Conflicts & War

2.3 million people need urgent aid in Ethiopia’s Tigray, says UN

Addis Ababa, Jan 9 (efe-epa).- A total of 2.3 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid in the conflict-hit Ethiopian region of Tigray, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in its most recent report.

“Insecurity continues with ?ghting reported in rural areas and around (Tigray’s capital) Mekelle, (and the cities of) Shiraro and Shire,” OCHA posted on its Twitter account late Friday.

Ethiopian government forces have been fighting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in the region bordering Eritrea since 4 November, in retaliation for an attack by Tigryans on a federal base.

“Access to Tigray remains constrained due to violence and bureaucratic hurdles,” the UN added.

The armed conflict has left 1.3 million people in need for humanitarian aid, in addition to the over 950,000 refugees who were already in the area.

Based on the findings of the visit by two UN and government agencies missions to the region, the report denounced food shortages, widespread looting and high levels of insecurity in the area.

“According to both assessment missions, food supplies are very limited, and only locally produced food items are available and at increasing prices,” the report read.

“Besides the looting of private properties, the mission also observed a massive damage and/or vandalization of public health centres and absence of health workers.”

OCHA expressed concern over a potential spike in the coronavirus cases due to “the interruption of Covid-19 surveillance and control activities in the region, coupled with mass displacements and overcrowded conditions in displacement setting”.

On 28 November, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced the end of the offensive, which left hundreds of civilians dead “in possible war crimes” according to UN and human rights organizations, when his troops seized Mekelle.

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