Ethiopian Army

Military forces blocking roads in Ethiopia’s Tigray region interrupt aid access to rural areas where needs are most severe, UN humanitarians said on Wednesday.

Armed hostilities reportedly continue in northwestern, central, eastern, southeastern and southern zones of Tigray, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).While there is some positive news on access, the situation is fluid and unpredictable.

An OCHA-led inter-agency convoy reached Samre and Gijet towns in the southeastern zone with essential relief supplies, including food and non-food items and mobile health and nutrition teams. But another convoy, heading to Yechila town in the central area, was turned back to the regional capital of Mekelle because of heavy fighting, it said.

An estimated 5.2 million people in Tigray — more than 87 percent of the population — need food assistance, the humanitarians said. According to the interim regional administration, this includes 4.5 million food-insecure people and 630,000 displaced people.

Of the 3 million people targeted to receive emergency shelter and non-food items, only 347,000 people, or about 12 percent, were reached with assistance as of May 3, OCHA said. Since the rainy season started, it is critical that aid agencies provide minimal dignified shelter for the displaced.

The government, the World Food Programme and international nongovernmental organization (NGO) partners distribute food aid to more than 1.2 million people in 32 districts, OCHA said.

Water is delivered to nearly 730,000 people by truck.The humanitarians said unfettered access, deployment of additional staff, communications equipment, more extended visas for NGO staff, and robust civil-military coordination are required to scale up their response.

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