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Tigray Emergency Coordination Center Operational Update (August 25, 2023)



The update from this week has several missing sections, most notably the nutrition cluster failed to report again. The last update from the nutrition cluster was on June 29. The food cluster update indicates progress towards restarting food aid and plans for cash transfers in some major cities. Data on IDP returns appears to be contradictory, locust swarms are still a major challenge, and the health cluster is struggling to grapple with multiple disease outbreaks and the looming threat of cholera.  


The Operational Access Map still shows that most of the area bordering Eritrea is still blocked from humanitarian access including Western Tigray and parts of Northwestern, Central, and Eastern zone. Every access point into Tigray from Amhara is suspended, leaving the Semera to Mekelle the only open route.

Food Cluster

  • The food cluster describes the pilot food distribution program which began on July 31, was reported by AP on August 8 and disputed by the Tigrayan DRMC in the Addis Standard the next day. According to the Food Cluster, 111,377 people received food in Northwest Zone and Southern Zone, and a second stage started this week, which includes 184,000 people.
  • The JEOP has completed the Targeting Exercise in host communities in 53 woredas in the Central, Eastern, Southeastern, and parts of the southern zone. They report that more than 3,390,000 have been registered. IDP targeting is beginning now in these areas. (Duke Note: If this is the new JEOP caseload it reflects an increase of 290,000 people since January before counting displaced beneficiaries, which should increase the caseload by another 413,000 people (not including the Southern zone.))
  • The WFP has completed targeted in 10 woredas and have registered 711,000 people. (Duke Note: These likely include areas from the pilot: Asgeda, Tahtay Adiyabo, Tsimbla, Tahtay Koraro, Zana, and Raya Azebo. The total caseload is much smaller than in January, but it is also omitting a lot of districts. WFP has a history of making arbitrary cuts in their caseload.)
  • Action Against Hunger is preparing to pilot cash-based food assessments to 247,000 people in Shire, Adigrat, Adwa, and Axum based on feasibility studies in September and October. (Duke Note: According to the IDP site and village assessments, there are a total of 279K IDPs in these four towns and 459K in the host communities, most of them need food assistance. Also, the feasibility study included Mekelle as well, but the capital is not included in the Pilot.)

IDP Data: 

  • The update outlines the topline findings from the recent IOM-DTM assessments. According to this data, there are 1.02 million displaced people in Tigray, of these 220,000 are living in collective sites and 162,000 are living in schools.
  • More than half of those displaced (1.26 million) by the last military offensive have abandoned their hosting sites, which IOM labels as “spontaneous” returns. (Duke’s Note: There is nothing spontaneous about a displaced family leaving their hosting site after being denied life-saving humanitarian aid in a desperate search for food or medicine.)
  • Report confirms a new wave of displacement from Afar to the Hintalo district in the SE zone. As of August 2 the number of arrives was over 6,000 with nearly 2,000 children under five. New arrivals were coming daily. 
  • In the first section of the update it is claimed that “at least” 95,000 IDPs were assisted by the Durable Solution Working Group (DSWG). In the corresponding graphic, the total is reduced to 94.7K. 

Protection Cluster

  • In the protection cluster, a map shows 205,466 assisted returns in 2023 and 28,737 since the food suspension. There is no explanation about why the numbers are so different from the previous.

Education Cluster

  • There are still diverse and significant challenges to reopening schools.
  • A Recovery and Reconstruction plan has been developed, which can be summarized as: (1) rehab/rebuild schools; (2) teacher healing and development; (3) administrator healing and development; (4) curriculum development (accelerated programs for catch up); (5) Technology assistance (TV/Radio, e-learning/management); (6) School feeding.
  • 552 schools remain inaccessible. 110 are being used by IDPs, others are under military occupation by Amhara and Eritrean forces.

Agriculture Cluster

  • Locusts have been reports since April (Tree) and July (Desert)
  • Control and survey response is hampered by limited resources
  • Recent map shows locust activity found all along the Eastern border area of Tigray. (Duke Note: These appear to be the areas where observation is easiest, meaning that more resources are urgently needed to monitor out west.)
  • There are plans and needs for better coordination with national and international bodies, more pesticides, and more survey and control teams.


  • UNMAS is continuing activities to remove UXO from Tigray.
  • This effort is scaling up, but challenges remain in coordination.

Health Cluster

  • COVID vaccine campaign has reached 735K people in Tigray, HPV Vaccine reached 50,641.
  • Therapeutic food was delivered to a handful of districts as part of an integrated measles response.
  • Typus outbreaks are being investigated in Emba Alaje and Bora. 
  • Malaria response is ongoing.

WASH Cluster

  • Partners report that 178,035 people have been reached with water and sanitation services
  • Focus on Cholera preparedness.
  • Limited funding, supplies, and staffing is hampering operations.

Summary done by Duke Burbridge

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