Tigray conflict: EU increases humanitarian support by €23.7 million in Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya

Ethiopian refugees, fleeing clashes in the country’s Tigray region, cross the Tekeze river into Hamdayet, Sudan.  © UNHCR/Olivier Jobard

This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.

To address the urgent humanitarian crisis linked to the conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, the EU has today increased humanitarian funding for the area by €23.7 million. Tigray is on the edge of a humanitarian catastrophe which risks destabilizing the whole neighbourhood. This new crisis comes on top of an already complex humanitarian situation, significantly exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said: “European solidarity with those in need in Ethiopia continues, despite the pandemic and any political considerations in Ethiopia. We will not let the people of East Africa down in these difficult times. During my recent visit to the region, I urged the Ethiopian government to grant unconditional, unimpeded and immediate access to all people in need in Tigray. Unfortunately, this has not happened yet. The EU continues to call on all involved to abide by International Humanitarian Law. In spite of this, the EU is stepping up its humanitarian support for the region, including for Sudan, which is suffering the brunt of the refugee wave from Tigray.”

Humanitarian partners working in Ethiopia will receive an extra €18.8 million and €2 million will go to Sudan to help with the influx of refugees from Tigray. In addition, €2.9 million will be mobilised to address the fast deteriorating food security situation of refugees in Kenya.

  • In Ethiopia, the new additional funding will seek to urgently replenish and pre-position life-saving goods and equipment, provide life-saving services such as water and health, and enhance treatment for malnutrition. This brings total humanitarian support for Ethiopia in 2020 to €63.2 million.
  • In Sudan, to respond to the spill-over effect of the Tigray crisis, an addition €2 million to support refugees will be distributed, bringing the total EU aid for Sudan in 2020 to €67.5 million.
  • In Kenya, €2.9 million in additional funding will help address the deteriorating situation of refugee camps in the country, which are facing a major food security crisis. This brings total humanitarian support for Kenya in 2020 to €17.9 million.


On 2-4 December 2020, Commissioner Lenarčič, visited the border areas in Sudan and the capital Khartoum and re-emphasised EU humanitarian support. He also underlined the EU’s continued commitment to supporting Sudan’s political transition. He also stopped in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and met with Ethiopian authorities, calling for protection of humanitarian aid workers, civilians and immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access for humanitarian workers.

There are 6 million people living in Tigray, including over 3 million people who were in need of external assistance prior to the current crisis. This includes 106,000 Eritrean refugees who are reportedly at risk of violence, forced recruitment into Eritrean forces and forceful returns to Eritrea. Prior to the Tigray crisis, close to 19 million people were in need of food assistance in Ethiopia, taking into account the most vulnerable population, including the high number of Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees, and people affected by climatic shocks and the desert locust upsurge.

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