The ongoing conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region has spilled over into neighbouring Afar, which has led to the displacement of about 70,000 people and created a deteriorating humanitarian situation, a UN spokesman said.
In addition to the spillover, there are also 35,000 people displaced by the ongoing Afar-Somali ethnic conflict in the south of the region, Xinhua news agency quoted Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, as saying on Monday.
“Afar authorities have distributed food and non-food items to some of the recently displaced people,” he told a daily press briefing.
Humanitarian partners of the UN will provide health, protection, and emergency food, water, hygiene and sanitation assistance to 70,000 displaced people, Dujarric said.
In collaboration with the Afar Regional Health Bureau and humanitarian partners, the Unicef has deployed four mobile health and nutrition teams to provide services, said the spokesman.
In 10 Afar districts bordering Tigray, communities are hosting and assisting nearly 50,000 displaced people of Tigrayan and Afari origin with minimal humanitarian assistance due to a lack of resources and limited access, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
An additional 500,000 people in areas in Afar bordering Tigray — Awsi, Kilbati, and Fanti — risk being displaced if the conflict continues in Tigray, it said.
Financial resources are required to meet the urgent needs of affected communities and prepare for further increases in the number of displaced people. It is urgent to pre-position supplies, particularly health, nutrition, shelter, non-food items, said OCHA.
UN Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths is currently touring Tigray and other parts of Ethiopia.
Over the weekend, Griffiths visited a health center and a school in Hawzen in southeastern Tigray.
He also went to a site for internally displaced persons and heard from affected people, community leaders and humanitarian partners in Firweni, in eastern Tigray, said OCHA.
On Monday in Addis Ababa, Griffiths metEthiopian Minister of Peace Muferiat Kamil as well as the Amhara regional leader, to discuss the humanitarian situation in Amhara, Tigray’s neighbour to the south.
He also held discussions with the African Union commissioner for health, humanitarian affairs and social development, Amira El Fadil, and diplomatic representatives to Ethiopia.