Ethiopia faces huge humanitarian challenges, with conflict and displacement, climatic shocks including an ongoing and severe drought, disease outbreaks, desert locusts and the continuing socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 among the primary drivers of need.
Close to 30 million people require some form of humanitarian support in 2022. This includes more than 9 million people in the north, where the armed conflict which broke out in November 2020 has forced millions from their homes, and left the Tigray region largely cut off from essential services and with limited access to humanitarian assistance.
Protection of civilians has been a central concern across affected areas, and grave and systematic violations of international humanitarian law by all sides, including forced displacement, mass killings and conflict-related sexual violence, have been reported throughout the conflict.
Conflict and insecurity also drive humanitarian needs in other parts of the country, including in parts of Oromia and Benishangul Gumuz regions.
Ethiopia remains highly vulnerable to frequent and extreme weather events, which negatively affect access to food from cultivated crops, access to land for pasture, livestock production and market functionality. As of April 2022, an estimated 8 million people were affected by an ongoing drought across much of the south and south-west of the country, following three successive failed rainy seasons, and with a very real prospect of a fourth below-average rainy season on the horizon.
Several hundred thousand people are also typically displaced each year due to floods.
The overall displacement trend in Ethiopia has continued to increase, with the 2022 Humnitarian Needs Overview estimating a total of 5.8 million internally displaced people across the country.
Projected situation in 2022
Climatic shocks, conflict, insecurity and disease outbreaks coupled with continuing economic challenges are expected to continue to exacerbate humanitarian needs in 2022, with a an ongoing risk of a re-escalation of the conflict in the north, increasingly severe humanitarian conditions in Tigray due to limited humanitarian access and availability of essential services, and the prospects of a fourth below-average rainy season deepening the suffering of millions in the south by the middle of the year.
A large-scale, protection-centered humanitarian response will remain critical throughout 2022 and beyond.