Humanitarian access in Tigray remains intermittent and restricted almost entirely to urban centers, compromising the much-needed aid operations in rural areas where humanitarian needs are most severe. Increased funding, unfettered access, deployment of additional expertise, communications equipment, longer visas for NGO staff, and robust civil-military coordination are all required to scale up the response, which is still insufficient to meet the needs.
Armed hostilities reportedly continued in North-Western, Central, Eastern, South-Eastern and Southern Zones. In Central Zone, clashes and shelling were reported in Abi Adi Town and surrounding areas, although less intense than previous weeks. Humanitarian partners are denied access by parties to the conflict a few kilometers south of Adwa towards Abi Adi, while the Abi Adi – Hagere Selam road remains highly volatile. In Eastern Zone, the situation in Hawzen Town and surrounding Woredas remains tense. In Southern Zone, humanitarian partners have not delivered meaningful levels of assistance in rural areas for the past four months, including Bora, Neqsegue, Ofla, and Zata Woredas. In North-Western Zone, some partners managed to access and deliver assistance to Zana Town. However, sporadic clashes continued in and around Zana and Selekleka towns and surrounding areas.
On 4 and 5 May, an OCHA-led inter-agency convoy with essential relief supplies, including food aid, mobile health and nutrition teams, non-food items, among others, reached Samre and Gijet towns in Samre and Saharti Woredas respectively, in South-Eastern Zone. Access to these areas had been denied by parties to the conflict for the past two months. Similarly, telecommunications and electricity have reportedly been down for about two months, while looting and attacks were reported in these Woredas. On 5 May, a third inter-agency convoy attempted to reach Yechila Town, Abergele Woreda in Central Zone but it was forced to returned to Mekelle due to the sound of artillery ahead of them.
On 28 April, a national aid worker was reported to have been killed by armed forces after distributing food aid to people in need in Guya Kebele, Kola Temben Woreda, in Central Zone. Seven aid workers have been killed since the start of the conflict in Tigray.
Six months into the conflict, humanitarian needs continue to increase. Humanitarian Partners have put together a response plan that projects humanitarian needs through the end of July and to the end of the year for Northern Ethiopia is being developed to project needs through the end of the year. However, the actual needs are very likely to be significantly higher as humanitarian partners do not have thorough access yet to determine the full extent of needs.
Meanwhile, the number of people targeted for emergency shelter and non-food items increased from 2.7 million in April to 3 million beginning of May following a new IDP figure of 2 million reported by the interim Regional Administration (in addition to one million people hosting IDPs).
A new influx of displacement was reported to Shire and Mekelle from adjacent Woredas due to ongoing hostilities and inadequate humanitarian assistance in these areas. The number of IDP sites in Shire increased from eight in February to 16 during the reporting period, adding to the emergency shelter and non-food items response and needs.
From the findings of a protection assessment carried out in Gijet Town of South-Eastern Zone, physical security, access to services for gender-based violence (GBV) survivors, the situation of unaccompanied children, the loss of identity documents, and the prospect of not being able to plant during this rainy season are identified as main concerns. Women and girls continue to be disproportionality affected by sexual violence and abuse, amid inadequate public health services, further exacerbating the well-being of survivors.
During the reporting period, unexploded ordnances have been identified in various locations in Tigray, including two locations along the Shire-Sheraro road. OCHA is liaising with the Ethiopian National Defense Forces and the UN Mine Action Service for their removal and to initiate sensitization activities to the population