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The situation of internally displaced persons in Shire, NW Tigray



According to a report by an NGO worker in north western Tigray, received by Jan Nyssen on 5 February 2021, in Shire city only, there are tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs). Most came from western Tigray, from where they had been expelled by Amhara forces and militia. Since the war on Tigray, western and well as southern Tigray has been annexed by the Amhara region of Ethiopia. The Amhara forces are cleansing western Tigray of Tigrayans with the intention of demographically Amharizing it.

Many of the IDPs from western Tigray that came to Shire are sheltered with their relatives, but many others are sheltered in three IDP sites in Shire, namely the Shire campus of Aksum University, the Shire Preparatory School and the Shire Primary School.

IDPs at the Shire campus of Aksum University

  • total population of more than 40,000 IDPs with around 6000 under five
  • presence of pregnant and lactating mothers (more than 400)
  • there are more than 800 people with chronic illness: diabetes, hypertension, epilepsy,
  • bronchial asthma or HIV. Seven of them have died.
  • there are around 200 persons with disability and around 600 elderly people

Conditions at IDP site:

  • no organization or UN agency to coordinate and support the people
  • only 20 kg of wheat per family was supplied for the last 3 months (supplied to the family heads)
  • poor sanitation facilities with large-scale open defecation and many people with diarrhea
  • there is treated water supplied by one partner but its amount is below the SPHERE Standard
  • mobile clinic in place, organized by volunteer health workers; there is severe shortage of medicines
  • not provided are non-food items such as mattress, sheets, water bucket, mosquito nets
  • there is a critical challenge related to nutrition (severe acute malnutrition rate = 2.9; moderate acute malnutrition =10.00) with no program to support these children with malnutrition problem and no supplementary feeding program to children, pregnant and lactating women, people with disability and elderly.

MSF-Holland and ICRC support the nearby hospital but it is insufficient. Ethiopia has blocked aid to enter most of Tigray because it wanst to control the population by the food it obtains from international NGOs and donors.

Some photos showing the condition of the IDPs

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