Read about the escalating conflict in Ethiopia and how we’re helping.


On 4 November 2020, escalating tension between Ethiopia’s federal government and the regional leadership in Tigray erupted into armed conflict.

Formal military operations ceased when the Tigrayan capital of Mekelle was captured by government forces at the end of November.

But millions of people remain at risk from food shortages, inadequate shelter and continued insecurity. On top of this, families are also facing the constant threat of coronavirus.

We are extremely concerned by the emerging humanitarian crisis in Northern Ethiopia. We stand ready to respond, with vital emergency shelter supplies on their way.


Tigray is the northernmost region of Ethiopia.

It is the homeland of the Tigrayan, Irob and Kunama peoples.

Before this latest conflict, Tigray was already home to 100,000 internally displaced people and 96,000 refugees from neighbouring Eritrea.

The region has also suffered high levels of food insecurity.
It’s estimated that around 1.2 million people have been displaced as a result of this conflict.


More than 55,000 people have fled over the border into neighboring Sudan. Many more are displaced within the region.

It’s difficult to know exactly how many people have fled their homes within Tigray, as communications from the region have been very limited for some time.

Tigray was also badly hit by a recent infestation of locusts which devastated crops and pasture, destroying livelihoods and leaving people with little food.

It’s estimated that between 2 and 4.5 million people need urgent assistance there


Bulutna, pictured in a yellow scarf, was amongst the people who received ShelterBox aid in 2020.

We have supported over 51,000 people affected by conflict in Ethiopia since 2018.

Now Tigray – a region that was already in desperate need of support – is facing a humanitarian catastrophe.

We have aid in-country and more on the way, and we stand ready to respond.

We will be supporting displaced people in Northern Ethiopia with emergency shelter, household essentials and hygiene items in response to this crisis.

We’ll be providing tarpaulins, rope, blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, water carriers, carry sacks and kitchen sets. Families will also receive washbasins, soap, and water jugs, to help prevent a devastating outbreak of coronavirus.


Our projects in Ethiopia this year have supported efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

We added soap to our aid package for the last project and in future we plan to supplement that with a jug and washbasin to help people to wash their hands more easily.

Mitigations have been put in place at distributions to ensure the safety of IOM staff and the communities receiving the aid.

IOM staff have been using masks and disinfecting all material used at distributions as well as providing handwashing stations. Our partner has also included coronavirus health and prevention messaging and banners at distributions.

Finally, each distribution only involved a maximum number of 50 people, to ensure physical distancing was being followed.

How we’re responding to coronavirus


Our work will never stop until we see a world where no family is left without shelter in the face of a devastating natural disaster or conflict.

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