With the harvest and markets disrupted by the conflict, there are indications of hunger rising across Tigray. Most newly internally displaced families across the Region are seeking refuge with relatives and host communities, putting an incredible strain on their already stretched resources.
Partners on the ground report serious concerns about poor targeting and, in some areas, food not reaching those in most need particularly in the rural areas, according to the latest ECC meeting on 19 February. These reports highlight the urgent need to strengthen the monitoring system. Insufficient distribution in IDP sites have also led to increased tensions among the displaced population, according to aid workers on the ground.
The National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), the Joint Emergency Operation (JEOP) through its partner Relief Society of Tigray (REST), World Food Programme (WFP) and other partners are involved in the food response across Tigray, including in the Mai Ayni and Adi Harush refugee camps.
WFP began its February food distribution to some 35,000 refugees in Mai Ayni and Adi Harush camps this week, which includes those who were recently relocated from Shimelba and Hitsats camps; the ration per person per month consists of 16 kilogrammes of cereals, 1.5 kilogrammes of pulses, 1 kilogramme of super cereal, 0.9 kilogrammes of vegetable oil and 0.15 kilogrammes of iodised salt. Super Cereal Plus (CSB++) is also allocated to all children aged between 6 and 23 months and pregnant and lactating women to prevent malnutrition, while ready-to-use food supplement (Supplementary Plumpy) is allocated for moderately malnourished children aged between 6 and 59 months for treatment.
JEOP has reached at least 609,464 people with a full double ration. As of 21 February, JEOP’s overall dispatch and distribution in Tigray Region reportedly reached 62 per cent and 41 per cent, respectively. JEOP reports to have assisted 84 per cent of the planned beneficiaries in Mekelle and 60 per cent in Shire. It has not yet dispatched food to two of the 12 planned woredas—Oflo and Raya Alamata—following NDRMC’s communication that it is covering the needs. Regarding distribution, JEOP is reported to have distributed food in all but three woredas in Central Zone—Aheferom, Kola Temben and Were Lehele—due to access difficulties.
WFP is planning to assist 1.1 million people in Tigray and has conveyed the need for more than $107 million from donors to deliver assistance for six months, including through the blanket supplementary feeding and provision of secondary transport services to humanitarian partners.
The Food Cluster is in the process of setting up a Sub-Working Group to provide guidance on monitoring of food response in the region and strengthen the food response. Considering reports of misuse of food assistance, strengthening the monitoring and accountability system is also of paramount importance.
Funding gap in the WFP pipeline remains a major challenge in the food response. Partners have also raised the need to ensure that the adequacy of the food basket and that a full basket is delivered.
Communications challenges, particularly given that there has been extremely limited power in Mekelle since mid-February, pose significant challenges to the dispatch and distribution of food assistance. Partners report that maintaining contact with staff in remote areas has become even more difficult.
Access constraints and insecurity continue to impede the delivery of assistance to certain woredas. At least nine woredas –seven of them in the Central Zone–have not been reached since the beginning of the conflict,