Africa: Responding to Humanitarian Needs of People Affected By Violence and Covid-19


In 2020, the ICRC’s humanitarian activities mainly focused on responding to two major crises caused by the COVID-19 outbreak and fighting in Northern Ethiopia.

The ICRC is present in Ethiopia since the beginning of the 1977 Ethio-Somalia armed conflict. Its current major activities in the country are visiting places of detention to ensure both the treatment and conditions of detainees, helping people with physical disabilities (PWDs) get access to quality and sustainable physical rehabilitation services, working closely with the Ethiopian Red Cross Society (ERCS) to restore family links among people separated by armed conflict and other situations of violence as well as providing assistance to people displaced by conflict.

ICRC also trains on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) among members of the defense and polices forces as well as higher learning institutions.

ICRC in Ethiopia has rapidly adapted to the evolving reality of the pandemic in the country and has stepped up its response to the crisis integrating COVID-19 as an important new parameter in its operations.

In response to the humanitarian crisis caused as a result of the fighting in northern Ethiopia since early November, the ICRC has scaled up its response in delivering medicine and medical supplies to health facilities, which were badly affected by a shortage of supplies and also reconnecting families with their loved ones in Tigray. Moreover, the ICRC and ERCS jointly provided emergency relief and water to the affected communities, including internally displaced persons.

Highlights of our work in Ethiopia from January to December 2020

More than 72,000 detainees were visited in different places of detention

Provided free phone call service to 56,781 refugees and 33,281 returnees