EU: We are alarmed with total blockage of humanitarian access in Tigray
BRUSSELS - The European Union [EU] has expressed concerns over the blockage of humanitarian access in the Tigray region since the resumption of hostilities in the northern state of Ethiopia, making it extremely difficult for members of the international community to assist thousands of people who are facing hunger.
The EU noted that fighting in the Tigray region has left thousands of people dead despite Addis Ababa disputing the reports. The Ethiopian National Defense Forces [ENDF] and their Eritrean counterparts have been targeting Tigray People's Liberation Front [TPLF].
In a statement block released through its Commission for Crisis Management, the EU confirmed reports that “the supply of humanitarian commodities and fuel, as well as cash availability, are still totally blocked for Tigray”. Humanitarian access is also “greatly impeded in all affected areas in Amhara and Afar.”
The statement comes a few days after the USAID termed “northern Ethiopia” as “one of the most dangerous locations in the world for aid workers who risk their lives to protect people in need.” Already, the EU confirmed, several organizations have suspended operations in Tigray.
“This is a serious blow to humanitarian operations and to millions of highly vulnerable people in Tigray, Afar, and Amhara that depend on humanitarian aid for their survival,” Janez Lenarčič, EU’s Commissioner for Crisis Management, in charge of European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid and European Emergency Response Coordinator, said in the statement.
The EU referenced the report by the World Food Program [WFP], in which it stated that “13 million people across the Tigray, Afar, and Amhara regions are in need of food assistance as a direct result of the conflict. At the same time, Ethiopia is experiencing the most severe drought recorded since 1981, leaving an estimated 7.4 million people facing grave food insecurity.”
Last week, the Eritrean army and the ENDF were accused of targeting a WFP truck that was carrying food to the conflict-hit state. The TPLF accuses the Ethiopian government of blocking humanitarian access to the region, besides targeting innocent civilians.
Renewed fighting started in August after a few months of ceasefire, raising concerns about the ability of the two warring parties to embrace peaceful negotiations. The US is pushing got dialogue that will be brokered by the African Union according to reports in Addis Ababa.