United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said he released $40 million to expand emergency operations in the conflict-affected northern part of Ethiopia as an early response to the drought in the south.
The United Nations said it has issued emergency funds to help provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection to civilians caught in the escalating conflict in Ethiopia.
United Nations aid chief Martin Griffith said on Monday that he has released a total of US$40 million to expand emergency operations in the Tigray region and other parts of northern Ethiopia as an early response to the drought in the southern part of the country. .
Griffith said in a statement: “As the humanitarian crisis gets deeper and more widespread, millions of people in northern Ethiopia are living on the edge of a knife.”
“Across the country, demand is rising.”
Rebels from the northern region of Tigray and government forces fought in Ethiopia for a year, killing thousands of people, displacing more than 2 million, and putting hundreds of thousands of people into famine-like situations.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abi Ahmed sent troops into Tigray in November last year to overthrow the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). He said the move was in response to rebel attacks on the barracks.
Abi promised to win quickly, but by late June, TPLF had retaken most of Tigray before expanding its presence to the Amhara and Afar regions.
TPLF called for an end to the de facto humanitarian blockade of Tigray that the United Nations said, and no aid was allowed to enter the area in the past month.
Griffith said that the newly injected US$25 million in cash came from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund, and the other US$15 million came from the Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund.
The statement said that in Tigray, Amhara and Afar, the money will support aid agencies to provide protection and other life-saving assistance to people affected by the conflict.
“Women, boys and girls continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, but their protection needs are still insufficient,” it said.
At the same time, in the drought-stricken southern Somalia and Oromia regions, the extra cash will help rescue agencies provide drinking water, including the prevention of water-borne diseases such as cholera, and support the protection of livestock.
Despite the infusion of new funds, the United Nations stated that humanitarian operations across Ethiopia this year still face a funding gap of US$1.3 billion, of which US$350 million is still needed to respond to the crisis in Tigray City alone.
As the funds were released, the international community made more and more efforts to stop the escalating conflict. On Sunday, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta met with Abi in Ethiopia. African Union (AU) Special Envoy Olusegun Obasanjo said he hoped the dialogue would end the conflict, but warned that if not immediately Ceasefire, “Such negotiations will not be achieved.”
Obasanjo said in a statement that he “optimistically believes that there is a common ground that can ensure a peaceful resolution of the conflict.”
But as the fighting has intensified in recent weeks, the former Nigerian president and AU special envoy for the Horn of Africa warned that “in an environment of escalating military hostilities, such talks cannot be achieved”.
“Therefore, I call on the leaders of all parties to stop the military offensive. This will provide an opportunity for the dialogue to continue to make progress.”
His comments were made before U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Brinken visited three African countries. He supported Obasanjo’s mediation efforts and threatened to impose sanctions on the Abbey government and TPLF unless they advance negotiations.