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04-12-2020 | Edited News

UNOG Bi-weekly press Briefing: Ethiopia Tigray Update OCHA - UNHCR - WHO - WFP

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  1. Exterior wide shot, Palais des Nations flag alley, nations’ flags flying. 
  2. Wide shot, podium with speakers to rear in a near-empty Room XIV in line with COVID-19 distancing measures, Palais des Nations. 
  3. SOUNDBITE (English) — Jens Laerke, spokesperson, OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs): “There are still operational issues of a logistical nature, some of them are of a security nature, that are being worked out, so that we can proceed with the missions; everyone of course are working full speed to make that happen.” 
  4. Medium-wide shot, TV screen showing press conference in foreground and podium with speakers to rear, Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  5. SOUNDBITE (English) — Babar Baloch, spokesperson for UNHCR (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees): “UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, stands ready to resume its full humanitarian activities in the Tigray region as soon as the situation allows following an agreement to restore access.” 
  6. Close-up, journalist seen from behind listening and watching TV screen broadcasting press conference, Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  7. SOUNDBITE (English) — Tarik Jasarevic, spokesperson for WHO (World Health Organization): “The current situation will be impacted by this conflict and what we can except is to include worsening of COVID-19 pandemic in the region, injuries, malnutrition, communicable diseases such as malaria, as well as increased needs for non-communicable diseases, drugs.” 
  8. Close-up, World Food Programme (WFP) spokesperson Tomson Phiri talking in foreground and Alessandra Vellucci to rear, side shot, Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  9. SOUNDBITE (English) — Tomson Phiri, spokesperson, WFP: “It is unclear at this stage how much relief food is in WFP and Government warehouses until assessment missions reach Tigray.” 
  10. Medium-close-up, journalist seated to rear, taking notes, Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  11. SOUNDBITE (English) — Babar Baloch, spokesperson for UNHCR (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees): “In the Shire in  Tigray, UNHCR Staff in the town together with our partners have already distributed water, high energy biscuits, clothes, mattresses, sleeping mats and blankets to an estimated 5,000 internally displaced people.” 
  12. Medium shot, UN staff member looking at laptop, Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  13. SOUNDBITE (English) — Tomson Phiri, spokesperson, WFP: “WFP’s priority is to locate some of the 50,000 Eritrean refugees who before the conflict received, received food assistance in four camps in Tigray. It is possible, as Babar has said, that some may have fled by now in search of safety.” 
  14. Medium shot, journalist seen from behind watching TV screen showing press conference, Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  15. SOUNDBITE (English) — Babar Baloch, spokesperson for UNHCR (UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees): “Inside neighbouring Sudan, Ethiopian refugee arrivals continue with a total number now have crossed 47,000, more than 1,000 arrived yesterday, the majority in the evening.” 
  16. Wide shot, press conference with podium and speakers to rear in a near-empty Room XIV in line with COVID-19 distancing measures, Palais des Nations.  
  17. Medium close-up, Un Staff members with earphones, Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 
  18. Medium shot, journalist looking at his phone, side shot, Room XIV, Palais des Nations. 

 

UN working at ‘full speed’ to prepare for humanitarian mission to Ethiopia’s Tigray

The UN’s humanitarian coordination wing, OCHA, said on Friday that the Organization is doing its utmost to secure aid access to Ethiopia’s Tigray region, after a deal was struck to reach displaced civilians, after weeks of fighting between federal and regional forces.

“There are still operational issues of logistical nature, some of them are of security nature, that are being worked out so that we can proceed with the missions of everyone of course are working full speed to make that happen,” said Jens Laerke, spokesperson,  for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

On Wednesday, the UN announced that agreement had been reached with the Ethiopian Government to allow “unimpeded, sustained and secure access” for humanitarian supplies to reach those in need across areas now under its control in the north-eastern area.

At a press conference in Geneva, UN Refugee Agency UNHCR said that it was “ready to resume its full humanitarian activities in the Tigray region as soon as the situation allows following an agreement to restore access”.

Spokesperson Babar Baloch told journalists that “Ethiopian refugee arrivals continue into Sudan with a total number now have crossed 47,000”.

More than 1,000 people arrived on Thursday with more on the move behind them in search of safety, including “a small number” of Eritrean refugees, the UNHCR official said.

To date, 11,150 refugees have been transferred from Hamdayet and Abderafi border points to Um Rakuba camp, some 70 kilometres away from the Ethiopian border.

Mr Baloch noted that in the town of Shire in Tigray, the agency and partners “have already distributed water, high energy biscuits, clothes, mattresses, sleeping mats and blankets to an estimated 5,000 internally displaced people”.

But he added that discussions were still ongoing “with the federal government’s refugee agency on logistics arrangements, and the need to assess the security situation before the resumption of humanitarian activities”.

Responding to concerns about the impact of the conflict on civilians, World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said that the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic in the region was to be expected, along with “injuries, malnutrition, communicable diseases such as malaria, as well as increased needs for non-communicable diseases drugs”.

For the World Food Programme (WFP), spokesperson Tomson Phiri said that the agency welcomed the signing of the agreement to enable access to areas under the Federal Government’s control in Tigray region and the bordering areas of Amhara and Afar regions.

The agency’s priority “is to locate some of the 50,000 Eritrean refugees who before the conflict received, received food assistance in four camps in Tigray” he added, although it was possible “that some may have fled by now in search of safety”.

WFP will continue to seek ways to “speed up delivery of food supplies to refugee camps in Tigray as well as to reach people in need elsewhere”, Mr Phiri insisted, noting that the agency has provided supplementary food assistance to 42,000 people in Tigray.

Overall, some one million people received humanitarian support before the fighting began in early November, according to WFP.

Ahead of assessment missions by the UN and its partners, the Organization provisionally estimated that up to two  million people from Tigray Region would need assistance, WFP said in a statement.


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