No aid convoys in Ethiopia’s Tigray in past week: OCHA

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The UN and partners have not delivered relief by road into the embattled Tigray region of northern Ethiopia for a week, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

The 20-truck aid convoy into Mekelle, by way of Semera in the neighbouring Afar region, April 1-2 was regarded as a breakthrough because it was the first road delivery into the regional capital since mid-December, Xinhua news agency quoted the OCHA as saying.

It was also the first humanitarian fuel supplies delivery through the Semera-Mekelle corridor in eight months, it added.

“Humanitarian organizations in Tigray face growing challenges in reaching people in need due to shortages of essential supplies, as well as continuing suspension of basic essential services, including banking, electricity and communications.”

The Office said 5.2 million people in Tigray should be receiving food every six weeks.

The UN and partners, almost six months after the current round of food distributions began, reached only about 1.2 million people with food.

It also said about 73,000 people received food assistance this week, but half of those received only pulses, and thousands received only cooking oil. Additionally, there have been no school feedings in the past week in Tigray because of a lack of food.

The Office said that out of an estimated 3.9 million people requiring some form of health assistance, UN partners with health services reached only 27,000 people in Tigray this week.

It said UN airlifts between Addis Ababa and Mekelle continue, with around 76 metric tonnes of nutrition supplies flown in this week. That makes about 428 metric tons of humanitarian supplies transported by air this year.

“This has been critical, but corresponds to only around 11 trucks, or half of what could be transported by a standard road convoy,” OCHA said.

It said in Afar, the overall humanitarian situation remains dire despite some reported access improvements. By the beginning of this week, partners reached more than 196,000 people with food since late February, around one-third of the population in need.

Despite the tense security situation in parts of Amhara, to the south of Tigray, humanitarians last week reached about 634,000 people with food, more than 10 million since last December, OCHA said.

An additional 10 mobile health and nutrition teams were deployed in Amhara over the past week.

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