Relief ops in Ethiopia's Tigray in catastrophic situation


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Relief operations in Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray region are in a catastrophic, dire situation with workers attacked, blocked, supplies and equipment looted and even harvests stolen or torched, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said.

The OCHA has reported incidents of denial of humanitarian movement, interrogation, assault and detention of humanitarian workers at military checkpoints, reports xinhua news agency.

"Several areas in the region remain inaccessible," the humanitarian office said on Wednesday.

"Of the accessible areas, the situation is dire, including dysfunctional water systems and limited or no health facilities. Levels of food insecurity and malnutrition are at alarming levels."

Preliminary field reports from Axum and Adwa in the Central zone indicate visible signs of starvation among internally displaced people, it said.

"Our humanitarian colleagues warn that partners received worrying information that the government has instructed to proceed with relocating internally displaced people to their areas of origin," said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"In a community in the northwestern zone of Tigray, aid workers noted a severe need for food, after the burning or looting of harvests," Dujarric said.

"It's hard to imagine people burning and looting harvest. The humanitarian situation remains catastrophic," he said.

Humanitarian partners continue to scale up the response as quickly as possible, despite the challenges, OCHA said.

More than 560,000 people were reached with food assistance last week.

While humanitarians have reached more than 3.3 million since late March, the target is 5.2 million people.

"We continue to call for safe, unimpeded and sustained access to scale up the humanitarian response to help all people in need. More funding is urgently needed for operations," OCHA said.

The Ethiopian government launched a military offensive in November 2020 against the the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which until then had power in the state.

The conflict has driven hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes and caused widespread destruction.


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