Humanitarian aid in Ethiopia’s Tigray insufficient: UN

Antonio Guterres

The fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region generates need faster than humanitarians can deliver aid, Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said on Friday.

“We have been able to send some supplies, mainly to refugee camps. The assistance to date is insufficient in the face of the rapidly rising needs generated by the conflict,” Dujarric told reporters at a regular briefing. Humanitarian access is limited in Tigray for nearly three months since the conflict began.

“We urgently need blanket clearances to send more staff and supplies to Tigray, so that we can ramp up the response and ensure it is commensurate with the needs,” the spokesman said.

Insufficient humanitarian aid is not all the conflict-torn northernmost region of Ethiopia is suffering. “The United Nations is extremely alarmed by the serious allegations of sexual violence and abuse during the conflict in Tigray,” the UN Office for the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a release Friday.

The office highlighted a statement on Thursday from Pramila Patten, the UN secretary-general’s special representative on sexual violence in conflict.

“The allegations include rapes in the provincial capital, Mekelle, disturbing reports of individuals allegedly forced to rape members of their own family, and women reportedly forced by military elements to have sex in exchange for basic commodities,” OCHA said.

The United Nations echoes Patten’s call on all parties involved in the hostilities to implement a zero-tolerance policy for sexual violence and comply with their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, the release said.

“The United Nations also calls for free and unhindered access to ensure that survivors of sexual violence receive the comprehensive assistance and care that they urgently require,” OCHA said.

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