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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
© UNICEF, 2019



Ethiopia has significant humanitarian needs due to an overlap of crises – conflict, inter-communal clashes, natural hazards, and epidemic outbreaks.

Since November 2020, the conflict in northern Ethiopia has triggered a dire humanitarian situation. Tens of thousands have died, millions are internally displaced, and dozens of thousands have sought refuge in Sudan.

A prolonged drought in eastern and southern Ethiopia continues to lead to soaring food and nutritional insecurity and loss of income opportunities. It is most probably the worst in the Horn of Africa region in the last 40 years. The EU continues to support the most vulnerable.

What are the needs?

The conflict has led to massive and acute humanitarian needs in Afar, Amhara and Tigray. Millions of people are displaced. Over 80% of the Tigray population urgently needs food assistance.

Destroyed health facilities, water installations and schools, and the lack of supplies have created acute humanitarian needs in Tigray, Afar, and Amhara.

Humanitarian aid remains very constrained in Tigray due to various challenges. Since mid-2021, Tigray has been essentially cut off from external assistance. Lack of humanitarian access, and the total disruption of essential services since November 2020, have resulted in critical needs and loss of life.

Between April and mid-August, a humanitarian truce and cessation of hostilities have resulted in improved aid deliveries. However, hostilities have resumed, leading to a reversal of the limited progress that had been made. Humanitarian access by road and air to Tigray is once again suspended.

At the same time, the conflict continues to escalate humanitarian needs and widespread displacement in northern Ethiopia. Insecurity is also leading to the loss of lives of civilians and creating a safety risk for humanitarian workers.

In other areas in Ethiopia, ongoing violence and other inter-communal tensions continue to threaten the lives and safety of people, pushing many to flee.

Eastern and southern Ethiopia are experiencing an unprecedented prolonged drought (since late 2020), with the possibility of an approach 5th consecutive failed rain season. Nearly 17 million people are estimated to need humanitarian assistance in drought-affected areas.

Ethiopia hosts more than 875,000 refugees, mainly from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan. They rely almost entirely on humanitarian aid to meet their basic needs.

Epidemic outbreaks, such as cholera, remain a major public health threat.  A cholera outbreak is currently affecting some woredas in Oromia and Somali region.

Ethiopia country map

How are we helping?

In 2022, the EU is allocating more than €76 million to humanitarian projects in Ethiopia, including support actions for conflict- and drought-affected populations.

The EU’s humanitarian funding helps vulnerable people in Ethiopia by contributing to:

  • rapid, life-saving humanitarian response to people affected by ongoing and continued conflict situations across the country
  • assistance to refugees and asylum-seekers
  • addressing critical needs among vulnerable people triggered by natural shocks, including drought, floods, epidemic outbreaks and pests.

This includes our support to people affected by the Northern Ethiopia conflict in Tigray, Afar and Amhara. Some of our other priorities are (i) the growing critical needs in the drought-affected regions in southern Ethiopia, (ii) people affected by food insecurity and children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and (iii) the continued support to refugees in Ethiopia.

Through our humanitarian actions, we help provide (i) protection, (ii) food aid, (iii) safe water, (iv) shelter, (v) basic essential items, (vi) nutritional assistance and health care, (vii) disease prevention, (viii) logistical support to humanitarian operations, and (ix) education for children caught up in humanitarian crises. In addition, the EU provides support to emergency health actions across the country among vulnerable communities.

The EU is deeply concerned about the protection of people affected by conflict across the country. The EU is following closely the situation in Tigray and its neighboring regions. The EU is engaging with relevant stakeholders for unhindered, immediate, and safe access to all conflict-impacted areas.

In response to COVID-19, the European Commission allocated €100 million in humanitarian assistance to support the rollout of vaccination campaigns in Africa. At least €14 million out of this funding supported vaccination campaigns for the most vulnerable in Eastern Africa, including in Ethiopia.

Last updated: 31/10/2022

Facts & figures

Over 875,000 refugees, mostly from South Sudan, Somalia, Eritrea, and Sudan. (UNHCR)

17 million people affected by the drought. (OCHA)

Over 20 million people need humanitarian assistance. (HRP, 2022)

More than 20 million people in need of emergency food assistance, with reports of growing food insecurity rates in areas affected by the renewed hostilities in northern Ethiopia. (OCHA) 

EU humanitarian funding:
Over €76 million in 2022