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Tigray region humanitarian assistance
In Ethiopia's Tigray region, 5.2 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. USAID is providing life-saving aid, including more than 206,000 metric tons of food.
Catholic Relief Services

Key Developments

A famine may already be occurring in Tigray, according to the United Nations and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). A new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification analysis indicates that more than 350,000 people are facing Catastrophe levels of acute food insecurity, with the situation expected to further deteriorate in the coming months.

Insecurity and continued delays, searches, and stoppages by armed actors at checkpoints throughout Tigray continue to disrupt attempts to reach the region’s most-affected populations.

USAID Administrator Samantha Power announced $181 million in additional funding to respond to the crisis; the USG continues to lead advocacy efforts to increase humanitarian access and scale up the response.

Complex Emergency

Insecurity in parts of western and southern Ethiopia— including Benishangul-Gumuz Region’s Metekel Zone, Oromiya Region’s West Wollega Zone, and the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) Region’s Konso Zone—continues to drive widespread displacement and elevated humanitarian needs. 

Nearly 13 million Ethiopians will likely require emergency food assistance through July due to conflict, drought, locust infestations, and COVID-19, according to food security monitors. 

Ethiopian authorities and relief actors completed the first phase of a cholera vaccination campaign in late January, immunizing more than 1.6 million people in Gambella, Oromiya, Sidama, and SNNP regions.   

USAID is also responding to the worst locust outbreak in decades. Learn more about our response in Ethiopia and several other East Africa countries.


Ethiopia is experiencing its second severe drought in less than two years. Insufficient rainfall during the 2017 rainy season has led to severe water shortages, catastrophic livestock losses, and failed crops throughout the country. The drought in southern Ethiopia comes as the country’s north and central highland communities continue to recover from a severe drought in 2016 triggered by multiple consecutive seasons of below-average rainfall and the effects of the 2015/2016 El Niño climatic event. In August 2017, the Government of Ethiopia estimated that 8.5 million people in the country would require humanitarian assistance through December, primarily due to increased drought-related needs in southern and southeastern parts of Ethiopia.

In addition to drought, populations across Ethiopia face other challenges that contribute to sustained humanitarian needs and an ongoing complex emergency—including above-average food prices, disease outbreaks, localized intercommunal conflict, seasonal flooding, and limited access to health and water, sanitation, and hygiene services.




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Last updated: June 17, 2021

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