More than 60,000 people, nearly half of whom are children, from Tigray in northern Ethiopia were forced to flee into neighbouring Sudan, with hundreds of thousands more displaced within Tigray. Living in crowded camps, children and families urgently need food, shelter and clean water.
'Deeply troubling’ situation in Tigray
Inside Tigray, Ethiopia the region is facing a severe humanitarian crisis with more than 222,000 people displaced – the majority are children and women.
Immunisations have ground to a halt, health and water facilities have been damaged or destroyed, and essential supplies looted. Children in most of Ethiopia have returned to school following COVID-19 restrictions – but not the 1.3 million school-aged children in Tigray.
James Elder, UNICEF Regional Chief of Communication for Eastern and Southern Africa, says the situation for children is ‘deeply troubling.’
"Children are suffering enormously
in Tigray right now."
“There is little fuel to operate water and sanitation systems, so families are drinking unsafe water, which in turn exposes children to deadly diseases,” says James who is orginally from Australia and now based in Nairobi, Kenya, which borders Ethiopia.
“Schools remain shuttered; many have been looted or vandalised, some are sheltering displaced families, while others have been occupied by armed forces or groups."
“The limited UN and partner assessments that we’ve been able to undertake show that hunger is a very serious concern, with alarming spikes in acute malnutrition.”
One recent assessment showed severe acute malnutrition rates of up to 10 per cent in the Shire area among children under the age of five. This could potentially put the lives of up to 70,000 children at risk.
“Children are suffering enormously in Tigray right now,” says James. “Children are deeply distressed by the violence, displacement and insecurity and are lacking food and clean water.”