Ethiopia and the United Nations have reached an agreement to channel desperately needed humanitarian aid to northern regions where war has killed, wounded and uprooted large numbers of people, BBC reports.
UN officials on Wednesday, 2 December, said it will allow aid workers have access to government-controlled areas of Tigray where federal troops have been battling the Tigray People’s Liberation and have captured the regional capital.
The war is believed to have killed thousands, sent more than 45,000 refugees into Sudan, displaced many more within Tigray, and worsened suffering in a region where 600,000 people were already dependent on food aid even before the flare-up from November 4.
The deal will allow first aid to the region of six million people cut off due to the fighting between the federal and Tigray regional governments, each regarding the other as illegal.
For weeks, the UN and others pleaded for aid access amid reports of food, medicines and other supplies running out.
A UN humanitarian spokesman said the first mission to carry out a needs assessment will begin on Wednesday.
“We are of course working to make sure assistance will be provided in the whole region and for every single person who needs it, he said.
“The UN and humanitarian partners in Ethiopia are committed to engaging with the federal government of Ethiopia and all parties to ensure humanitarian action in Tigray, Amhara and afar regions based on needs and in compliance with the globally agreed-upon principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality, the spokesman added.
Wednesday marks a month since Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a military operation against forces loyal to the TPLF.
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of people have been killed so far and the UN has warned of a humanitarian catastrophe as civilians flee the fighting.
The UN says about two million people in Tigray need assistance and about one million people are displaced, this is double the figure before the fight started.