Greater humanitarian access urged in Ethiopia’s Tigray

Ethiopia's Tigray region

United Nations, (Samajweekly) There is a need for greater access in Ethiopia’s conflict-ridden Tigray region to reach large groups in dire humanitarian need, although more UN humanitarian workers are getting into the region, a spokesman of the world body said.

The government-allowed access is not enough, Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said on Friday.

“We continue to call for more access,” Xinhua news agency quoted the spokesman as saying.

“My understanding is that there has been a new system put into place to get humanitarian workers in there more easily, which includes, I think, an advance three-day notification.

“The move is definitely a step in the right direction. But the UN needs more access as there are large groups of people who are in dire need of humanitarian help,” he said.

The problem has been a combination of bureaucratic hurdles and a lack of communication, including internet access, said the spokesman.

The UN and its partners do not have enough humanitarian workers to distribute aid and to reach the people who need it, he said.

“There’s been some trucks that have come in, but having aid physically go in is not the same thing as us being able to distribute it.”

The people of Tigray have been caught up in a conflict between regional armed forces and federal government troops.

Since November 4, 2020, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which rules the northernmost Tigray state.

The federal government’s operations followed the TPLF’s attack on a command base of the Ethiopian Defense Force in Mekelle city, capital of Tigray.