The needy people in Ethiopia’s Tigray state reportedly are running out of food because of a lack of access for the United Nations and its partners, UN humanitarians said on Thursday.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that while the full extent of the humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia’s northernmost regional state remains unclear, food for the displaced has run out.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has received worrying reports of refugees leaving camps in Tigray due to violence and the lack of food and services.
The United Nations has been complaining for weeks that the Ethiopian government has not granted access to the needy in Tigray and adjacent states. Communication lines also were reported down.
The United Nations and the government last week announced an access accord but earlier this week a UN assessment team was shot at by government troops as it sought to check out roads for aid convoys.
“The delivery of essential humanitarian assistance to the region by the United Nations and its partners depends on a security risk assessment of the roads leading to Tigray and a humanitarian assessment of basic needs,” OCHA said.
“The UN and its humanitarian partners reiterate the urgent call on all parties to the conflict in Tigray to allow unconditional, unfettered and safe humanitarian access to the whole region, where people are now in their fifth week without food, water and power,” OCHA said.
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has said that regaining access to refugees and other people in need in Tigray is urgent and critical. The number of refugees who have fled Tigray for Sudan is now up to 49,500, said the UNHCR.
A three-month humanitarian preparedness plan, covering from last month through next month, targets an additional 1.1 million people likely to be affected by the crisis in Tigray and parts of the adjacent Amhara and Afar regions, OCHA said.
The total cost of the plan for the United Nations and its humanitarian partners is 96.9 million dollars.
The humanitarian office said only 14 million dollars had been mobilized.
The crisis erupted early last month during clashes between Tigray rebels and the federal government, cutting civilians from necessities, forcing tens of thousands to flee their homes and refugee camps running out of supplies.