UNHCR Regional Update #17: Ethiopia Situation (Tigray Region), 17 May – 14 June 2021
▪ The United Nations has issued various warnings about the alarming levels of food insecurity and malnutrition in the Tigray region including a joint statement from WFP, FAO and UNICEF on 10 June.
▪ A UN press briefing on 2 June noted that humanitarian partners “are gradually scaling up the response but not yet keeping pace with the mounting needs, due to a combination of access constraints, insufficient communications capacity, bureaucratic impediments, and lack of funding.”
▪ On 6 June, the UNHCR High Commissioner Filippo Grandi expressed concern that humanitarians are being impeded by different armed actors, underscoring the need to be able to work safely and free of threats.
▪ On 27 May, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia issued a statement condemning the arbitrary arrest, beating and ill-treatment of more than 200 people, which occurred during military raids of IDP camps in Shire during the night of 24 May. Following advocacy by the UN and other humanitarian actors, 216 individuals were eventually released, while four IDPs alleged to have been found in possession of weapons have remained in detention.
▪ The OCHA-coordinated Northern Ethiopia Response Plan was released with immediate requirements by cluster for three months (May-July), as well as the requirements to the end of the year. The plan includes the UNHCR-led Refugee Response Plan for Tigray, involving 16 partners working together to meet the protection and assistance needs of 72,300 Eritrean refugees in the two Mai Tsebri camps and other locations across Tigray, with immediate 3 month requirements amounting to USD 31 million.
▪ UNHCR has also launched the Ethiopia Country Refugee Response Plan (CRRP) for 2021 totaling USD 552.6 million. The plan outlines the multi-agency comprehensive response strategy and financial requirements of 29 humanitarian and development partners supporting the Ethiopian authorities to provide protection services and humanitarian assistance, as well as development opportunities to 884,216 refugees and asylum-seekers throughout the country, including from Eritrea, South Sudan,
Sudan and Somalia. The plan also targets some 288,000 members of the affected local population and host communities for assistance.
▪ The completion of individual biometric registration in Um Rakuba, Tunaydbah, Hamdayet and Village 8 has resulted in a revised total figure of just over 46,000 Ethiopian refugees from Tigray in all locations as of 14 June.
▪ With the onset of the rainy season, extreme weather including strong winds, heavy rain and hail in late May and early June resulted in damage to a number of household tents, shared latrines, and other facilities in the Um Rakuba and Tunaydbah camps. Partners undertook rapid damage assessments, provided materials to repair or replace damaged tents, and replenished lost and damaged food stocks and NFI. Following protests by refugees in Tunaydbah camp on 8 June, UNHCR met with refugee representatives to discuss their concerns and the mitigation actions being taken. Scaling up of floodpreparedness measures remains an urgent priority.
▪ During the reporting period, about 1,000 persons of Gumuz ethnicity arrived in several villages along the border of Gedaref state. Meanwhile, more than 7,400 Gumuz asylum-seekers from the Benishangul Gumuz region of Ethiopia remain at six remote locations at the Blue Nile state border. As of 26 May, UNHCR and COR had relocated 1,202 asylum-seekers in Blue Nile to the newly established site at Village 6. UNHCR, COR and partners continue to sensitize refugees about relocation, but the remaining population at the border are hesitant to be relocated.