Govt Facilitating More Flights to Ensure Aid Access in Tigray, says MoFA

ADDIS ABABA – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday said the federal government is working to ensure access to aids including medical supplies to Tigray region despite a renewed aggression by TPLF against adjacent regions.

In a statement today, the Ministry said the government has decided “to facilitate additional flights to augment the land transportation of medical aid and other food and essential supplies” to the region, taking the “needs and challenges into account”.

“However, those approved to deliver medicines and supplies since last month could not pass Abala due to the TPLF renewed aggression,” the Ministry said.

Various government offices including the ministry of health and the National Disaster Risk Management Commission are still working with ICRC and other UN partners to facilitate daily cargo flights to transport much-needed medicines and supplies, it said.

The Ministry of Health is also working on using such flights to deliver vital medications and supplies that are not in the possession of partners.

Last month, the Ministry provided nearly 850,000 measles vaccines and is being administered to children through a campaign by UNICEF and WHO.

This is in addition to medicines and pharmaceutical supplies worth over 618 million birr stocked at Mekelle and Shire hubs when the federal troops left the region after the government declared a unilateral ceasefire in July, 2021.

The stock was estimated to cover needs for six months – from June-December 2021, MoFA said.

Partners support

The government has also provided a blanket amnesty to truck drivers and created a buffer area to be run by the UN humanitarian agencies, according to the ministry.

Since July 2021, it said some 658 Metric tons of Medicines and Medical supplies have been delivered by 18 trucks through 7 organizations including UNFPA, WHO, MSF, IOM, UNICEF, FH, and CST through access facilitated by the government.

Moreover, the Ethiopian Red Cross has supplied 3,565 kg of emergency drugs through the EU-HUB flight, while UNICEF provided 42 health emergency kits of different types of medicines and medical supplies through EU donation.

In total, the ministry said partners supported around 1.48 Billion Birr worth of Nutrition supplies and about 128 million Birr worth of medical supplies to Tigray in the past six months beginning July 2021.

Renewed attacks

State Minister of foreign affairs Redwan Hussein said the TPLF forces are obstructing aid delivery with the latest aggression against neighboring Afar region’s Aba’ala during his meeting with the Regional Director of the WFP last week.

Officials of Afar regional state today said the group has continued its aggression this week with a fresh attack on innocent civilians in Kilbeti Resu Zone.

In a statement, they said the TPLF has encroached on the territory of Afar after launching heavy artillery attacks, injuring scores of innocent people.

“the Terrorist TPLF captured Magale and Abala, and also waged a war in Aseda area of ​​Berahle district today,” they said.

The Afar region officials said the group should withdraw its forces immediately from the region, and vowed reprisal “if the criminal group defies the call”.

They also said the people of Tigray “must stop the madness of this terrorist TPLF” and further calling on the international community to put pressure on the group to end its war on the Afar people.