On Tuesday, UN aid chief Martin Griffiths called Ethiopian authorities’ claims that aid workers were favouring and even arming Tigrayan forces “dangerous.”
“The use of broad accusations (against) humanitarian aid workers must cease…
They must be supported by evidence, if any exists, and, frankly, it is risky “He stated.
Tigrayan forces pushing south and west into the neighbouring Amhara region have displaced 200,000 people there, and 54,000 in the Afar region to the east, according to Griffiths.
The war erupted eight months ago between Ethiopia’s central government and the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Amhara’s spokesperson Gizachew Muluneh confirmed the number of displaced people in Amhara.
Ahmed Koloyta, the regional spokesperson for Afar, as well as spokespeople for the prime minister and a government task force on Tigray, did not respond to requests for comment.
Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, has called on Tigrayan forces to withdraw from the Amhara and Afar regions. He reiterated calls for Amhara and Eritrean forces to withdraw from western Tigray and for humanitarian aid to be delivered unhindered.
The Ethiopian government has suspended operations for the Dutch branch of the medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF said on Tuesday night, explaining that it received a letter on July 30 suspending its activities for three months.
“We are in the process of urgently seeking clarification from the authorities around the reasons and details for this suspension,” MSF said in a statement.
The Norwegian Refugee Council was given similar orders, a spokesman said in a statement, adding that it was in “dialogue with authorities.”
The United Nations says that around 400,000 people are living in famine conditions in Tigray, and more than 90% of the population needs emergency food aid.
“We need 100 trucks a day going into Tigray to meet humanitarian needs,” Griffiths told reporters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, adding that the number was a “calculated need” and not “over-estimated.”
He also said 122 trucks made it into Tigray in recent days.
The United Nations children’s agency warned last week that more than 100,000 children in Tigray could suffer life-threatening malnutrition in the next 12 months, a 10-fold increase over normal numbers.