'Free, Unfettered Access' to Tigray is Urgent - Key Bridge Down

Emergency food delivery in Tigray has resumed, according to the World Food Programme, which is calling for "free, unfettered access and secure passage guaranteed by all parties." Earlier, a bridge over Tekeze River, which has been a crucial gateway to supplying aid to many parts of Tigray region, was destroyed, cutting off people from family, food, medicine and fuel, according to various aid agencies in the region. Fighting, which began in November, is hampering assistance in the region where the UN humanitarian agency OCHA estimates that 91 per cent of the population is facing severe hunger.

The US Federal Aviation Authority has also directed aircraft flying over Ethiopia to either avoid Tigray region or maintain a high altitude.

It is not yet known who is responsible for the bridge destruction, which came as the Ethiopian government declared a ceasefire, and opposition forces from the Tigray People's Liberation Frtont re-entered the regional capital Mekelle and several other cities.

A small child eats a nutritious high-energy biscuit at a school that has been converted into a shelter in the Tigray region where the UN humanitarian agency OCHA estimates that 91 per cent of the population is in dire need of food assistance.

InFocus

The UN and human rights groups have warned seven months of fighting has hampered food security in Tigray with a real risk of famine.

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