Lack of aid for Tigray a concern for Humanitarians: UN

'The situation is particularly critical for newly displaced people and refugees.' Image courtesy: IANS

United Nations: There is deep concern about the plight of hundreds of thousands of the estimated 2.3 million people in Ethiopia's Tigray region in need of life-saving aid, a UN mission said.

"Humanitarian assistance continues to be constrained by the lack of full, safe and unhindered access to Tigray caused by both insecurity and bureaucratic delays," the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Wednesday.

"The UN and humanitarian partners in Ethiopia urgently call on all parties to allow the immediate safe passage of humanitarian personnel and supplies to the Tigray region to make sure we are able to reach all people who desperately need assistance," Xinhua news agency quoted the statement as saying.

The hundreds of thousands of people who have not received assistance are mainly in areas outside the cities it reached in the two and a half months since the conflict began.

The UN continues to receive alarming reports of civilians being injured and killed during fighting in rural areas of Tigray, and violations against civilians, including gender-based violence, but verification of this "remains challenging".

Aid workers have managed to deliver assistance in some areas, mainly in cities, where authorities have granted access. However, the number of people reached is extremely low compared with the number of people the UN estimates to need life-saving assistance, 2.3 million people.

"The situation is particularly critical for newly displaced people and refugees, especially those who were living in the Hitsats and Shimelba camps, which are still inaccessible," OCHA said.

The humanitarians also warned that bank closures in most parts of rural Tigray before the conflict started had left most of the 270,000 direct beneficiaries of the government's Safety Net Programme without assistance.

"These are extremely vulnerable people who rely on these monthly cash transfers to meet their basic needs," OCHA said.

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