© UNHCR/Ahmed Kwarte
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The humanitarian situation in Tigray continues to deteriorate

350,000 people in Tigray are facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

In November 2020 fighting between the Tigray regional government and Ethiopian federal forces forced 1.7 million people to flee, leaving them in desperate need of emergency aid.

In recent weeks, the humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has become exceedingly worrying and volatile. Renewed fighting has put civilians at increased risk, with reports of women and children being killed.  Now the region is also being hit with a hunger emergency, with over 350,000 people in Tigray facing catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

More than 90 per cent of Tigray’s crop harvest for 2020 was lost and this, combined with months of continued conflict, displacement and limited humanitarian access, has brought food insecurity, pushing the region to the brink of famine.

Furthermore, reports of human rights atrocities are widespread, particularly against women and young girls. Every day without a safe place to live is a day when they are more vulnerable to sexual violence.

© UNHCR/Ahmed Kwarte
Mihret, 25, from Ethiopia’s Tigray region, helps refugee mothers obtain medical treatment for themselves and their children<em>. </em>© UNHCR/ Ahmed Kwarte
Extension The Humanitarian Situation In Tigray Continues To Deteriorate Mihret
Mihret left everything behind when she fled to safety and witnessed horrific violence on her journey. © UNHCR/ Rebecca Wilkowski

More than 62,000 people have fled the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region into Sudan where the Tunaydbah and Um Rakuba camps each host more than 20,000 people, most of them women and children.

Mihret, 25, from Ethiopia’s Tigray region, is one of thousands of people who fled violence in Tigray to seek refuge across the border in Sudan.

During her flee to safety, Mihret hid in the bush for four days and walked for long distances to Sudan, witnessing horrific violence on her journey. 

Like the thousands of Ethiopians who fled to Sudan, Mihret barely carried anything with her, but she managed to escape with her life and her younger brother, aunt and cousins.

“We are the lucky ones,” she says. “So many people, our friends and our families died back there and on the way. Their bodies weren’t even buried. I am happy we survived.”

Mihret is a trained construction engineer and teacher who volunteers with UNHCR and partners in Sudan’s Tunaydbah camp. She oversees construction and helps refugee mothers obtain medical treatment for themselves and their children.

“Before, we didn’t know the value of peace but now, we know how important it is because we have lost it.”

When Mihret is not volunteering, she spends time with her aunt and new friends in the settlement, making traditional Ethiopian coffee and reminiscing about home.

“We were living a good life back home. I miss hanging out with my friends, the freedom to move around and to communicate,” she says.

Despite her harrowing experiences, she is hopeful that things will get better and looks forward to returning home, when it is safe to do so.

UNHCR spokesperson, Elisabeth Arnsdorf Haslund, is on the ground in Ethiopia and is deeply concerned by the escalating crisis in Tigray, especially the impact it is having on women and young girls. 

“Women and girls are suffering from human rights atrocities. No one is safe from the escalation of humanitarian crisis in Tigray region. The situation gets worse day by day,” Elisabeth said.

UNHCR are on the ground, rapidly working to address the critical situation of forcibly displaced families with emergency shelter and core relief items like blankets, sleeping mats and jerry cans.

Please help us meet their needs and save lives.

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Extension The Humanitarian Situation In Tigray
A group of people who have fled ongoing clashes in northern Ethiopia's Tigray region wait at a transit centre in Hamdayet border crossing near Sudan. © UNHCR/Ariane Maxiandeau

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