(Source: Amnesty International) –
According to the United Nations, 2.3 million people in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are in immediate need of life-saving assistance. But humanitarian access has been difficult due to restrictions and slow processes by Ethiopian authorities. Take action now and call on Ethiopia to immediately allow full humanitarian access to Tigray.
The humanitarian crisis is a result of the conflict between the Ethiopian federal government and the Tigray regional government ruling party, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which began in November 2020. The fighting continues in several parts of the region.
There is strong evidence of massacres of civilians, indiscriminate bombardment, extrajudicial killings, and looting. Girls and women have also been victims of sexual violence. Over 450,000 people have been displaced.
After weeks of blocked access, the UN announced in November that the Ethiopian authorities agreed to allow “unimpeded, sustained and secure access” into the areas under its control in Tigray. However, access remains extremely restricted. Relief agencies need to request approval from the federal government to access the region.
The Ethiopian government has introduced two separate approval processes for relief shipments and personnel. These processes have been slow. Many requests for relief shipments have been denied. The majority of entry requests for relief personnel have also not been approved making it difficult to distribute the aid that has been already allowed in.
Meanwhile, the humanitarian crisis across Tigray is getting worse by the day. There has been no trade with the region since November. Crops and equipment have been destroyed. Farmers have fled from their land. The situation is particularly acute in rural areas where humanitarian access has been even more difficult due to the continued fighting and where banks and markets still are closed. The healthcare system in the region has almost collapsed.
Tigray borders Eritrea and is also home to four refugee camps hosting over 96,000 Eritrean refugees – many of whom are children. Two refugee camps, Hitsats and Shimelba, have not received any humanitarian assistance since the start of the conflict. A refugee who recently fled Hitsats told Amnesty International: “We were eating leaves from the field and drinking water from the nearby well.”