livelihoods and access to markets, food, and basic services. Humanitarian partners have limited or no access to a large segment of the population across the three affected regions, hampering the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance.
In Tigray, humanitarian access to the region slightly improved during the reporting period. Between 24-30 November, four convoys with 157 trucks with humanitarian supplies arrived in Mekelle, for the first time since 18 October. Fuel has not arrived in Tigray via the Afar route since 2 August, with eight tankers currently in Semera (Afar) waiting for clearance to proceed.
On 24 November, UNHAS resumed flights between Addis Ababa and Mekelle following their suspension on 22 October. A second flight took place on 25 November. UNHAS will be operating two flights per week from and to Mekelle. As a result, UN and humanitarian partners were able to rotate staff in and out of Tigray and transfer a limited amount of operational cash.
WFP reported in a statement on 26 November that the number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance across northern Ethiopia has grown to an estimated 9.4 million as a direct result of conflict. Amhara Region has seen the largest increase of people in need with 3.7 million people now in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. The humanitarian situation in parts of Amhara, including North Wollo, Wag Hemra and parts of South Wello, as well as in conflict-affected areas in Afar, are of particular concern due to disruption of livelihoods and markets and lack of access to humanitarian assistance. In Tigray region, 5.2 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, of which at least 400,000 are believed to be facing famine-like conditions.
In Amhara, new displacements continue to be reported due to the ongoing conflict. For example, the number of collective sites hosting IDPs in Debre Berhane increased from six to 10, despite three-quarters of those displaced are living within the host community. Similarly, the number of IDP sites in Kombolcha increased from two to 17 during the same period.
Following reports of large-scale displacement from Western Zone in Tigray to Mai-Tsebri, Sheraro and Dedebit Woredas in North-Western Zone since 20 November, preliminarily findings from an inter-agency assessment indicates that several thousand people arrived in Dedebit, 70 km west of Shire. The number is likely to increase as the flow of new arrivals continue. Most of the new arrivals are women, children, elderly, and sick people. It is estimated that about 1.2 million people were displaced from the Western Zone to other parts of Tigray, while more than 70,000 people were displaced to Sudan since the start of the conflict in November last year.
In Afar Region, tens of thousands of people were reportedly displaced from the five western Kebeles of Chifra Woreda due to fighting. During the reporting period, a humanitarian assessment in two IDP sites (WAKE/50 and Waranso) in Chifra and Adarar Woredas found that the most urgent needs for the displaced population are food, shelter, NFIs, water, and access to health facilities.