Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

The UN says humanitarian partners have suspended activities due to the “continuing threats of drone strikes” after dozens were killed in an air strike.

Aid agencies have suspended their work in part of Ethiopia’s Tigray region after a deadly air strike at a camp for people displaced by the war, the United Nations’ emergency response agency said.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a statement to the AFP news agency on Sunday that the attack in the town of Dedebit in northwestern Tigray had, according to preliminary information, “caused numerous civilian casualties, including deaths”. . .

“Humanitarian partners have suspended activities in the area due to the constant threats of drone strikes,” it said.

Aid workers and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) said on Saturday the attack killed 56 people. It was not possible to independently verify the claims because access to Tigray affected by the war was limited and it remained under a communications eclipse.

The conflict broke out in November 2020 between the federal government and the TPLF, which dominated Ethiopian politics for nearly 30 years before Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed came to power in 2018.

The Tigray region is one of the 10 semi-autonomous federal states organized along ethnic lines in Ethiopia, and is mainly home to the Tigrayan people who make up about 6 percent of Ethiopia’s population of more than 110 million.

Survivors of an air strike by Ethiopian government forces receive treatment at Shire Shul General Hospital in the town of Dedebit in the northern region of Tigray, EthiopiaSurvivors of an air strike by Ethiopian government forces receive treatment at Shire Shul General Hospital in the town of Dedebit in the northern region of Tigray, Ethiopia January 8, 2022 [Reuters]

Airstrikes on Tigray continued, while the region was also under a communication interruption and what the UN described as a de facto aid blockade.

The airstrike came hours after the Ethiopian government announced an amnesty on Friday for several senior TPLF officials and other high-profile opposition leaders in an effort to promote “national reconciliation.”

Tigray Health System Warning

OCHA said the lack of essential supplies, especially medical supplies and fuel, “seriously disrupted the response to the injured, and [has] led to the near-total collapse of the health care system in Tigray ”.

“The escalation of air strikes is a matter of concern, and we once again remind all parties to the conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law,” it said.

Prior to the latest attack, at least 146 people had been killed and 213 injured in airstrikes in Tigray since October 18, according to a document compiled by aid agencies and shared with Reuters news agency this week.

The ongoing conflict has killed tens of thousands of people and was marked by a litany of abuses, including massacre and rape.

About 400,000 people are facing famine in Tigray, and millions are in need of food aid in northern Ethiopia as a result of the war.

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