Ethiopia: UN announces $40m aid to scale up emergency operations

The UN has announced that 40 million dollars has been made available to scale up humanitarian emergency operations in Ethiopia’s conflict-affected north.

The UN’s top emergency relief official, Martin Griffiths, on Monday said that millions of people in northern Ethiopia were now “living on a knife-edge, as the humanitarian crisis is growing deeper and wider”.

After returning from visiting Ethiopia, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said that needs were rising across the country and that the money would help aid organisations to reach some of the most vulnerable.

The situation has spiralled since November 2020 when Ethiopian government troops clashed with forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

And neighbouring regions Amhara and Afar have also been swept up in the deadly violence and terrible rights abuses.

The UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocation will also support relief agencies providing protection and other life-saving assistance to people affected there as well.

“Women, boys and girls continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, yet their protection needs remain underfunded,” he warned.

Griffiths comments came after the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that 364 aid trucks had been waiting for authorisation to access Tigray since Oct. 18.

According to OCHA’s latest update, the situation in northern Ethiopia remains highly unpredictable with civilians severely impacted and a broad state of emergency declared nationwide.

“It is estimated that 80 per cent of essential medication is no longer available in Tigray while most health facilities are not functional due to damage and lack of supplies,” OCHA explained.

Only 19 of the 59 mobile health and nutrition teams operating at the end of August are still providing services, owing to a lack of supplies and fuel, the UN humanitarian Office said.

At a hospital in the Tigrayan capital Mekelle, 47 people have reportedly died of kidney failure because the medical facility lacked dialysis equipment.

OCHA added that 32 patients with chronic kidney disease receive treatment twice a week, “instead of the standard three times, due to limited supplies and medicine”, while cancer patients are now using the last remaining stock of expired chemotherapy drugs.

“New cancer diagnosed patients are not receiving any drugs,” OCHA said, leaving an estimated 500 cancer patients without treatment.

In neighbouring Amhara, fighting has caused large-scale displacements from North Gonder, Wag Hemra, North and South Wello zones, as well as in and around Dessie, Kombolcha, Baati and Kamissie.

This has increased humanitarian needs, OCHA noted, including for shelter, food, water, medicines and health services, dignity and hygiene kits for women and protection services.

To the east of Tigray in Afar, thousands of people have also been reportedly displaced from Chifra Woreda, Awsi Zone and in Ada`ar Woreda.

In addition to providing help to Ethiopia’s conflict-affected northern regions, communities will also receive support for an early response to drought in the south of the country, Oromia regions and in Somali.

Relief agencies will provide potable water to prevent waterborne diseases and mitigate the risk of cholera outbreaks and help pastoral communities preserve their livestock.

Despite 25 million dollars from CERF and 15 million dollars from the country-based Ethiopia Humanitarian Fund (EHF), bringing a total injection of 40 million dollars new resources to Ethiopia, the country still faces a funding gap of 1.3 billion dollars, including 350 million dollars for the response in Tigray. (NAN)

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