(Source: OCHA) –
Three months on since the start of the conflict in Tigray, the humanitarian situation across the region is extremely alarming and continues to deteriorate rapidly. The lack of humanitarian access due to insecurity and bureaucratic obstacles have prevented aid workers from providing life-saving assistance to people affected by the conflict. Although the full impact of the fighting on the humanitarian situation is still unclear, humanitarians on the ground are reporting increasing hunger, a dire deterioration on malnutrition, and an urgent need to increase access to water, hygiene, sanitation, health, shelter and protection services in most parts of Tigray. Access to essential services, telecommunications, cash, fuel remains largely disrupted, compounding an already acute situation, and preventing people from meeting their vital and most basic needs.
The security situation in Tigray remains volatile and unpredictable, with reports of ongoing clashes in many parts of the region. Violence against civilians, including killings, abductions, force returns of refugees and internally displaced people, and sexual and gender-based violence continue to be reported across Tigray. The verification of these reports, however, remains challenging as humanitarian partners have not been able to have full access to the Western, Central, Eastern, North Western, South and South Eastern parts of the region.
Access is particularly limited in remote and rural areas. An inter-agency meeting conducted in Shire on 1 February highlighted an alarming situation with partners denied access to the northwestern woredas and kebeles, including Sheraro. In some instances, the presence of multiple actors on the ground has also constrained humanitarian operations, as clearance from Federal Authorities has, in different occasions, not been accepted by other forces.
Although cargos carrying humanitarian commodities have been increasingly allowed to move into Tigray, most of the clearances for critical staff needed to scale up the response and distribute and monitor its distribution is still pending with Federal authorities.
The United Nation’s High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, visited, on 30 January, Mai-Ayni camp for Eritrean refugees in southern Tigray to assess first-hand the situation on the ground. Grandi met key stakeholders from the Federal Government, including the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the President as well as humanitarian partners in Addis Ababa to discuss the humanitarian situation in Tigray. After his mission, the High Commissioner called on authorities to restore basic services in Tigray and increase humanitarian access to the region, as the situation, according to Grandi, is extremely grave. The Under-Secretary-General of the Department of Safety and Security Gilles Michaud also visited Mekelle where he met with the interim administration and the international community.