‘More than 131,000 displaced in Ethiopia’s Tigray’

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM), says there are more than 131,000 people displaced in 39 accessible locations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and neighbouring Afar and Amhara, according to its survey.

The data was gathered through a Displacement Tracking Matrix, its new survey which gathers and analyses data on population estimates, vulnerabilities, and the needs of displaced populations.

IOM said it had identified 30,383 displaced households.

The IOM says many of the displaced persons, including women and children, are in need of emergency shelter, food and access to clean and safe drinking water.

The numbers represent about 2 per cent of Tigray’s population of between five million and seven million.

According to the IOM, “the data are not indicators of the total number of persons displaced due to the crisis but rather represent only the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in sites accessible to DTM surveyors.”

The northern Tigray region has been the centre of a conflict between the federal government and its former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

The conflict erupted on November 4,2020 when Ethiopia’s government launched an offensive to oust the TPLF after its fighters captured federal military bases in Tigray.

Opposition parties in Ethiopia’s Tigray region have been warned of a huge “humanitarian disaster” if aid is not delivered urgently.

The parties said people were already dying from hunger and urged the international community to intervene.

Ethiopia’s government says aid is being delivered and nearly 1.5 million people have been reached.

The parties also said 52,000 people had been killed since the conflict started in November.

They did not explain how they arrived at the estimate but said it included women, children and religious leaders.

The government has not given figures. It says it is waging a “law enforcement operation” against Tigray’s former ruling party.

Conflict broke out after the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) seized federal military bases in the region following a breakdown in relations with Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed’s government.

About 100,000 Eritrean refugees who had been living in United Nations (UN-run) camps in Tigray have also been caught up in the conflict.

A spokesman for the UN refugee agency said they had received reports that some of them were eating tree barks and drinking water from puddles after being forced to flee their camps. -BBC

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