The Tigray Region in the north of Ethiopia has suffered from internal conflict since early November 2020. According to ACT member Lutheran World Foundation (LWF), the situation has intensified over the months of August and September 2021. The food security situation is dire with the World Food Programme (WFP) having indicated on 7th September 2021 that they ran out of food at a time when more than 5 mio. people need food assistance.
Cash transfer and activities with support of UN agencies
Despite the constraints, LWF has been able to send 4 mio. Ethiopian birrs (ETB) agency cash as a cargo on a United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flight. The organisation also received fuel from WFP on a cost recovery basis. This allows LWF to continue to implement activities albeit scaled down significantly.
LWF’s staff have been able to travel from Mekelle to Maichew, Mehoni and Alamata in Southern Tigray to carry out activities together with the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Services Commission (EECMY DASSC).
There is an old saying in Amharic: ቲግራዪን መ ሸጥ በ ክረምት ነው or ‘Tigrayin meshet be kremt new‘, meaning: ‘It is best to sell Tigray during the rainy season’, as it is green and lush belying how dry it gets most of the year. It’s unclear though how many of the farmers were able to take advantage of the good rains this year.
Fresh displacements in neighbouring regions
The Tigray conflict has spilled over into the neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions where the security situation has severally deteriorated, resulting in massive fresh displacements. LWF had to evacuate staff from the North Wollo Zone and cease operation. The organisation’s representatives are witnessing massive displacements, thousands of civilian deaths, and damaged infrastructure. The ACT Ethiopia Forum is working on an alert for the Amhara and Afar regions and LWF is a requesting and implementing member along with other members.
From Friday 10th September to Monday 13th September, there were New Year celebrations in Ethiopia. On the cusp of Ethiopia’s year 2014, and as the country prepares to consign 2013 to history, we pray for Peace and Reconciliation. Thank you for holding the country and its people in your prayers.
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The Tigray conflict
A long-standing political disagreement between the Ethiopia Federal government and the northern regional state of Tigray’s regional government led to an outbreak of hostilities on 4th November 2020. This was characterized by military action resulting in general insecurity in the region, internal and external displacements, and a disruption of livelihoods. In the Tigray region, 855,000 people are currently targeted in the humanitarian Response Plan. This includes non-displaced persons, Internally Displaced persons, returnees, and over 96,000 Eritrean refugees. As well, over one million beneficiaries depend on support received through the Productive Safety Net Programme – PSNP (Ethiopia Humanitarian Preparedness Plan, November 2020) due to food insecurity caused by land degradation. The region is also one of those most affected by the desert locust outbreak.