Tens of thousands of refugees are crossing the border from Ethiopia to Sudan, fleeing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Credit: WFP/Leni Kinzli
Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 18 November 2020
Even before the current hostilities in the Tigray region and neighbouring areas in Ethiopia, nearly 1 million people in Tigray, and millions more living close to its regional and national boundaries, needed humanitarian assistance.
The UN is engaging with the Government and relevant authorities to facilitate immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access. And the UN is committed to staying and delivering humanitarian assistance.
Meanwhile, humanitarian partners are increasingly concerned about increasing threats to civilian protection as the conflict intensifies, entering what is being termed as “the final and crucial” phase of the military operation. Fighting seems to be moving eastward, towards densely populated areas.
UN and partner organizations assisting vulnerable people in Tigray are warning of looming shortages of supplies due to roadblocks to Tigray, a lack of access and a lack of fuel. This is putting millions of people at risk of food insecurity, malnutrition and health risks, among other challenges.
Humanitarian partners are concerned that a security vacuum created elsewhere in the country risks further exposing civilians to attacks, particularly in areas where there are long-standing inter-communal conflicts.
Violent incidents involving unidentified armed groups have been reported on an almost daily basis, mainly in Western Oromia region. In addition, several thousand people have reportedly been displaced in the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ region’s Konso zone, following intercommunal violence on 16 November.
Yesterday, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, released a statement on Ethiopia, expressing concern about the evolving humanitarian situation in the Tigray region and neighbouring areas.