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.

Conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region: What to Know About the Humanitarian Crisis

The crisis in Ethiopia's Tigray region, which began when conflict erupted in early November 2020, is putting children and families in Africa's second-most populated country at risk. 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, the humanitarian situation in Tigray is critical. 

Here's what you need to know about the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region, Save the Children's humanitarian response work and how to help. 

What is happening in Ethiopia’s Tigray region?

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

“The humanitarian situation in Tigray is critical," said Ekin Ogutogullari, Save the Children’s Country Director in Ethiopia. "Before the conflict, there were already some 600,000 people in Tigray facing food insecurity, drought and the worst desert locust infestation in 25 years, which diminished food production and increased incidence of malnutrition. The conflict has made things much worse.”

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

There are 1.3 million people across the region who are in need of humanitarian assistance, in addition to 950,000 people in need of aid before the conflict in Tigray.

Approximately 500,000 people displaced across the region are in urgent need of essential aid supplies. 

Has the conflict in Tigray caused people to flee 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 families and children in Tigray?

Right now, Save the Children is on the ground in Tigray delivering life-saving assistance. 

We are working to provide urgently needed medical and food supplies to children and families. We've also set up a child-friendly space, where children can play safely and are continuing with distributions. 

Our humanitarian response spans across the central and eastern parts of Tigray, Northern Amhara, and the Afar/Tigray border region, as well as in Sudan where we are supporting refugees displaced by the Tigray conflict.

However, children and families affected still critically need more urgent supplies, including food, water, shelter kits, hygiene materials and other critical supplies to support families affected by the conflict in many parts of Tigray.

How can I help children impacted by the conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region?

Your donation today to the Ethiopia Tigray Crisis Children's Relief Fund can help us reach even more children with food, water, healthcare, shelter and education. Please support to ensure children can survive and be protected – the time to act is now.

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