Ethiopia: Major challenges delivering life saving assistance – Press Conference (22 October 2021)

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United Nations published this video item, entitled “Ethiopia: Major challenges delivering life saving assistance – Press Conference (22 October 2021)” – below is their description.

Ms. Gemma Connell, Head of OCHA’s Regional Office for Southern and Eastern Africa briefs reporters virtually on the situation in Ethiopia.

A UN humanitarian flight bound for embattled Ethiopia’s Tigray region that departed Addis Ababa this morning was forced to turn back in the midst of its flight, following the airstrikes on Mekele, the Tigray’s regional capital, according to the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarians Affairs (OCHA).

“I can confirm that the government was informed of that flight before it took off,” the Head of the OCHA’s Regional Office for Southern and Eastern Africa Gemma Connell said via videolink at a press conference in New York on Friday (22 Oct). “While we’re still ascertaining all of the facts in relation to this event, we’re obviously concerned about what has taken place today, and what it means for the humanitarian operations in northern Ethiopia moving forward.”

The delay in delivering the humanitarian assistance to impoverished region is alarming, since some operations were already cancelled due to fuel shortage, adding to already difficult humanitarian situation.

“Today, there are around 7 million people in northern Ethiopia in desperate need of humanitarian assistance,” Connell said. “That includes over 5 million people in Tigray region, and the other 2 million are split between Amhara and Afar. There are many many people who have been displaced, of those many have been displaced from their homes, more than once have been forced to flee, without shelter. We have rates of acute malnutrition that are rising every day, and not just among children. Nearly half of the pregnant and lactating women in Tigray are also now acutely malnourished.”

The humanitarians are also strapped for cash on the ground which they need for paying their staff and to “buy the supplies that we need for the basic day to day operations,” Connell said.

Humanitarians are also facing “very significant challenges to reach people who have been extremely hard hit by this conflict in the neighboring regions of Amhara and Afar. It is absolutely vital that we’re able to move into areas where people have been newly displaced,” she said.

“The multitude” of issues hindering the delivery of aid include the approvals from the federal government and the problems on the checkpoints along the road as well as the community resistance in some areas, according to OCHA official.

United Nations YouTube Channel

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