President of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society on Wednesday stated that nearly 80 percent of the Tigray region was cut off from the humanitarian aid, as the UN articulated deep concerns, calling the situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray ‘extremely alarming’. Tens of thousands are feared to starve to death in the conflict-hit region, Abera Tola told a press conference. Meanwhile, reiterating Tola’s concerns, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), Francesco Rocca, urged the international community for increased humanitarian response to “better meet the needs of people affected by recent fighting.”
Speaking at the end of his five-day visit to Ethiopia, including the former capital of Tigray Mekele which Ethiopia has seized, Francesco Rocca said in a press conference, “I am very concerned about the conditions that I saw during my visit.” He added, “People were internally displaced by the fighting, especially children, their mothers, and the elderly,” adding that people in Tigray needed much more aid and humanitarian assistance to recover from the devastating aftermath of armed conflict. “We need to scale up humanitarian operations,” Rocca said. IFRC Chief, further, expressed concerns about the hospitals being overwhelmed in the region, which he said, lacked even basic medical supply. In an official statement, Rocca sounded an alarm regarding “serious concerns” relayed by local health officials about rising levels of malnutrition in Tigray.
Fighting in Northern Ethiopia has forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes.— IFRC (@ifrc) February 8, 2021
As part of his visit to Ethiopia, IFRC President @Francescorocca met with the teams of @EthioRedCross who have been providing support to communities affected by the fighting in Tigray. pic.twitter.com/ziunA1zHaH
Very interesting visit to the @EthioRedCross local branch in Woliso where we had the chance to discuss humanitarian priorities & needs. Always inspiring to meet our volunteers and listen to their stories. Proud of their activities and of their commitment to humanity! #Ethiopia pic.twitter.com/00K3kSM8gT— Francesco Rocca (@Francescorocca) February 7, 2021
Today, @ifrc President @Francescorocca visited @EthioRedCross' training and emergency operations centre.— IFRC Africa (@IFRCAfrica) February 6, 2021
He was given an update on current operations, including the response to communities affected by the fighting in #Tigray. pic.twitter.com/2L4Ru5ya5Y
“The Horn of Africa is facing chronic multiple crises, including widespread and severe food insecurity, and massive locust swarms that have contributed to further crop losses," IFRC President Francesco Rocca said at a press briefing.
“The region is also grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic which, among other impacts, has led to the closure of schools. More than 6.4 million children are now without school meals and this has worsened malnutrition considerably.”
An estimated 2.6 million people in Tigray and the adjacent regions of Amhara, Afar, Benishangul-Gumuz, and SNNPR need humanitarian assistance, Ethiopian Red Cross Society said in a press release, citing its on-ground assessment. Primary needs among affected people in Tigray include food and basic relief items, water and sanitation, medical supplies, and technical assistance for mobile clinics, it added. In January 2021 alone, close to 200,000 people have been internally displaced in Ethiopia, and an estimated 60,000 fled into Sudan, Ethiopia Red Cross report revealed. The team, in its analysis report, found at least 230 Ethiopian refugees in Djibouti, stressing the humanitarian caseload for the neighbouring nations and pushing for coordinated and comprehensive action by aid organizations. The IFRC, the Ethiopian Red Cross, the Sudanese Red Crescent and the Red Crescent Society of Djibouti are now jointly appealing the nations worldwide for 27 million Swiss francs to provide for the livelihoods of the refugees.