Fuel shortage hindering relief work in northern Ethiopia: UNOCHA

Humanitarian aid being delivered to the Tigray region of Ethiopia by a convoy of 50 trucks. /WFP

Fuel shortage is hindering relief operations in northern Ethiopia, the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) has warned.

Humanitarian aid is being delivered to the Tigray region of Ethiopia by a convoy of 50 trucks. /WFP

In its latest situation report for northern Ethiopia, the UN body said Friday evening that a lack of sufficient fuel availability is hindering relief operations in Ethiopia’s Tigray and Amhara regions.

“Ayder hospital in Mekelle city, the biggest referral hospital in the Tigray region, serving more than 300,000 patients is reportedly at risk of closure due to lack of fuel,” the UNOCHA report disclosed.

The hospital has reportedly grounded 70 percent of its vehicles while the remaining 30 percent require 1,300 litres of fuel a week for medical transport and to run the ambulances and emergency service, according to the report.

“Fuel availability is also a concern in the Amhara region, with humanitarian partners required to seek a letter from the region’s department of trade and industry before fuelling their vehicles in areas around Sekota, Lalibela, and Gashena cities, impacting the humanitarian operations in the region,” said the UNOCHA report.

The UNOCHA report said the overall operating environment in northern Ethiopia remains constrained, by a lack of essential services and functional markets. The remoteness of some areas and the limited presence of humanitarian partners on the ground in some areas are additional hindrances to relief operations in northern Ethiopia.

Humanitarian aid is recently heading to Ethiopia’s northernmost Tigray region after the Ethiopian government and the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) agreed to a conditional cessation of hostilities and unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid into the region.

The TPLF and the Ethiopian National Defense Force, backed by allied forces, have been engaged in a 19-month conflict.

The Ethiopian parliament designated the TPLF as a terrorist organization in May 2021.