Ethiopia: News - Newly Appointed UN OCHA Chief On a Mission to Ethiopia Amid Deteriorating Humanitarian Situation

Addis Abeba — The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, commenced a six-day mission to Ethiopia today. He made his first official mission as the UN's humanitarian chief to Ethiopia citing the increased the humanitarian needs in the country as a result of armed conflicts in Tigray and Benishangul-Gumuz, intercommunal violence in parts of Afar, Somali and SNNP regions, and drought in Somali, Oromia and Afar regions.

"These shocks came on top of existing challenges associated with floods, the desert locust infestation, chronic food insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic. Millions of vulnerable people are now struggling and in need of help." said the under secretary.

The United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths plans to meet with Amhara regional authorities in Bahir Dar city and also travel to the Tigray region to assess the conditions of civilians affected by the conflict as well as the challenges humanitarian workers face. An OCHA report revealed that the last convoy of assistance reached Mekelle on July 12, 2021, while all roads into Tigray from the Amhara region remain closed due to restrictions and insecurity. The only possible road through the Afar region has been inaccessible since 19 July, following an attack on a WFP convoy, the report said.

The report also revealed that 44 trucks with humanitarian supplies left Semera, Afar region yesterday, for Tigray while about 150 trucks remain on standby in Semera pending security clearances. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), the current food supply in Tigray will only last until this Friday.

"Vaccinations and other life-saving services and access to safe water for up to 450,000 people risk disruption due to fuel shortages," OCHA said, adding, " At least 200,000 litres of fuel (4-5 tankers) are needed every week to enable operations to continue."

The federal government on its part stated that 536,979 quintals of fertilizer, 400,000 quintals of wheat, 2.5 million liters of edible oil as well as 14 million litres of fuel in depots were provided to the Tigray region prior to the humanitarian ceasefire on June 29, 2021.

Griffiths stated the humanitarian community's commitment to working with the Government of Ethiopia and expressed optimism about his visit, "This visit is an opportunity to discuss with the Government of Ethiopia's officials and partners how the United Nations and its humanitarian partners can best serve the people of Ethiopia. I look forward to constructive discussions on scaling up the humanitarian response across the country." AS

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