About 2.3 million children in the Tigray region of Ethiopia have been cut off from humanitarian assistance as violence in the northern part of the country continues, the UN has warned.
In a statement, the UN’s children’s agency UNICEF said: “The longer access to [the children]is delayed, the worse their situation will become as supplies of food, including ready-to-use therapeutic food for the treatment of child malnutrition, medicines, water, fuel and other essentials run low”.
“Protecting these children, many of whom are refugees and internally displaced… must be a priority”.
It added: “We call for urgent, sustained, unconditional and impartial humanitarian access to all families in need wherever they are.”
Neither the Ethiopian government nor the TPLF has commented on the issue.
Federal government forces under Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed have been battling Tigray fighters since November 04.
The government says it is in control of the region and the conflict is over. But Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) says it is still fighting on various fronts.
Hundreds, even thousands, of people are thought to have been killed in the conflict, while about 50,000 have fled to neighbouring Sudan.
The conflict escalated in November, when Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray.
He said he did so in response to an attack on a military base housing government troops in Tigray.
The escalation came after months of feuding between Mr. Abiy’s government and leaders of the TPLF – the region’s dominant political party.
For almost three decades, the party was at the centre of power, before it was side-lined after Mr. Abiy took office in 2018 in the wake of anti-government protests. (Source: BBC)