While the actual gravity and scale of needs is still extremely difficult to verify, aid workers on the ground continue to report alarming reports of attacks against civilians, including sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) by armed men and targeted killings. People in displacement sites are at particular risk, with most of those seeking safety in Shire expressing serious security concerns. World Vision has identified at least 485 children in need of urgent psychosocial support in 3 camps for people displaced in Mekelle alone. Partners have also stressed the need to activate effective Protection of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) and Accountability for Affected Populations (AAP) mechanisms.
In the past week, Child Protection (CP)/Gender-Based Violence (GBV) partners reached 471 people with dignity kits, 35 with CP case management, and 36 with psychosocial services. An additional 1,120 dignity kits have been dispatched to Adigrat/Eastern Zone (56), Axum/Central Zone (280), and Shire/North Western Zone (280). CP partners, together with BoLSA, have started identifying and registering unaccompanied and separated children (UASC), as well as conducting awareness-raising activities on CP and GBV risks. UNICEF, for instance, delivered trainings to 81 BoLSA frontline workers and IDP site leaders on CP minimum standards, case management, psychosocial support, family tracing and reunification, and GBV risk prevention and mitigation. Moreover, 66 identified UASC are being supported with family tracing and reunification. IRC has also started providing SGBV protection and response services with psychosocial support for survivors. The national Protection Cluster is engaging with UNHCR and national AoRs to expedite the process of partners’ selection and activities to be implemented with CERF funding. Similar discussions are ongoing with the SWAN consortium to move forward with the implementation of protection activities in line with previously agreed-upon priorities. The CP/GBV AoR continues to meet weekly to ensure a coordinated response as more partners are preparing to roll out interventions.
Protection services overall remain drastically inadequate, and while health facilities continue to document SGBV cases, including rape, there is likely a huge under-reporting due to stigma. Of key concern, lack of access to the Region is preventing the strengthening of protection staff presence on the ground. Related, referral pathway mechanisms to other multi-sectoral services remain weak. There is currently no capacity for PSEA and AAP at the regional level, and there is a need to deploy appropriate PSEA/AAP capacity to support partners in these areas.