Fighting hampering aid delivery to Ethiopia’s Tigray: UN

THE United Nations has said that ongoing fighting “in many parts” of Ethiopia’s Tigray is complicating efforts to deliver humanitarian aid despite a deal granting the UN access to territory under federal control.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced military operations in the northern region a month ago against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Last week, he declared victory, saying fighting was “completed” after federal forces entered the regional capital Mekelle. But the TPLF has promised to fight on.
“We have reports of fighting still going on in many parts of Tigray. This is concerning and it’s a complex situation for us,” Saviano Abreu, spokesman for the UN’s humanitarian coordination office, told the AFP news agency on Friday.
The conflict has claimed thousands of lives, according to the International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank, and tens of thousands of refugees have streamed across the border into Sudan.
The UN has been warning of a possible humanitarian catastrophe within Tigray, though a communications blackout has made it difficult to assess conditions on the ground.
More than 45,000 have fled the conflict from Tigray into Sudan, though Sudanese forces on Thursday said Ethiopian forces blocked people from crossing the border at its busiest point.
Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, reporting from Kenya’s capital Nairobi, said thousands of civilians were reported killed in the fighting.
“There have also been reports of massacres of civilians by militia on both sides. The leaders of both sides deny it,” he said.
“It is very difficult for anyone to verify any of these claims because there is almost no access to humanitarian workers, human rights workers and journalists.”
On Wednesday, the UN announced it had reached an agreement to administer aid in areas of Tigray that were government-controlled.
But as of Friday, security assessments were still being conducted and three UN officials told AFP that aid was not expected to arrive before next week.
-Al Jazeera

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