Immediate health and economic impact of the Tigray war on internally displaced persons and hosting households

Aregawi Gebreyesus, Afework Mulugeta, Abraha Woldemichael, Akeza Awealom Asgedom, Girmatsion Fisseha, Mache Tsadik, Tesfay Gebregzabher Gebrehiwot, Mengistu Mitiku, Molla Teferi, Hagos Godifay, and Yibrah Alemayehu

Scientific Reports, Volume 13, Article number 18071 (2023)


This paper examines the socioeconomic situation of IDPs and their host communities in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Conflict broke out in the Tigray region of Ethiopia in late 2020, causing the displacement of 2.1 million people within the region.  

The analysis is based on data collected from November 2020 to June 2021 in 48 woredas (districts) in the Tigray region. Due to the ongoing conflict, the western zone of the Tigray region was not covered. Data collection focused on IDPs living in the homes of non-IDP households and excluded IDPs living in camps. The dataset covers more than 3,800 IDP and host households.  

Main findings: 

  • IDP households had on average 6 family members. About 44 percent of IDPs had been living with host households for more than 6 months. More than half of IDP households hosted in communities (so living outside camps) were female-headed. Two thirds of IDPs were farmers and a third were traders. 
  • About half of IDPs were displaced from the western and northwestern zones of Tigray. About 15 percent of IDPs had family members who were killed during the war. 
  • About 12 percent of IDPs were suffering from chronic diseases, and many did not have access to their medication. 
  • Almost 70 percent of IDP households reported looting of their household assets, while 16 percent reported the complete destruction of household assets.  
  • IDPs reported high rates of depression (over 40 percent) and post-traumatic stress disorder (almost 60 percent). 
  • There were high levels of deprivation among IDP households; 87 percent did not have adequate clothing, 80 percent did not have a sleeping room, 88 percent experienced food shortages, and 77 percent did not own a blanket.  
  • Prior to the war, the average host household had six members. Including IDPs, the average host household included eight people. 
  • Host households had also suffered substantial loss of household assets due to looting. 

The authors conclude that the Tigray war had substantial adverse effects on both IDP and host households