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Ethiopia: 1.8m people in embattled Tigray receive relief

Ethiopians, who fled the conflict in the Tigray region are seen in Sudan on 14 December 2020 [Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency]
Ethiopians, who fled the conflict in the Tigray region are seen in Sudan on 14 December 2020 [Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu Agency]

The Ethiopian government, in partnerships with international partners, has managed to reach out to 1.8 million people with humanitarian assistance since the "law enforcement operation" began in November in the Horn of Africa country's northernmost region of Tigray, Anadolu Agency reports.

On 4 November last year, forces loyal to the now-outlawed Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) attacked the northern command of the Ethiopian Defence Forces, killing soldiers and looting military hardware.

On 28 November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared the military operation over after the fall of the regional capital Mekele to the federal army.

"There is sporadic firing in the region," said Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner of the Ethiopian Disaster Risk Management, in a news briefing on Thursday. "We have been able to reach 1.8 million people in the region with humanitarian assistance."

According to him, 1.8 million of the beneficiaries were those who had been receiving humanitarian assistance under a safety net program for years before the law enforcement operation.

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He said food items, foods for children and lactating mothers, and non-food essentials have been distributed, covering all seven zones in the region.

The international community and the media have been critical of the government for not providing full access to the area. "Previously, humanitarian assistance was associated with access. Now, as the military progresses on the ground, most areas are accessible," he added.

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