STORY: Assistance to Refugees in Northern Ethiopia - UNHCR
TRT: 1 min 57s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 09 December 2022 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has been able to step up humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected populations in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray, Afar and Amhara regions since the signing of the peace agreement between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) about 6 weeks ago.
Speaking to journalists at a news briefing at the United Nations in Geneva, the UNHCR Representative in Ethiopia, Mamadou Dian Balde, said that “the peace agreement was signed on the 2nd of November. And since then, UNHCR and partners have been able to increase the level of assistance as well as protection and solutions within Tigray, but also in the northern part of Ethiopia, meaning Amhara as well as Afar.”
In the Peace agreement signed by the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) on 2nd November, both parties agreed to a “permanent cessation of hostilities” to end the Tigray war. This agreement was a critical first step towards ending the devastating two-year old conflict in which the lives and livelihoods of so many Ethiopians have been lost.
As of this week, UNHCR has been able to send 61 trucks into Tigray, carrying 2,400 metric tons of much-needed relief including medicine, shelter materials, blankets and household items, and a tanker carrying 20,000 litres of fuel to help us bring aid to those most in need.
“Not only were we able to have 16,000 refugees relocated to Alemwach, but since the signing of the agreement with the Government’s Refugees and Returnees Service (RRS), we've been able to support the relocation of 7,000 of them, so which really help thousands of refugees who have been stranded to really start rebuilding their own lives,” noted the UNHCR representative.
The Refugee Agency has now resumed operations in secondary field locations like in Maichew, Adigrat, and Abi Adi. Throughout the conflict, UNHCR teams were operating in Tigray from Mekelle and Shire to assist the vulnerable populations as conditions for Eritrean refugees in Tigray were dire.
“We were able to provide them with some limited support”, said Mr. Balde. “Whenever we had opportunities for flying in medical supplies, we did it, but there were not enough. They were not commensurate to the needs. And yes, people have suffered, and they have suffered, and they have suffered.”
UNHCR is now also working closely with local authorities in northern Ethiopia to support Ethiopians displaced by the conflict.
“UNHCR in Ethiopia is not only working on refugees, we also work on Ethiopians displaced by the conflict”, noted the UNHCR Representative. “We have been able to support over 2 million internally displaced persons through our protection services, shelter services as well as our housing, land and property and additional services.”
UNHCR has been providing counselling and support to the most vulnerable including separated children and survivors of gender-based violence. Over 50,000 internally displaced have been assisted to return to their homes within Tigray, Afar and Amhara.