Panafrican News Agency

Ethiopian crisis: Tigray region's humanitarian crisis persists despite ceasefire

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (PANA) - The overall situation in northern Ethiopia remains fragile and unpredictable days after the government declared a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire.

In Tigray and Amhara regions, the situation remained generally calm with static lines of contact, while armed clashes were reported in Gubi Kebele, Ab’ala woreda and in Koneba town, in Kilbet/Zone 2 in Afar Region on 30 March, the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs said in a situation report on Friday.

No significant incidents were reported in Afar since then and access has improved in most parts of the region.

As the situation remains unstable, it is not yet conducive for the returns of internally displaced people (IDPs) to their area of origin in Afar, the report said.

The UN said on 1 and 2 April, the first humanitarian convoy since mid-December arrived in the Tigray Region via the Semera-Abala-Mekelle route.

The 20-truck convoy included 670 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies and one fuel tanker of 47,000 litres, the first fuel delivery to enter Tigray in eight months.

It is estimated that 200,000 litres of fuel is required every week to carry out humanitarian operations in the region.

Simultaneously, a convoy carrying over 1,000 tons of food arrived in northern Afar to deliver assistance to communities in dire need in Berhale, Dallol, and Koneba woredas, the report said.

Concomitantly, between 29 March and 4 April, humanitarian partners airlifted 76 tons of nutrition supplies to Mekelle, the capital of Tigray region.

As of 4 April, the total amount of medical and nutrition supplies airlifted since the first cargo flight on 24 January is about 438 tons, equivalent to only 11 trucks of humanitarian supplies.

The report said the airlifts remain limited to low quantities between 5 and 13 tons per flight and are prioritised according to the most urgent supplies, therefore cannot fill in the significant gap between the needs on the ground and the supplies delivered.

It said the UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) continues to operate two flights per week between Addis Ababa and Mekelle, allowing for the rotation of staff and transfer of cash.

From 31 March to 5 April, 36 partners transferred 87 million Ethiopian Birr (ETB), or approximately US$1.7 million in cash.

This, however, remains below the cash needed to support operations and programmes and to provide a meaningful response at the required scale.

Partners estimate that 300 million birr, equivalent to US$6 million, is required per week. However, only 1.3 billion birr (approximately US$26.5 million) has entered the region since 12 July, or 8% of cash needs for humanitarian operations.

In Tigray, no school feeding was reported during the week due to lack of food stocks.

It is reported that 80 schools in 13 woredas are closed, and an additional 641 schools are at risk of closure due to insufficient or absence of school feeding programs, lack of food for teachers, lack of learning materials, and insecurity.

An estimated 1.4 million children, of which half of them girls, are entering their third year without access to learning in the region, while more than 144,000 primary school students and 25,000 children accessing alternative learning programmes are at risk of dropping out of school.

More than 46,000 teachers across the region require immediate life-saving multi-purpose cash and food assistance to keep the remaining schools open.

-0- PANA AO/MA 8April2022