United Nations (UN) aid chief Martin Griffiths on Tuesday said the fighting in Ethiopia has displaced more than 200,000 people in the Amhara region and 54,000 in its Afar region, reported Reuters.
The fighting in recent weeks has spread into the two regions neighboring Tigray, where a war erupted between Ethiopia’s central government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front eight months ago.
Fighting has escalated since June when the rebels, made up of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and its allies, regained control of much of Tigray. Since then authorities around the country have been mobilizing to join the fight, which is active on several fronts. Aid workers trying to access Tigray continue to face attacks and blockades.
While addressing reporters in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, Griffiths said the UN needs 100 trucks a day going into Tigray to meet humanitarian needs, adding that the number was a “calculated need” and not “overestimated.” He also said that 122 trucks were sent to Tigray in recent days.
According to the UN, around 400,000 people are living in famine conditions in Tigray, and more than 90% of the population needs emergency food aid.
Last week, the United Nations children’s agency warned that more than 100,000 children in Tigray could suffer life-threatening malnutrition in the next 12 months, a whopping tenfold increase in normal numbers.
Griffiths also said that accusations by Ethiopian authorities that aid workers were favoring and even arming Tigrayan forces were dangerous.
“Blanket accusations (against) humanitarian aid workers need to stop…They need to be backed up by evidence if there is any and, frankly, it’s dangerous,” the UN aid chief said on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the United States State Department spokesman Ned Price appealed to Tigrayan forces to withdraw from the Amhara and Afar regions. He also urged Amhara and Eritrean forces to pull out troops from western Tigray and called for unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid.