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Humanitarian situation in northern Ethiopia continues to deteriorate: UN

In the past weeks, fewer than 7,000 people received food assistance, and this was at reduced rations.

IANS | Addis Ababa |

The humanitarian situation in the northern Ethiopian region of Afar continues to deteriorate due to the ongoing conflict, with large-scale displacement driving increasing needs, said the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Due to insecurity, the UN and nongovernmental organization partners are unable to access many of the sites where those displaced by the fighting took shelter, it said.

Assistance is being provided in accessible areas of Afar. Nearly 80,000 children and pregnant and lactating women in seven districts are currently benefiting from blanket supplementary feeding programs to address malnutrition, and mobile health and nutrition teams are providing assistance in 14 districts, Xinhua news agency quoted the Office as saying.

In the neighbouring Tigray region, additional medical supplies were airlifted to the capital of Mekelle during the past week.

On February 11, the World Health Organization airlifted 10 metric tonnes of medical supplies, including medical equipment, antibiotics, and medicine for malaria, diabetes, and reproductive health.

However, the amount of supplies that can be airlifted remains limited, OCHA said.

In addition, many of these supplies cannot yet be distributed to health facilities across Tigray due to the continued lack of fuel. The continued suspension of truck convoys into Tigray, including fuel tankers, continues to limit humanitarian assistance more broadly, said OCHA.

In the past weeks, fewer than 7,000 people received food assistance, and this was at reduced rations.

As part of the recent measles vaccination campaign in Tigray, more than 60,000 children under 5 and about 11,000 pregnant and lactating women were screened for malnutrition.

Over 20 percent of children and 55 per cent of the women were found to be acutely malnourished, it said.

Humanitarian assistance continues in the northern Amhara region. During the past week, more than 127,000 people were provided food assistance, while some areas in northern Amhara are still inaccessible to humanitarians due to security concerns, and some new displacement continues to be reported, said OCHA.