WFP East Africa | WFP response: Tigray, Ethiopia and Sudan Refugee Influx

WFP East Africa | WFP response: Tigray, Ethiopia and Sudan Refugee Influx – External Situation Report #1 (December 2020)

In Numbers


No of host populations assisted through WFP in Tigray before conflict: 850,000

No of refugees in Tigray: 96,000 of which WFP is supporting 50,000

WFP Ethiopia six months net funding requirements: US$210 million

Tigray HRP funding requirement: US$75.6 million


Number of asylum seekers from Ethiopia in Sudan: Over 48,000 (As of 8 December)

WFP Sudan six months net funding requirement (December – May 2021): US$153 million

Total metric tonnes of food dispatched by WFP: 1,000 mt

Food requirements to support new arrivals: US$14.8 million

Situation update

(reliefweb)—-For more than a month, fighting between the Ethiopian National Defence Forces (ENDF) and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) has displaced thousands of civilians. The displaced population has moved to other parts of Ethiopia and eastern Sudan. On 28 November, the Government of Ethiopia declared victory after the ENDF attacked the TPLF in the Tigrayan capital of Mekelle. There are reports of increased displacement, and lack of basic supplies, including food, cash, fuel, water and medicine in Mekelle, which had a population of some 500,000.

Humanitarian access to Tigray Region has been limited since 04 November. WFP, working alongside other UN agencies and partners, have negotiated for access with the Government of Ethiopia and is ready to provide food assistance to those in need, working under the leadership of the Federal and Regional Governments. The Federal Government in Ethiopia has agreed to enable unimpeded, sustained and secure access for humanitarian personnel and services to areas under Federal Government control in Tigray region and the bordering areas of Amhara and Afar regions.

In Tigray and neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions, an additional 1.1 million people are projected to be impacted by the conflict, most of whom may be displaced in the region, across regional borders or into Sudan, Djibouti or Eritrea. This would bring the total humanitarian caseload to nearly 1.98 million people requiring humanitarian assistance from November 2020 through January 2021.

Pre-conflict, the Tigray Region hosted a population of approximately 5 million people. Of these, 855,000 people are currently targeted in the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), 96,000 refugees and over 1 million Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP) beneficiaries. Of priority to WFP, is to locate the 50,000 Eritrean refugees who were supported with food assistance in four camps in Tigray before the conflict. WFP is aware of reports of a number of Eritrean refugees who have been secondarily displaced and are now seeking asylum in Sudan, while others have reportedly moved both within Tigray and to other regions of Ethiopia. WFP is working to ensure that as soon as safe access is possible, food can reach those most in need in Tigray Region. Food and trucks to supply the camps are already prepositioned in Gondar in Amhara Region.

On 2 December, an interagency security and humanitarian response mission was initiated at the government-controlled border areas between Afar and Tigray regions to reach people who were internally displaced by the conflict. To date, more than 4,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) have been reached with core relief items.
The Government (NDRMC) has established emergency coordination centres in Tigray, Amhara and Afar to coordinate humanitarian assistance for the affected communities.

In Sudan, the humanitarian needs are expected to increase as more people move to Sudan to seek refuge. According to UNHCR, to date, over 48,000 refugees have crossed into eastern Sudan into Kassala, Gedaref and Blue Nile states. These refugee entry points are located in extremely remote locations, only accessible via sand tracks and other non-paved roads. WFP has scaled up its food assistance and logistical operations in these areas. WFP is providing food to partners who cook hot meals for refugees arriving at reception centers, where cooking facilities are not available. WFP is also providing ready to eat high-energy biscuits. In the settlement areas, WFP is providing monthly dry rations.

In Djibouti, WFP has been working closely with the Government and other humanitarian actors to assess the border situation and set up contingency and preparedness plans. While no arrivals have been reported in Djibouti thus far, humanitarian partners are finalising a contingency plan for some 5,000 refugees. Likewise, in Eritrea, WFP has been collaborating with humanitarian partners to develop a refugee contingency plan estimated at 10,000 refugees. WFP does not have an operational agreement with the Government of Eritrea. Accordingly, WFP has shared a Note Verbale with the Government offering to support with a refugee response in either food or Cash Based Transfers (CBT), if required and requested to support.