Ethiopia: amid hostilities in Tigray, humanitarian situation remains “ dire ”

“While humanitarian access has improved considerably, active hostilities have been reported in the north-west, center, east, south-east and south areas”, Stéphane DujarricTold correspondents during a regular press briefing.

After months of escalating tensions between the Ethiopian government and the dominant regional force, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive after rebels attacked a base in the federal army.

Within days, militias from neighboring Amhara’s region had joined the fray, apparently followed by troops from neighboring Eritrea, Tigray’s longtime rival.

Government forces said the area had been secured by the end of November, but TPLF resistance continued amid accusations of extrajudicial killings and rights violations on all sides.

Mass displacement

The UN spokesperson said some humanitarian partners have accessed the towns of Gijet and Samre, in the south and southeast areas.

“They reported that most of the population of these towns had fled,” he said, adding that the Alamata-Mekelle-Adigrat-Shire road remains “partially accessible”.

Mr. Dujarric referred to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) saying that about 2.5 million people in rural Tigray have not had access to essential services in the past five months.

In addition, the conflict continues to cause massive displacement across the region, with tens of thousands of people moving to urban areas, especially to Mekelle and Shire.

“According to a recent assessment report, there may be as many as 450,000 displaced people in Shire,” he said.

As UN humanitarian partners scale up the response, they grapple with capacity and resource challenges, “which remain insufficient for the 4.5 million people who need life-saving assistance,” said Mr. Dujarric.

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