After the Federal Government of Addis Ababa announced unhindered humanitarian assistance to hundreds of thousands of vulnerable groups in Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region, aid groups once again called for Unilateral ceasefire inside Eight months of conflict As the rebels regained the regional capital of Mekle.
The Addis Ababa government described its “retreat” as Strategic move And said that part of the reason for taking this measure is for humanitarian reasons, aimed at promoting agricultural production in mountainous areas. It stated that the ceasefire announced on Monday will last until the end of the agricultural season in September.
But Getachew Reda, a spokesman for the Tigray army, rejected the government’s ceasefire statement as a “pathological joke” and said they would not stop until the area was completely recovered. Getachu further stated that the federal army was forced to leave Merkel but still fighting to retake the territory, adding that their Eritrean allies still control “important parts” of Tigray.
The Eritrean army has been accused of committing some of the most serious abuses during the conflict and has not commented since the announcement by the Ethiopian government.
Electricity and telecommunications are still cut off throughout the Tigray area, which makes the work of humanitarian groups more challenging, as approximately 6 million people in the area are facing The worst famine crisis in the world In ten years.
To make matters worse, the International Rescue Committee said on Thursday that a bridge across the Tekeze River near the town of Shire in the north of Tigray was destroyed.
“This is one of the main supply routes into Tigray, which means that aid will be more severely hampered than before,” it warned.
We were shocked to hear that the Tekeze Bridge, one of the main supply routes to Tigray, Ethiopia, was destroyed. This means that in the ongoing conflict, aid work will be more severely hindered. The IRC continues to call for unrestricted humanitarian access to the area.
-IRC-International Rescue Committee (@RESCUEorg) July 1, 2021
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) regional spokesperson Alona Sinnenko told Al Jazeera on Thursday: “The situation is very worrying and has been deteriorating in recent months.”
“We saw 2 million people displaced in the area and they need emergency humanitarian assistance,” Synenko said. “Access to food is a major problem. There is also a lack of safe drinking water and shelter.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross stated that due to the fragile security situation, humanitarian organizations cannot enter rural areas, making the situation worse.
“The reports we received from rural areas were very worrying. Due to the security situation, farmers were unable to grow crops and their stocks were looted. They had no seeds or fertilizer,” Synenko added.
Many farmers in the region rely on seeds and subsidized fertilizers. They used to obtain credit from cooperative unions — but this practice has not been done since the conflict broke out.
Since Addis Ababa accused the region’s then ruling party of attacking the Federation in November 2020, Ethiopian soldiers have been working with the support of troops from neighboring Eritrea and fighters from Ethiopia’s Amhara region south of Tigray. Fight with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). Military base, TPLF officials dismissed the accusation.
The 2019 Nobel Peace Prize winner Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory after the federal army entered Merkel on November 28. However, the fighting continued, prompting warnings of protracted conflict, and devastating effects on civilians.
According to the United Nations, more than 350,000 people in Tigray are facing famine due to “catastrophic” food shortages, and another 5 million people need immediate food assistance.
On Thursday, UNICEF said that children in the area “continue to suffer”.
“UNICEF’s supplies are ready, but they have not yet provided life-saving water, nutrition and medical services to desperate families. We need urgent, safe and continuous channels,” the agency Say.
The Abbey government has been under increasing international pressure to demand an end to this conflict. It is estimated that this conflict has caused thousands or even tens of thousands of deaths.
On Tuesday, the United States said that if the hostilities do not end in Tigray, it will take further action against Ethiopia and Eritrea.
In late May, Washington imposed economic and security restrictions on Ethiopia, including restrictions on some current or former Ethiopian and Eritrean government officials and members of the security forces, as well as members of the Amhara forces and TPLF-all of these members are considered “responsible” of”. To or participate in the destruction of the resolution of the Tigray crisis”.
The Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Robert Goldk of the U.S. State Department said this week that the United States “will not stand idly by in front of Tigray’s horror.”
For his part, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres Say He talked to Abiy on Tuesday and added that he hopes the area can “effectively cease” hostilities.
Guterres said: “It is vital that civilians are protected, humanitarian aid reaches those in need and a political solution is found.”
On Thursday, the United Kingdom welcomed the announcement of a ceasefire in Ethiopia and called on all parties to the conflict to make similar announcements.
“The violence must now cease and unrestricted humanitarian access must be allowed. The Eritrean army should also leave Tigray,” a spokesperson for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office said, adding that “all parties must pass politics The process finds a long-term solution to the Tigray conflict”.
A day ago, Ethiopian officials said that if needed, the federal army could retake Meckler within a few weeks and warned the Tigray army not to “reorganize” the area where the government has withdrawn.
“For those who say they may reorganize, they will not give in,” Lieutenant General Bacha Debele told reporters. “If they try to provoke, our response will be huge, and it will be more than last time.”
For Adem Kassie Abebe, a project officer at the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the departure of the Ethiopian Federal Army “may actually exacerbate the humanitarian supply gap.”
“Most of the humanitarian clauses actually come from Ethiopia,” he said tell Al Jazeera Inside story program. “Work must be done to ensure that humanitarian clauses are increased to fill the gap created.”
Sinnenko of the International Committee of the Red Cross responded to this call.
“If no action is taken, the humanitarian situation will deteriorate drastically. We hope that the security situation will stabilize so that we can reach and provide assistance to those communities that need it most, especially in rural areas,” she said.
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