US aid agency seeks 'unfettered humanitarian access' to Ethiopia's Tigray

USAID official arrives in Ethiopia, warns of catastrophic situation if access to war-torn region not improved

Addis Getachew   | 04.08.2021
US aid agency seeks 'unfettered humanitarian access' to Ethiopia's Tigray


An official of the US aid agency arrived in Addis Ababa early Wednesday to press for “unfettered humanitarian access” to the restive Tigray region.

Samantha Power, the administrator of the USAID, is expected to meet the Ethiopian government’s top officials to discuss the humanitarian situation in Tigray as the Ethiopian forces try to prevent fighters of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front from encroaching upon neighboring regional states in the Horn of Africa country.

On June 29, Ethiopia announced a unilateral cease-fire to allow for Tigray farmers to make use of the main rainy season for harvesting and facilitate unfettered humanitarian access as demanded by the US-led international community.

Power said her visit was aimed at pressing the Ethiopian government for “unfettered humanitarian access” to Tigray, where international aid agencies warn of an impending famine. Trying to persuade the Ethiopian government to hold dialogue with the TPLF is also on her agenda.

“… we're providing $149 million in additional assistance to fight famine. If humanitarian access doesn't vastly improve, the already catastrophic situation will get even worse,” she tweeted.

But the Ethiopian government rejected any possibility of opening up a humanitarian corridor via Sudan. Ethiopia and Sudan are embroiled in a border row with the former blaming the latter for invading its territories by force.

Any move for the opening of a new corridor under the pretext of delivering aid to Tigray is unacceptable, local broadcaster FANA quoted Mitku Kassa, Commissioner of National Disaster Risk Management Commission, as saying on Tuesday.

Tigray has come under intense international spotlight since November last year. On Nov. 3, the TPLF forces attacked the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Forces stationed across Tigray, including the capital Mekele, killing soldiers and looting sizable military hardware.

On Nov. 4, the Ethiopian government announced a sweeping law enforcement operation in the region to quell the insurgency.

However, fighting still continues with the TPLF encroaching upon neighboring regional states of Afar and Amhara from where hundreds of thousands of people have already been displaced due to the war.

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