Ethiopia Allows UN Teams to Entry into its Northern Province

ADDIS ABEBA – The Ethiopian government has allowed two United Nations teams to enter into Tigray to assess the humanitarian needs in the region, said spokesperson of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

This came weeks after a UN team attempted to enter into the region via Shire town without the government’s recognition and ignoring authorities’ instruction not to do so. The team who tried broke two checkpoints to go to areas where they were not allowed to, were shot at the third checkpoint. The incident has angered authorities calling the actions unacceptable.

On Monday, spokesman of the secretary-general, Stephane Dujarric, said two UN teams have already secured permission to enter into the region.

“I am pleased to tell you that our humanitarian colleagues confirmed that two inter-agency assessment teams are expected to enter Tigray today following official approval from the federal government last Saturday,” he told reporters.

One team is expected to visit Shire and another will go to Mekelle, capital city of the regional state.

“The aim of the missions, which are expected to last a week, is to assess the humanitarian needs,” the spokesperson added.

The federal government took military operations against the former ruling party of Tigray, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), whose forces conducted a deadly attack on federal army’s command base of the Ethiopian Defense Force in the region.

The three-week long operation has forced close to 50, 000 people to flee to neighboring Sudan while many more internally displaced.

The humanitarian response plan for northern Ethiopia has already been updated.

“We now seek $116.5 million until the end of January 2021,” said Dujarric, adding that the plan is currently 46 per cent funded with an outstanding gap of almost $63.4 million.