A 16-year-old girl sits inside of her old classroom in Tigray, Ethiopia.

16-year-old Roman stands near her old classroom in Central Tigray, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia's Tigray Region: Here's What You Need to Know

Ethiopia is facing many challenges, including a hunger crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis in Ethiopia's Tigray region, which began in early November, could create a nightmare scenario for Africa's second-most populated country.

Here's what you need to know about the current situation, Save the Children's work and how to help. 

What is happening in Ethiopia’s Tigray region?

The current crisis in Ethiopia involves the Ethiopia Federal Government forces and forces aligned with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

Millions of people in Tigray were already vulnerable as a result of the worst desert locust outbreak in a generation, which ravaged crops and other vegetation across Ethiopia. Combined with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, children and families are at great risk. 

The current context has the potential to increase humanitarian needs in the impacted areas.

How many people in the region of Tigray are in need of help?

Prior to the current crisis, there were almost 2 million people in need across the Tigray region. Nearly 600,000 people alone are facing food insecurity. 

While it's difficult to determine at this time how many additional children and families are at risk, the confrontation between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the Federal Government Forces is expected to increase the number of vulnerable people in Tigray. Neighboring regions such as Amhara and Afar may also be impacted.

Who is most affected by the escalating conflict in Tigray?

As a global leader in child-focused humanitarian response, Save the Children knows conflict always affects children the most. 

Has the conflict in Tigray caused people to flee Ethiopia?

According to the UN, over the past weeks, more than 40,000 people have crossed the border to escape a flare-up of violence in Ethiopia.

As children and families cross the border from Ethiopia into Sudan, children face an increased risk of separation and abuse.

“Children are extremely vulnerable in these situations; they might have seen violence or have lost family members, said Arshad Malik, country director of Save the Children in Sudan." They had to leave everything behind—their homes, their possessions, their friends and their school. They will not always understand what’s going on, and all this can have a profound impact on children."

What do refugees arriving in Sudan need?

“The areas where people are arriving to have not seen refugees in two decades, so there’s not much there to shelter the new arrivals," explained Arshad Malik. "They need clean water, food, a place to sleep, medical care, and children need safety, places where they feel protected and where they can catch their breath." 

How is Save the Children helping?

Save the Children was founded to help children suffering in the aftermath of World War I – and we remain committed to protecting and providing for children caught up in conflict around the world. 

We are committed to providing support to children and their families in addressing the immediate and recovery needs of those who have been impacted.

Save the Children has established mobile child-friendly spaces in Sudan to support children in need. 

Does Save the Children have sponsorship programs in Tigray?

Save the Children established our sponsorship program in Tigray in 2001. 

Working closely with local communities in Ethiopia, our sponsorship programs are designed to help vulnerable children from early childhood to early adulthood.


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