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Humanitarian access to Ethiopia's Tigray still faces obstacles: UN

Overall, the humanitarian situation in Tigray is increasingly severe, with reports of fighting, human rights violations and abuse, and increasing hunger and malnutrition affecting hundreds of thousands of people

Xinhua , Wednesday 20 Jan 2021
A young Ethiopian girl
File Photo: A young girl pictured lying wounded last month in her home in Humera, northwest Ethiopia. Two women and an elderly man in her compound were killed by shelling and gunfire (AFP)
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UN humanitarian access to Ethiopia's conflict-stricken Tigray region still faces obstacles, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Although movements of humanitarian cargo inside Tigray are improving substantially, critical staff deployment and surge requests submitted to the federal government of Ethiopia have been pending clearance for several weeks, said OCHA.

Overall, the humanitarian situation in Tigray is increasingly severe, with reports of fighting, human rights violations and abuse, and increasing hunger and malnutrition affecting hundreds of thousands of people. Most of them have not received any assistance to date, it said.

OCHA said a deputy humanitarian coordinator, Wafaa Saeed, along with four other staff from OCHA, has been deployed to Tigray's capital, Mekelle.

They are now working closely with aid organizations and local authorities in Tigray to carry out assessments and coordinate the humanitarian response for people affected by the ongoing conflict. Meanwhile, UN humanitarians have reached Shire, where they have delivered food assistance.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) regained access last week to two refugee camps in Tigray. This is the first time in two months since the fighting forced aid workers to withdraw from the region, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, on Tuesday.

UNHCR led the first humanitarian mission since November to the Mai Aini and the Adi Harush camps. Eritrean refugees were found in desperate need of supplies and services.

The agency was granted one-time access by the Ethiopian authorities to assess the needs in the camps, said the spokesman.

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