The UN says the shortage has become “very critical” in Ethiopia’s challenging Tigray region, as its 6 million people remain closed and its capital is threatened by attacks by Ethiopian forces trying to arrest regional leaders.
Fuel and cash are running low, more than a million people are now estimated to be displaced and food for nearly 100,000 Eritrean refugees will be gone in a week, according to a new report released overnight. And more than 600,000 people who rely on monthly food zones have not received them this month.
Travel blockages are so terrible that even within Tigray’s capital Mekele, the UN World Food Program cannot access transport food from its warehouses there.
Communications and travel connections have remained disrupted with the Tigray region since the deadly conflict broke out on November 4, and now Human Rights Watch warns that “measures that intentionally obstruct aids” violate international humanitarian law.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s 72-hour ultimatum for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front leader to surrender ended Wednesday night. His government has said Mekele is surrounded.
The UN has reported that people are fleeing the city. Abiy’s government had warned them of “no mercy” if residents did not move away from TPLF leaders accused of hiding among the population.
But with communication interruptions, it is not clear how many people in Mekele received the warnings. The alarmed international community demands immediate stripping, dialogue and humanitarian access.
Abiy on Wednesday, however, rejected international “interference”.