UN calls for halt to fighting in northern Ethiopia

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Ethiopian Tigray
Ethiopian Tigray

The United Nations is calling for a halt to fighting in northern Ethiopia amid reports of an intensification of the conflict to ensure that aid workers can reach all people in dire need of help, UN humanitarians said on Friday.

The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said aid workers continue to deliver assistance to people across the three northern regions despite highly challenging circumstances. In northernmost Tigray, more than 90 percent of the people need aid, and an estimated 400,000 people are living in famine-like conditions, the office said. Aid operations continue to face significant challenges. Although more than 200 trucks of humanitarian supplies arrived in Tigray last week, far more is needed, OCHA said.

Also, the convoys did not receive clearance to carry much-needed fuel or medicine.The office said the lack of cash, fuel and supplies is disrupting the response in multiple areas. UN humanitarian partners were only able to reach 17 percent of the people who should have received food assistance, or 145,000 out of 870,000 people.

The reduction of water trucking services in central and northwestern zones impacted more than 472,000 people, OCHA said. “We are particularly concerned that much-needed medical supplies continue to be blocked from entering Tigray. Nine trucks carrying medicines have been awaiting approval to proceed into Tigray since the beginning of August,” the office said. “In Amhara and Afar (that neighbor Tigray), we continue to scale up our operations to ensure that people affected by fighting receive the aid they require.” OCHA said 640,000 people in Amhara and 72,000 people in Afar have received food assistance since the beginning of August.

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