Continued fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region DELAYS aid: UN says

Amid continued fighting in Ethiopia’s Tigray region has delayed the efforts to deliver aid, UN says.

Millions of people are said to be running out of food and medicines.

UN officials say that there was still no access on Friday, despite a deal allowing “unimpeded” humanitarian access to government-controlled areas.

The military entered the regional capital Mekelle last weekend and said the month-long conflict with forces of the TPLF group was over.

Hundreds of people have reportedly been killed in the fighting with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Tens of thousands of people have been displaced, with a wave of refugees fleeing into Sudan.

The TPLF says it is still fighting in the “in places near the city”.

However, Ethiopia’s minister in charge of democratisation, Zadig Abraha, dismissed this, saying “there is no war”.

Saviano Abreu, spokesman for the UN’s humanitarian co-ordination office, told AFP: “We have reports of fighting still going on in many parts of Tigray. This is concerning and it’s a complex situation for us.”

On Wednesday, the UN announced it had reached an agreement to deliver aid in areas of Tigray that were government-controlled.

But as of Friday, security assessments were still being conducted and three UN officials told AFP that aid was not expected to arrive before next week.

“We have been granted this access, this agreement with the federal government. But we also have to have the same kind of agreement with all parties to the conflict to make sure we actually have unconditional free access to Tigray,” Mr Abreu said.

Among those in need of urgent aid are some 96,000 refugees who fled persecution and compulsory military service in neighbouring Eritrea and have been living in camps in Tigray.

Their camps are believed to be running out of food. There are also unconfirmed reports of attacks and abductions.

Ann Encontre, head of the UN refugee agency in Ethiopia, said it was urgently trying to get food, medicines and other supplies to the refugees, and assess “very grim” reports on the security of the camps.

A communications blackout since the start of the fighting have made it difficult to verify such reports.