Demeke, UN Relief Chief Holds Talks over Humanitarian Situation in Northern Ethiopia

ADDIS ABABA – Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, has today conferred with United Nations relief chief, Martin Griffiths, over the current humanitarian situation in northern Ethiopia.

After the meeting, Demeke said the discussion with the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator was focused “on the current humanitarian situation in Northern Ethiopia”.

“We underlined that understanding and cooperation are important to register better results,” he said.

The deputy prime minister has also reminded Griffiths “of the need for equal treatment of affected people in all regions”.

He called on the humanitarian operators and the international community to give equal attention to the affected people in the Amhara and Afar regions to that of the Tigray region.

The humanitarian situation in Northern Ethiopia is rapidly deteriorating, with severe impact on civilians, and ongoing fighting in four zones of Amhara region reportedly leading to large-scale displacement and preventing the delivery of assistance, the UN OCHA said this week.

Movements have also been restricted, it said, affecting the humanitarian response.

Demeke’s Briefing

In a statement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said the UN official was briefed on the current situation by Demeke who recalled the federal government’s efforts in providing humanitarian assistance during its presence in the Tigray region.

Following the government’s declaration of the Humanitarian Ceasefire last June, he told Griffiths that the ENDF withdrew from the region leaving significant food and non-food items behind being responsible for the wellbeing of the people of Tigray, reads the statement.

“Despite such genuine efforts from the government side, the TPLF combatants had been, and still are, the main obstacles for the operation of humanitarian supply as proved in their unabated warmongering attitudes and destructive actions,” the Ministry said.

Also present at the meeting, the National Disaster Risk Management Commission cheif, Mitiku Kassa also explained to Griffiths how the TPLF has continued to use humanitarian aid to augment its warring activities, said MoFA.

The Commissioner said only 242 out of 1,142 vehicles have returned from Tigray, “while the TPLF has continued to use the remaining trucks for military purposes”.

According to MoFA, the UN Relief Chief Griffiths thanked the Deputy Prime Minister for the detailed briefing on the humanitarian situation in the northern part of the country.

The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator said the humanitarian operation being undertaken so far in affected areas would not have been possible without the support of the Ethiopian government, the statement says.

He also underscored the need for cooperation among concerned bodies to provide people in need of humanitarian aid with adequate supply, it concludes.