MEKELLE, 22 February 2021 – People affected by the deadly armed conflict ongoing in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region are facing “overwhelming” needs, the Red Cross has said.
The issue is not just that the needs are overwhelming. It is also and especially that they are woefully unmet, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) warned Sunday.
“The people in Tigray… lost the harvest season,” the BBC reported Monday citing the director of operations of the ICRC, Dominik Stillhart, back from a trip to the region.
He said there were “serious issues with regards to access to medical care”.
The Ethiopian federal government has insisted recently that humanitarian aid is being delivered more efficiently, claiming that aid has been delivered to nearly 1.5 million people.
Aid workers disagree with the numbers provided by Addis Ababa and insist that they still do not have unhindered access to the region.
Thousands of people have been killed in the war in Tigray, with 60,000 people fleeing into refugee camps in neighboring Sudan and two million people internally displaced.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali has said the government has won the war and is restoring peace, but leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) have vowed to fight on.
On Sunday, they issued conditions for participating in any future peace negotiations, demanding among others, the immediate withdrawal of all federal Ethiopian forces and other “invading forces” as well as the immediate release of political prisoners and prisoners of war.
The TPLF, which has been the governing party in Tigray, has up to 250,000 fighters under its command and has a three-decade long experience with war, including during the war against Eritrea.