Tigray: Ethiopian government supports humanitarian access to the region

The wreckage of a tank in Tigray The wreckage of a tank in Tigray Henk Bogaard on iStock

09 July 2021

The UN Secretary-General welcomed Ethiopian prime minister’s willingness to encourage access to humanitarian aid in Tigray

On Friday July 9th, UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed met to discuss the unstable humanitarian situation in the war-torn northern Ethiopian province of Tigray. Mr Guterres particularly welcomed Ethiopia’s commitments towards ensuring access to humanitarian aid in the area, as well as working towards the resumption of essential basic services such as electricity and communications. Due to clashes between federal forces and regional troops, who have been fighting each other for more than eight months, two million people were displaced and around 400,000 have suffered from famine.

The previous week, the Ethiopian Government declared a unilateral ceasefire to facilitate the arrival and work of humanitarian personnel, while also aiming to support the continuation of agricultural activities. Furthermore, the United Nations has called for the authorization to move fuel into the region since, as stated by the United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Office (OCHA), a shortage has caused delays in the transportation of emergency aid and commercial supplies into Tigray, while also limiting deliveries of  water to displacement camps in the regional capital of Mekelle. The World Food Program (WFP) has also expressed concerns about potential epidemics of cholera, measles, and malaria that could occur in the region, saying that the risk of spreading any serious disease could be mitigated through proper access to vaccines and healthcare in general. Indeed the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that as many as 3,500,000 people are at risk of cholera and that around 6,000,000 individuals, especially malnourished children, are vulnerable to malaria. On the 12th of June, a cholera vaccination campaign was started, but could only reach half of the target population because humanitarian aid couldn’t properly reach the region. Furthermore, several instances of looting targeting medical supplies and attempts at destroying the cold chain - the system used by health workers to store vaccines- have taken place, thus further complicating efforts.

The Secretary-General reiterated his call to all of the parties involved to respect their obligations in protecting civilians, providing free humanitarian access, and in upholding international humanitarian law.

 

To read more, please visit:

Secretary-General welcomes Ethiopia’s pledge to allow humanitarian access to Tigray | | UN News

UN Agencies Warn of Worsening Humanitarian Catastrophe in Tigray  | Voice of America - English (voanews.com)

 

Author: Sara Taherzadeh;  Editor: Maxime Grenier

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