Many people in Ethiopia’s Tigray have not received assistance: UN spokesman

Fitsum Tekele, an Ethiopian farmer, harvests their staple Eragrostis tef, also known as teff grain in his field northeast of the Mekelle, Tigray region, Ethiopia December 10, 2018. REUTERS/Maggie Fick

A United Nations spokesman said on Friday that more than six weeks since the start of the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray, many people in the region have still not received assistance, despite some limited recent deliveries by some UN agencies.

“The International Organization for Migration has delivered aid to Tigray border areas and the World Food Programme has sent some food into camps in Tigray,” Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said at a regular press briefing.

“We continue to call for immediate and unfettered access to all areas where people have been affected by the fighting,” he said.

“Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that, although electricity and telecommunications are intermittently working in Tigray’s capital, Mekelle, people in many other parts of the region are still lacking access to food, water, cash, power and telecommunications,” added Haq.

In neighboring Sudan, between 200 and 300 refugees continue to arrive from Ethiopia every day. As of Thursday, nearly 51,100 refugees had crossed the border in search of safety and assistance, he added.

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.