More than 1.7 million children and adults are displaced as a result of Ethiopia's Tigray conflict and need urgent support with access to food – including therapeutic food for malnourished children – shelter, healthcare, mental health support, clean water and sanitation services.
This is according to global NGO Save the children. Almost 5 000 children, Save the Children says are separated from their parents by the conflict with many living in unsafe and dire conditions in informal camps.
Six months on since the fighting started, at least 917 unaccompanied and 4,056 separated children have been recorded by the UN. Many of them have no adult caregivers and are at risk of neglect and sexual and physical abuse, Save the Children said.
Many of these children were separated from their parents while fleeing for their lives during the conflict. Others have lost parents to the violence.
The Tigray region is experiencing a complex emergency, including insecurity; flooding, locusts, drought; disease outbreaks, and the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic the children NGO fund elaborated.
Since the fighting broke out on 4 November 2020, thousands of civilians have been killed, hundreds of thousands of people have been internally displaced within Tigray, and 63,000 refugees have fled to Sudan.
Across the region, 1.7 million children and adults are displaced by the conflict and 4.5 million people need food assistance.
International media outlets since being granted access to Tigray in late February have published a string of reports of atrocities, as well as harrowing new reports of violations.
According to Amnesty international, they may have included allegations of ethnic cleansing in western Tigray – an area under the control of pro-government Amhara Special Police and Fano, an Amhara militia – forcibly displacing tens of thousands of people. The rights watchdog however says it has not yet independently verified these allegations but continues to research the situation.
The conflict in Tigray began in November 2020 when Ethiopia's Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive after rebels attacked a federal army base. The attack was the tipping point of months of escalating tensions between the Ethiopian Government and the dominant regional force, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).