ADDIS ABABA – The Federal government has declared an indefinite humanitarian truce in the northern Ethiopia conflict “effective immediately”, its communication office said on Thursday.
In a statement today, the Government Communication Service (GCS) said the decision is to ensure a free flow of humanitarian aid to the Tigray region.
To expedite aid delivery to people in need, it said the government is taking measures including increasing the number of UN humanitarian flights and easing clearance procedures for fuel delivery and cash for payments by aid agencies.
However, thousands of people from the Tigray region are trekking into neighboring regions in search of assistance, the GCS said.
“While it is heartening to see the fraternal bond and solidarity that is being demonstrated by communities that are receiving and helping those in need of assistance, the situation warrants urgent measures to ensure that those in need are able to receive aid in their localities,” said the GCS.
It also said the government “is committed to exert maximum effort” to facilitate the free flow of emergency humanitarian aid into the Tigray region.
“Cognizant of the need to take extraordinary measures to save lives and reduce human suffering, the Government of Ethiopia hereby declares an indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately,” the GCS said.
Authorities have also urged the donor community to redouble their “generous contributions to alleviate the situation and reiterate its commitment to work in collaboration with relevant organizations to expedite the provision of humanitarian assistance to those in need.”
Officials, however, said the latest truce “could have the desired outcome of improving the humanitarian situation on the ground only to the extent that it is reciprocated by the other side”.
“To optimize the success of the humanitarian truce, the Government calls upon the insurgents in Tigray to desist from all acts of further aggression and withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighboring regions,” the statement said.
The move has been welcomed by aid agencies and governments.
The UK embassy in Addis Ababa has welcomed the decision to announce an indefinite humanitarian truce and to ensure unimpeded aid access to Tigray.
“We Call on Tigrayan authorities to reciprocate,” it said, “We stand ready to support the government’s efforts to scale up the response”.
Featured Image Caption: The ICRC Flight Carrying Vital Medical Supplies Reached Tigray on February 4, 2021 [Photo ICRC]