News: US calls for urgent restoration of essential services in Tigray, encouraged by ‘series’ of actions to end conflict

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A UNICEF team assesses the nutrition status of mothers and children and provide much needed therapeutic food in Tigray. (Photo taken in 2021). Credit: UNICEF

Addis Abeba – The US has once again called for “the restoration of essential services in Tigray on an urgent basis,” and urged the federal and Tigrayan authorities to seize the opportunity recent “encouraging actions” taken by both “to advance a negotiated ceasefire, including the necessary security arrangements.”

For months, the federal government disconnected Tigray state from all forms of communication including telecom, banking and electricity as well as commercial flights and road communication. The UN called it a “de facto blockade,” and continued to call for the lifting. “Humanitarian organizations in Tigray are facing growing challenges in reaching people in need due to shortages of essential supplies, and the continuing suspension of basic essential services, including banking, electricity, and communications,” the UN said on 14 April.

In a new statement released last night, the State Department praised Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for taking a “series of encouraging actions that have laid the groundwork for an end to conflict, including lifting the state of emergency, releasing some political prisoners and detainees, and, in parallel with Tigrayan authorities, declaring an effective cessation of hostilities.” It also said it was “encouraged that Tigrayan forces have withdrawn most of their forces from Afar and have reiterated their commitment to a peaceful resolution of the conflict.”

However, Tigrayan authorities said all their forces have withdrawn from Afar. “We have withdrawn all our forces from Afar,” said Getache Reda, Advisor to the President of Tigray and TPLF executive committee member. The federal government denied the withdrawal, and further accused Tigrayan authorities of preparing for fresh attacks and impeding the delivery of aid.

The US has also renewed its call “for immediate, sustained, and unimpeded humanitarian access to all Ethiopians affected by this conflict,” a call repeatedly echoed by the international community. But according to the latest report from the UN since 1 April, 142 trucks of food aid, and 10 fuel tankers, have arrived in Tigray in three convoys via the road from Semera in Afar.

these supplies remain far below what is required to meet the level of needs

UN

“So far, about 3,400 metric tons of food have been brought into Tigray with these convoys. These deliveries have been dispatched to priority districts including Abi-Adi, Adwa and Axum (in Central Zone), Adigrat (in Eastern zone), Maichew (in Southern zone), and Sheraro and two refugee camps (in North Western zone), as well as Mekelle. Distribution is ongoing. But these supplies remain far below what is required to meet the level of needs,” the UN said.

In Afar and Amhara states, 10 million people have received food assistance delivered by the Government, the UN, and NGO partners since December, according to the UN. “In Amhara, over 104,000 people were assisted by the UN and partners during the past week. In the Afar region, 83,000 people received food assistance during the past week. Close to 700,000 people have been assisted under the current round of food distribution.” AS





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