Millions of people in Tigray facing famine and disease eight days after Ethiopian authorities pledged to lift the blockade to allow free passage of food, medicine, fuel and other urgently needed aid. Humanitarian organizations have yet to reach out to millions of people.
The World Health Organization says aid has not yet been granted despite humanitarian access, a key element of the peace agreement signed between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Movement, in the war-torn north. He called for a mass influx of food and medicine into the region. Reception (TPLF) 8 days ago.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus welcomed the ceasefire agreement reached in South Africa, but warned that after a week “nothing has been done regarding food aid or medicine”.
He added: “Many people are dying from treatable diseases. Many people are starving to death … I expected food and medicine to flow quickly.
In the deal, the federal government agreed to end the blockade on Tigray imposed at the beginning of the war two years ago, while the TPLF, the political movement holding power in the region, armed its forces. said to remove it.
The blockade cut almost all communications and brought banking and other commercial services to a halt. Medical care for her six million inhabitants in Tigray has been curtailed to minimal levels as facilities have closed and medicines have run out. We are running out of food, fuel and electricity.
Within hours of news of the deal last week, UN staff began talking to Ethiopian officials about reopening roads that had been closed for months. It said it was able to begin sending convoys “almost immediately.”
Doctors and aid workers in the region describe the race against time to keep desperately ill and malnourished patients alive while awaiting humanitarian assistance.
WHO Director of Emergencies, Michael Ryan, welcomed the concept of a humanitarian corridor to the Tigray, but experience in other crises has shown that it is important that corridors remain open “unrestricted”. He said he showed something.
“The people of Tigre need massive and overwhelming support right now,” he said.
Ethiopian government representatives are meeting with TPLF delegations in Nairobi to discuss ways to begin implementing the ceasefire. The talks in the Kenyan capital, which he planned to last three or four days, were extended.
According to an official familiar with the talks, both sides are aware of the “challenge of communicating fully with all units to stop fighting.”
In a statement, the Ethiopian government said Thursday it was “working to meet its commitment to restore services … in all Tigray towns and the adjoining Amhara and Afar regions.”
Analysts have expressed concern that the federal government may be able to access humanitarian aid contingent on progress on disarmament by the TPLF, but the issue was not related to the deal.
The deal calls for the disarmament of substantial TPLF forces within weeks, but there are concerns about when other fighters not in the deal will withdraw from Tigray. These include forces from the Amhara region of Eritrea and Ethiopia, which border the region.
Recently, there have been unconfirmed reports of sporadic fighting and looting, particularly in areas where Eritrean forces allied with the Ethiopian government are concentrated. It is unknown who started the clash.
The Eritrean army has fought alongside government forces and has been accused of committing the worst atrocities. All sides have been accused of war crimes during the conflict.
Tedros, himself a Tigray native and former Ethiopian health and foreign minister, called for basic services such as banking and telecommunications to be reopened, as well as for journalists to be allowed into the region.
Conflict between the TPLF and Ethiopian central government forces began in November 2020 when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent troops to Tigray after blaming local forces for attacks on government military bases.
A ceasefire agreed earlier this year collapsed in August, leading to bloody fighting that left thousands dead and many more displaced.
Researchers at Belgium’s Ghent University have calculated that hundreds of thousands may have died in Tigre since the civil war broke out.
More deaths are taking place in neighboring regions, and in total, the war in northern Ethiopia will be the deadliest in decades.
The Ethiopian government has accused the TPLF, which played a leading role in the country’s ruling coalition until Abiy took power in 2018, of trying to reassert Tiglayan control over the country. Tiglaya leaders accuse Abiy of leading an oppressive government and discrimination. Both deny the other’s accusations.