WFP, UNICEF plead for upscaling efforts for those affected by turmoil in eastern Ethiopia – Xinhua

ADDIS ABABA, August 18 (Xinhua) – Ethiopia Country Director of the World Food Program (WFP), Steven Were Omamo and representative of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Ethiopia, Gillian Mellsop on Saturday argued for scaling up efforts for those who affected by unrest in the Somali regional state in eastern Ethiopia.

In a joint press statement, the two UN agencies said during the visit of the two officials to the Somali regional state earlier this week, they have witnessed the establishment of a humanitarian coordination committee consisting of governmental and humanitarian partners to establish food distribution points in identify the region.

The statement however said despite the security situation in the Somali regional state that shows signs of stabilization, children and women are facing huge challenges in basic access services such as water and health.

"The people here are facing enormous challenges and we have done everything to support them through food differences over the past few days," said Omamo.

"Children and women continue to face enormous challenges in gaining access to basic services such as water and health," Mellsop said. "By working together with the regional government and our partners, we do our best to ensure that support continues to reach them, even if we are currently restoring suspended programs for other vulnerable populations."

Several cities in the Somali regional state were scenes of fatalities of violence earlier this month after soldiers were sent to Jijiga city, the capital of the Somali regional state, allegedly arresting senior officials, including Abdi Omar Mohammed, president of the Somali regional state of Ethiopia.

The intervention of the army came between reports about tensions between the Ethiopian federal state. Government and Somali Regional State President on allegations of serious human rights violations by the Mohammed administration.

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