News: Tigray state says no humanitarian aid after unilateral truce; Gov’t disputes account, blames Tigrayan forces

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Families displaced by the civil war in Tigray sheltered in UNHCR makeshift camps. Pictures: Screengrab/TigrayTV

Addis Abeba – In a statement released on 28 March, Tigrayan authorities said despite humanitarian truce over the past four days, “no humanitarian aid has arrived in Tigray,” and blamed Ethiopian authorities of continuing “to saturate the airwaves with the false claim that humanitarian aid was flowing into Tigray on a daily basis.”

On March 24 both the federal government issued a statement announcing a unilateral “humanitarian truce.” Tigrayan authorities issues another statement on the same day that the regional government of Tigray was “committed to implementing a cessation of hostilities effective immediately if the people of Tigray receive humanitarian aid equivalent to their needs within a reasonable time frame.”

“All relevant stakeholders should note that such fictitious narratives are designed to befuddle people in and outside the country, but the principal target is the international community. Furthermore, the delivery of humanitarian aid without any obstruction must be decoupled from political issues,” the statement said.

“pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, money, and nutritional supplements began to be transported by air as much as possible.”

Federal Government

The Ethiopian government responded this afternoon saying that “it has taken a variety of actions”, including “allowing a full week of air transportation to several international humanitarian organizations was one of the initiatives. Accordingly, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, money, and nutritional supplements began to be transported by air as much as possible. In addition, the government has also permitted other humanitarian aid to be transported by air. In this regard, the government has taken immediate action, unless there is a lack of capacity or a delay in the operation of the charities.”

On 17 March, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that 20 trucks loaded with food items and three trucks carrying fuel tankers “have started moving” from Semera, Afar, to Mekelle. However, the trucks never made it to Tigray and although the government blamed Tigrayan forces for it, last week, U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa David Satterfield told Reuters that attempts to move assistance to affected communities in Ethiopia’s Afar region, which neighbors Tigray, were blocked by “local elements out of the deep resentment, distrust of intentions on the part of everyone.”

“A convoy carrying food for displaced people in the Afar region was stopped by local communities in Afar over the weekend,” Reuters quoted a spokeswoman for the U.N.’s World Food Program as saying.“The convoy returned safely to Semera. WFP continues to work with federal and regional authorities as well as local communities to ensure our convoys with food assistance reach all those in need across Northern Ethiopia.”

Today’s statement by the federal government said that after it declared “a truce for the humanitarian needs” of the people inTigray region “pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, money, and nutritional supplements began to be transported by air as much as possible.” Furthermore, the government says it has “permitted other humanitarian aid to be transported by air. In this regard, the government has taken immediate action, unless there is a lack of capacity or a delay in the operation of the charities.”

The Government of Tigray also calls on the international community to demand an end to word games, and, in accordance with the understanding reached, bring sufficient pressure to bear on the regime…”

statement from Tigray state

“The Ethiopian government has been using all available means to rescue its citizens in the Tigray region but has not been able to secure the cooperation of the other party. The 43-truck food aid authorized to the World Food Program (WFP) had not been transported to the Tigray region due to the closure of Abala Road by TPLF militants,” the statement said, and called on the international community “to put pressure on the Tigray militants to withdraw from the Afar and Amhara districts, where they are being held hostage, and to comply with their commitments to ceasefire.”

Last night’s statement from Tigray state said that the regional government has “made it clear that it would continue to extend all necessary cooperation to create favorable conditions to make sure that our people would receive the level of humanitarian aid commensurate with the considerable scale of needs on the ground, and within a reasonable timeframe.”

It cautioned for the provision of sufficient humanitarian assistance “without any delay” and an end to the “mendacious claims regarding the delivery of humanitarian aid into Tigray.”

“The Government of Tigray also calls on the international community to demand an end to word games, and, in accordance with the understanding reached, bring sufficient pressure to bear on the regime to allow unfettered humanitarian access to Tigray,” the statement said.

So far there has not been a statement from the U.N. humanitarian partners on the issue. AS



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