Ethiopia - Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report

Cluster Status

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)


  • With access to water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) services largely disrupted across Tigray, communities are at heightened risk of disease outbreaks, including water-borne diseases and COVID-19. COVID-19 services have been drastically reduced and, according to WASH Cluster estimates, around 250 motorized water pumping systems in towns are out of order due to lack of fuel and electricity, damage, looting, and vandalizing. Concerningly, the status of some 11,000 hand pumps in rural areas is unknown due to access constraints. The situation is particularly dire in sites for internally displaced people. A rapid assessment carried out in nine displacement centres in Mekelle reported a shortage of water and WASH non-food items (NFIs), including buckets and jerry cans, as well as poor hygiene conditions. Open defecation was observed in some schools due to the limited number of latrines available and issues around utilization.

  • Recent assessments on the status of boreholes led by the Tigray Regional Water Bureau, with support from UNICEF and WASH partners, found that only 4 of the 36 assessed towns have partially functioning water sources. Most of the equipment, notably electromechanical equipment, including switchboards, generators, pumps, solar panels, transformers, reservoirs and spare parts, were damaged or looted, while all water offices building had been looted or vandalized. In particular, the water office in Adigrat was found to be burned down.


  • WASH Cluster partners have provided emergency latrine and bathing/hand washing facilities to 110,949 people

  • 296,977 people have received essential lifesaving WASH non-food items (NFIs) including water treatment chemicals

  • Since the beginning of the conflict, WASH Cluster partners have provided safe water to 631,542 people through water trucking.


  • Lack of electro-mechanical equipment and spare parts, as well as a shortage of water purification chemicals, such as chlorine and aqua tabs

  • According to the Emergency Coordination Centre, salary concerns among water utility workers pose a challenge to effective response