Fuel, funding shortages hamper humanitarian relief efforts in Ethiopia: UN

Fuel and funding shortages are hampering humanitarian relief operations in Ethiopia’s conflict-hit Tigray region, the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) revealed.

In its latest Northern Ethiopia Humanitarian Update Situation Report, the UN body said the shortages are severely hampering relief operations, especially outside Mekelle, the Tigray regional capital, reports Xinhua news agency.

“While the arrival of additional humanitarian supplies into Tigray is expected to address some humanitarian aid gaps, the scale of response is challenged by the lack of fuel to transport the supplies from Mekelle to different parts of the region,” the OCHA report disclosed.

“At least more than 334,000 liters of fuel are needed to distribute more than 42,000 metric tons of relief supplies within the region.”

The UNOCHA report also said the inability to bring sufficient supplies of cash, as well as limited access to people in hard-to-reach areas of Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions, has meant the overall operating environment in northern Ethiopia remains constrained.

“In Tigray region, increasing absence of health workers is compromising the scale-up of nutrition services as many health workers are absent from the health centres due to non-payment of salaries,” the OCHA report revealed.

Humanitarian aid is recently heading to the conflict-hit region after the Ethiopian government and the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) agreed to a conditional cessation of hostilities and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid into the region.

The TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defence Force have been engaged in a 19-month conflict that has reportedly left tens of thousands of people dead and millions of others in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

The Tigray conflict has also spilled into border areas of neighbouring Afar and Amhara regions, causing the deaths of thousands of civilians and displacement of tens of thousands of civilians.

The Ethiopian parliament designated the TPLF as a terrorist organization in May 2021.

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