Friday, May 28, 2021 8:57 am
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says relief operations in Ethiopia’s northernmost Tigray region, challenged by limited access, are racing against severe malnutrition.
UNOCHA disclosed this on Thursday.
“Food insecurity is alarming, with a high risk of mass severe acute malnutrition looming in the next few months if not addressed immediately,” it said.
Access remains a challenge. Most of the Central Zone, the most populated in the region with about 1.8 million people, remains largely inaccessible, OCHA said.
“Where humanitarian workers have reached people, the situation is dire, including shortages of food, dysfunctional water system, lack of electricity and lack of health services,” the office added.
The UN calls for safe, unimpeded and sustained access to scale up the humanitarian response to help all people in need.
Humanitarian partners are scaling up their response, OCHA said.
Food assistance was delivered to nearly 500,000 people last week, bringing the number of people reached since the end of March to more than 2.2 million people out of the targeted 5.2 million people. Tigray’s population is just over 7 million.
Catherine Sozi, the UN humanitarian coordinator in Ethiopia, condemned the arbitrary arrest, beatings and other forms of ill-treatment by soldiers of more than 200 people during military raids on internal displacement sites in Tigray on Monday night.
She called for their immediate release.
Investigations into allegations of international humanitarian law violations must be prompt, and perpetrators brought to justice, Sozi said.
The United Nations and its partners seek to meet with military commanders to ensure the protection of civilians, OCHA said.
Allegations that military members attack civilians go back to nearly the beginning of hostilities in Tigray in November 2020. (Xinhua/NAN)