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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ethiopia

07 Jan 2021

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Ethiopian refugee Brhana Haftu Abay, 31, a nurse from Humera in the Tigray region, holds his daughter at Hamdayet border reception centre in Sudan, November 2020. © UNHCR/Will Swanson

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 7 January 2021

Ethiopia

OCHA has an update on the findings of the two joint Government-inter-agencies’ needs assessment missions that deployed in Tigray on 20 December.

According to the Southern Tigray mission, life in Alamata, Mehoni and Mekelle is gradually returning to normalcy with the resumption of some basic services, including electricity and telecommunication. The majority of the displaced people have returned or are in the process of returning to their homes. However, most of their belongings have been looted or destroyed.

Regional authorities estimate that at least 90,000 people have been displaced due to the conflict.

Besides the looting of private properties, the mission also observed a massive damage and/or vandalization of public health centres and absence of health workers.

According to both assessment missions, food supplies are very limited, and only locally produced food items are available and at increasing prices. Food, security, shelter, non-food-items, health, nutrition, and water, sanitation and hygiene are the priority needs identified.

Infrastructure needs to urgently be restored as many buildings, including schools, hospitals and administration offices, have been looted and damaged. Health facilities outside of major cities are non-functional and those in the major cities are partially working, with limited to no stock of supplies and absence of health workers.

Since the conflict erupted, only 77,000 people, mostly in Mekelle and its surroundings, and 25,000 refugees in two camps (Mai Ayni and Adi Harush) received food support from the UN and partners. Access to most parts of north-western, eastern and central Tigray remains constrained due to the ongoing insecurity and bureaucratic hurdles. Two of the four refugee camps in the region (Hitsats and Shimelba) are still not accessible.

The interruption of COVID-19 surveillance and control activities in the region, coupled with mass displacements and overcrowded conditions in displacement setting, is feared to have facilitated massive community transmission. Limited prevention activities have started, including the distribution of 1200 COVID-19 prevention and hygiene promotion leaflets and personal protective materials, provision of health education and organization of a sanitation campaign in displacement sites in Shire. Additional COVID-19 specific responses are planned by partners.

We continue to engage with the Government for the unrestricted and safe passage of humanitarian personnel and supplies to all parts of Tigray region.