Ethiopia: Responding to the Tigray Crisis

More than four months ago, conflict broke out in Tigray, Ethiopia, a region located in the north along the border with Eritrea.

Even before the conflict, one million people in Tigray were in need of humanitarian aid. Today, the United Nations estimates that 1.3 million people in the region require urgent assistance, including health, nutrition, and water. As many as 4.5 million people in the region may be in need of urgent food aid, according to the Ethiopian Government’s Tigray Emergency Coordination Center. Thousands of people have been displaced within the region, and more than 60,000 have fled to neighboring Sudan as refugees.

“Before this crisis, Tigray had significant rates of child hunger above the national average,” says Panos Navrozidis, Action Against Hunger’s Country Director in Ethiopia. “After four months with no support, the situation is likely far worse. The people we’re working to reach cannot wait much longer.

According to the latest report from the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

  • Just 21% of the Tigray’s hospitals are fully functional, and all health centers report shortages of equipment, supplies, and medicines.
  • Nutrition data indicates an increasingly severe malnutrition emergency: 24.3% of the population surveyed were acutely malnourished.  
  • Across the region, access to clean water has been impacted. More than 300 water pumps are not functioning due to damage, looting, or lack of fuel.

To help those impacted by this crisis, Action Against Hunger has launched an emergency response program in Central and Southeastern Tigray that includes health and nutrition services, access to safe drinking water, and mental health and psychosocial support for all those impacted by the ongoing conflict. Our immediate plan is to reach about 40,000 people in the next 6 months and progressively increase access in hard to reach areas.

Despite immense needs in Tigray, humanitarian organizations like Action Against Hunger have been struggling to gain safe access to provide aid to communities in need. 1.4 million people still remain out of reach.

“This is a battle of feet and even inches to cross the lines of conflict to reach people who need us,” concludes Navrozidis. “Every day that we move a mile or even a few hundred yards closer to communities in need, the more lives can be saved.”

Action Against Hunger in Ethiopia

Our teams have been operating in Ethiopia since 1985, meeting urgent humanitarian and development needs across the country. In 2020 alone, we reached more than 700,000 people with lifesaving nutrition and health programs across the country, including refugees and internally displaced people.

Action Against Hunger is leading a global movement to end hunger in our lifetimes. It innovates solutions, advocates for change, and reaches 25 million people every year with proven hunger prevention and treatment programs. As a nonprofit that works across 50 countries, its 8,300 dedicated staff members partner with communities to address the root causes of hunger, including climate change, conflict, inequity, and emergencies. It strives to create a world free from hunger, for everyone, for good.