Northern Ethiopia situation rapidly worsening: UN

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A tank damaged during the fighting between Ethiopia's National Defense Force (ENDF) and Tigray Special Forces stands on the outskirts of Humera town in Ethiopia, July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo
A tank damaged during the fighting between Ethiopia’s National Defense Force (ENDF) and Tigray Special Forces stands on the outskirts of Humera town in Ethiopia, July 1, 2021. REUTERS/Stringer/File Photo

The rapidly deteriorating situation in northern Ethiopia has severely impacted civilians and reportedly resulted in large-scale displacements and relief needs, UN humanitarians said on Monday.

Fighting and hostilities in and around Dessie and Kombolcha towns in the Amhara region over the weekend reportedly resulted in large-scale displacement and increasing humanitarian needs, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The two towns were already hosting a large number of displaced people from nearby areas.

“The escalation of hostilities risks worsening the already dire humanitarian situation in Tigray, Amhara and Afar, where millions of people need urgent life-saving assistance,” the OCHA said.

“Humanitarian supplies including food, nutrition, medicine, water, sanitation and hygiene, shelter and non-food items are reportedly available, but the delivery of urgent humanitarian assistance has been hampered by ongoing insecurity,” the office said.

Restrictions imposed on the delivery of humanitarian supplies into Tigray continue, the OCHA said. Since early August, fuel for the humanitarian response has not entered Tigray, forcing UN humanitarian partners to suspend or significantly reduce humanitarian programs.

The movement of humanitarian workers in and out of Tigray via road remains restricted. The office also said personnel movement by air remains suspended.

The United Nations continues to call on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure and facilitate the free and safe movement of humanitarian supplies and personnel as required by international humanitarian law, the OCHA said.

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