Aid access in Ethiopia’s Tigray opens up but not wide enough: UN

UN humanitarians have said that access for aid deliveries in Ethiopia’s Tigray region since the cessation of hostilities is improving but not yet up to what is needed.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Monday that it saw “some gradual but tangible improvements in access” since the signing of the November 2 accord between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front and the federal government.

Since the middle of the month, relief deliveries began moving into the northernmost Tigray region, including the regional capital of Mekelle, along the Semera and Kombolcha corridors and to other parts of Tigray along the Gondar corridor in the Amhara region, the office added.

Additionally, OCHA said UN Humanitarian Air Service flights for staff resumed for Mekelle and Shire, Xinhua news agency reported.

However, the more than 450 trucks carrying government, UN and non-governmental organisation aid into Tigray between November 15 and 24 is far from what is needed to meet relief in the area, OCHA said.

The trucks mostly carried food aid plus medical and agricultural supplies. Some fuel and cash were brought in.

“More than five million people are in need of food assistance and an estimated 30 per cent of children are facing acute malnutrition,” the office added.

“Sustaining and building on these movements to ensure that the required food and other items can reach all those in need is critical.”

The office said that access to most parts of the neighbouring areas of Amhara and Afar also improved in recent weeks.

“We, along with our partners, are providing food and other assistance, including to displaced people and those who have returned,” OCHA added.

“We need to be able to scale up our work to help all those in need.”

The fighting in Tigray lasted nearly two years. Now Ethiopia is in a historic drought.

The office said that the Bale zone of the Oromia region and the Liban zone of the Somali region are suffering a cholera outbreak with nearly 500 people impacted, including 20 deaths. Hundreds of thousands more remain at risk.

“We, along with our partners, are providing health and water and sanitation assistance,” OCHA said.

“Conflict in western Oromia also continues to drive people from their homes and has hampered our ability to provide aid.”




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