ADDIS ABEBA – The Federal Government is committed to responding to the needs of citizens in the Tigray Region expeditiously, said the Prime Minister office, as the government launched its final push to control regional capital, Mekelle City.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the office said the government will “extend protection and humanitarian assistance to those in need”.
“This humanitarian assistance will now be further reinforced with the opening of a humanitarian access route to be managed under the auspices of the Ministry of Peace,” it said.
On Tuesday, the UN refugee agency expressed its “great concern” about the delivery of the most basic services for civilians, including 100, 000 Eritrean refugees in Tigray, without humanitarian access.
Fuel and cash are running out, it said echoing the call for all parties in the conflict to enable the free and safe movement of affected people in search of safety and assistance.
Govt ‘stands ready’
Thursday’s move by the federal government, whose newly formed technical committee has already assessed the needs on the ground over the past week, is expected to ease the challenges related to access.
Based on the assessment, the PM office said, “distribution of initial supplies of food, medicine, clean water, and non-food items have begun in areas that are under the control of the Federal government, addressing the basic needs of displaced citizens currently in camps outside of their locales”.
At least four camp sites are under construction to receive people that have fled, before voluntarily returning them to their communities, said the PM office, adding that efforts are being exerted to bring back citizens that fled to the neighboring Sudan.
“The government stands ready to support all Ethiopians that have fled to return to their communities and is committed to work with UN agencies and other humanitarian organizations to protect civilians and help those who need it,” Thursday’s statement said.
Over 5,000 Ethiopians fled the ongoing fighting over the weekend, bringing the number of Ethiopian refugees who have streamed into Sudan to over 40,000 since the crisis began at the beginning of November, according to the UN refugee agency.
Featured Image: An Ethiopian refugee and her child collect mats at a transit site in Hamdayet, Sudan. Photo: UNHCR/Olivier Jobard]