Scottish Government emergency support for Ethiopia

£340,000 in aid for those affected by conflict in Tigray.

Three Scottish-based charities will provide urgent humanitarian relief to thousands of people caught in the conflict in northern Ethiopia through the support of the Scottish Government.

Tearfund, Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) and Mercy Corps will each receive £113,450 from the Humanitarian Emergency Fund (HEF) to run aid projects, two in the Tigray region and one across the border in Sudan.

More than 1.3 million people are in need of urgent humanitarian aid after conflict erupted late last year.

Fighting continues to be reported across the region and hundreds of thousands of people now have limited access to basic commodities.

In addition to food, Tearfund’s project will provide hygiene and health support while SCIAF will supply funds for immediate assistance to those who have lost their homes.

Mercy Corps will provide support to refugees from the Tigray crisis in Sudan, through its established health service in the Um Rukaba refugee camp.

International Development Minister Jenny Gilruth said:

“The situation in Tigray is extremely concerning, with many facing rising hunger. The conflict has exacerbated an already fragile situation impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and a lost harvest due to a locust infestation.

“Our Humanitarian Emergency Fund stands ready to help when confronted with such a pressing emergency.

“The Scottish Government is committed to fulfilling its role as a responsible and compassionate global citizen, and this aid will provide essential help to those in desperate need.”

Director of SCIAF Alistair Dutton said:

“We welcome this grant from the Scottish Government’s Humanitarian Emergency Fund (HEF) to help thousands of people who have been affected by the violent conflict in Tigray and who are in need of emergency humanitarian assistance.

“Working with the Ethiopian Catholic Church and our local partners, who have stayed with their people throughout the fighting, despite the danger to themselves, we’ve been able to provide shelter, mattresses and other essential items like blankets and cooking utensils to men, women and children who have fled the fighting and are experiencing unimaginable suffering.”

Executive Director of Mercy Corps Alexandra Angulo said:

"People fleeing the conflict in Ethiopia need urgent help. Over 50,000 people have crossed the border into Sudan already, and although our health clinic in Um Rukaba camp has provided vital services to over 10,300 people, the needs are growing. This humanitarian crisis is being further exacerbated by the significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases. 

“With this generous support from the Scottish Government, we'll be able to help more people access healthcare, provide essentials like clean water and blankets and offer cash payments for those most at risk."

Head of Tearfund Scotland Graeme McMeekin said:

"This funding from the Scottish Government is crucial right now to help our partners in Tigray respond to the urgent needs they see all around them in the midst of this devastating conflict situation.

"These vital funds will mean vulnerable families will receive food and cash to provide for their immediate needs, as well as basic hygiene materials such as soap and face masks - which we know are all the more critical during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The funding will also enable Tearfund partners to provide psychosocial support to many who have experienced significant emotional trauma as a result of the conflict." 


Three grants of £113,450 each will be given from the HEF to Tearfund, SCIAF and Mercy Corps: £340,350 in total.

Recent HEF funding for humanitarian emergencies has included responses to crisis situations in Niger and Beirut.

The HEF was also activated for Ethiopia in March 2020 to respond to the locust outbreak which impacted on harvests and increased food insecurity across the country.

The Scottish Government has also provided £2 million for Covid-19 response in Africa.

The Scottish Government has renewed its commitment to International Development in the recent Scottish Budget.


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