Ethiopia: Humanitarian Tit-for-Tat

Ethiopian refugees fleeing clashes in the country's northern Tigray region cross the border into Hamdayet, Sudan.

The calls for an immediate cessation of active fighting have gradually become muted, as has the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), whose forces the federal government has been engaging since early last month. As they went quiet, clamours for unimpeded access to humanitarian aid in Tigray Regional State have grown.

Much of the comments and questions were focused on this issue when Redwan Hussien, spokesperson for the state of emergency task force, briefed the media on December 8, 2020. He doubled down on the federal government's insistence that aid is reaching the region, with almost a quarter of a million people already receiving support; that damaged infrastructure is being fixed and that life in major towns is getting back to "normal".

However, this claim cannot be verified by independent bodies as the region is closed to media and humanitarian aid organisations.

Thousands of quintals of food items have been sent to the region, including 12,500ql to Meqelle, according to the Office of the Prime Minister. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has also confirmed that medical convoys have reached the region's capital for restocking.

The international community is not satisfied, nonetheless, especially on the fate of the 96,000 Eritrean refugees camped in the region and the nearly 50,000 Ethiopians that fled the fighting for Sudan. The government admitted that there are refugees moving in "an irregular manner." Reports of killings, abductions and forceful resettlement to Eritrea have also been received by the UN.

Last week the international media prominently covered the alleged Eritrean military's intervention in Tigray. This is, however, persistently denied by both Addis Abeba and Asmera.

More From: Addis Fortune

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