UN: Ethiopia wants to give aid workers access to Tigray

About a month after the offensive against the People’s Liberation Front of Tigray (TPLF) began, the Ethiopian government is granting access to Tigray’s more than five million residents and the refugees who live there.

Geneva / Addis Ababa (dpa) – According to the UN, the Ethiopian government wants to allow humanitarian aid in the Tigray conflict zone. The UN and Addis Ababa have reached an agreement, the UN emergency relief agency announced Wednesday.

This ensures that emergency workers have “unhindered, sustainable and safe” access to areas in Tigray that are under government control. For example, the more than five million inhabitants of Tigray and the refugees living there should have access to humanitarian aid after a month of fighting.

Previously, the UN and humanitarian agencies had repeatedly criticized that helpers had no access to Tigray and that, due to limited communication, little was known about the situation on the ground. It wasn’t until Monday that the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned that the refugee camps in Tigray with Eritrean residents would run out of food supplies.

About a month ago, the Ethiopian government launched an offensive against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which was in power in Tigray. Internet and telephone connections were cut, roads were blocked, and electricity and water supplies were limited. According to UNHCR, nearly 46,000 people have fled the fighting to neighboring Sudan. Last weekend, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced that the capital of Tigray, Mekelle, had been captured and the offensive had ended. However, it is unclear whether the fighting will continue in some areas. In addition, it is not known how much of Tigray actually controls the Ethiopian armed forces.

The conflict is caused by tensions between Tigray and the central government. The TPLF dominated Ethiopia for more than 25 years until Abiy came to power in 2018 and ousted the TPLF. Many people in Tigray do not feel represented by the central government and are demanding more autonomy. There are a number of ethnic tensions in Ethiopia with its approximately 112 million inhabitants.

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