Ethiopia says humanitarian aid underway in conflict-hit Tigray

Tigray refugees

Ethiopians who fled the conflict in the Tigray region waiting for food in Hamdayit camp after reaching Kassala State, Sudan on December 14, 2020.

Photo credit: Mahmoud Hjaj | Anadolu Agency | AFP

Addis Ababa

The Ethiopian government on Monday said that humanitarian assistance is being provided as planned in the conflict-hit northern Tigray regional state.

The remark was made by Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopia's deputy prime minister and foreign minister, while briefing the diplomatic community and the Human and Resilience Donor Group on the current humanitarian situation in Tigray.

Weeks of fighting in Tigray between the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which used to rule the region until its defeat, and the Ethiopian Defence Forces have reportedly left hundreds of people dead, thousands displaced and millions in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

More than 53,000 refugees have fled Tigray into eastern Sudan over the past six weeks, according to the UN refugee agency.

Demeke told the diplomatic community that "food items, commodities, and medical supplies are being provided in the region to address the needs of the beneficiaries".

Financial appeal

On December 22, 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and 30 humanitarian partners had appealed for USD156 million to meet "the critical humanitarian needs" of Ethiopian refugees fleeing the Tigray conflict through the first half of 2021.

The urgent financial appeal is also expected to strengthen the preparedness to receive refugees in other countries in the region in case of further movements, the UN refugee agency said.

Recalling the "colossal destruction" caused to infrastructure by the TPLF fighters, Demeke also emphasised the "daunting task" of reconstruction that is now underway with telecommunication lines being restored in almost all parts of the region and financial institutions resuming their operations.

The Ethiopian government has assigned an interim administration to administer the region following the TPLF defeat.

According to the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a common understanding was reached to continue the engagement with the donor group to work for further scaling up humanitarian activities in the region.