Ethiopian Army

United Nations humanitarians on Thursday said they are failing to meet the emergency response needs of the people in Ethiopia’s embattled northernmost Tigray region.

“The complex and unpredictable security situation in Ethiopia continues to impede the freedom of humanitarian movement to reach people in need,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

“Additional capacity, funds, as well as unimpeded and safe access, are needed to scale up to the level needed to respond across Tigray.” Food insecurity remains dire, with an estimated 4.5 million people in need of food assistance across Tigray.

The humanitarian office estimated about 5 million people lived in Tigray around the start of the fighting in early November 2020. Nearly six months into the conflict, most rural areas are without communications and electricity, OCHA said.

Such a disruption mainly impacts access to health services and water supply, disrupts communications in the northwestern, central Tigray and parts of the east and southeast, delaying the reporting and monitoring of aid distribution.

However, the United Nations and its humanitarian partners are scaling up the aid response, including identifying and supporting survivors of gender-based violence. Partners are targeting all people in need of food assistance in the region, OCHA said.

The World Food Programme said it distributed nearly 9,000 metric tons of food, reaching almost 529,000 people in the northwestern and southern zones and nearly 34,000 people in towns in the eastern zone since the end of March.

Water was delivered by truck to more than 700,000 people last week, humanitarians said. While about 285,000 displaced people received shelter and non-food items, it amounts to only 10 percent of the targeted population, OCHA said.

Preparations for a displacement site in the regional capital of Mekelle for more than 19,000 people continue. Humanitarians are building shelters, access roads and latrines.

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