UN report says the situation in northern Ethiopia remains highly fluid

People also continue to be displaced in Afar and Western Tigray- Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

By The Weekly Vision Online

The situation in northern Ethiopia remains highly fluid and unpredictable despite some reported improvements in the security situation in areas where fighting has recently erupted, such as the border areas between Afar and Amhara, says a UN report.

 In Amhara, some internally displaced people have returned to their place of origin. However, it remains difficult to verify these numbers due to access constraints. People also continue to be displaced in Afar and Western Tigray, said Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. UN humanitarians said they had heard of airstrikes reportedly carried out on Alamata town and nearby areas in the Southern Zone in Tigray between Dec. 15 and 17.

“We remain concerned about the dire humanitarian situation and any further deterioration in northern Ethiopia”-Farhan Haq

Dozens of casualties were reported, including several deaths. The humanitarians had not been able to independently verify these reports, due to the security situation and access constraints, said Haq. No trucks carrying humanitarian aid had arrived in Mekelle, Tigray, through Afar since last week. As of Tuesday, a 20-truck convoy carrying food and nutrition supplies remained in Abala town, the last entry point in Afar into Mekelle, due to operational and security issues, he said.

 Aid operations in northern Ethiopia were still facing multiple challenges, including the inability to bring insufficient supplies, fuel and cash to Tigray, as well as the rapid increase in the number of people in need due to conflict and displacement in Amhara and Afar, said Haq. “We remain concerned about the dire humanitarian situation and any further deterioration in northern Ethiopia. We continue to call on all parties to the conflict to urgently and immediately facilitate the free, sustained, and safe movement of humanitarian workers and supplies into Tigray, Afar and Amhara.” 

Meanwhile, parts of southern and southeastern Ethiopia are currently experiencing drought, which is significantly affecting livelihoods, livestock production and water availability, with the humanitarian situation likely to deteriorate rapidly, he said. Humanitarian operations throughout Ethiopia face a funding gap of 1.2 billion U.S. dollars, he said. 

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