UN fears 200,000 people could flee Ethiopia conflict in 6 months

11/21/2020
 UN agencies are appealing for funding to aid more than 33,000 people fleeing violence in Ethiopia's Tigray region, fearing more than 200,000 could follow in six months, a spokesman for the world body said.

On Friday, Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said people are streaming into neighbouring Sudan every day from Ethiopia's conflict-impacted northernmost region, reports Xinhua news agency.

The UN Refugee Agency estimated that up to 200,000 people could take refuge in eastern Sudan in the coming six months if instability in Tigray continues, Dujarric said.

While the number of internally displaced people grows daily, the lack of access to those in need, coupled with the inability to move relief supplies into the region, remain impediments to delivering aid.

Earlier this week the world organization's agencies set $75 million as necessary to help the displaced and refugees until January.

Providing hot meals, high-energy biscuits and food rations, the World Food Programme (WFP), is also providing logistics support, establishing supply hubs to store supplies and through its UN Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) is transporting humanitarian responders to affected areas, he said.

The WFP needs to increase the number of UNHAS flights, and road repairs to allow responders to reach remote and inaccessible areas where refugees are arriving, the spokesman said.

The Unicef reports that about 45 per cent of refugees are children under 18 years old and that since schools had already re-opened in Ethiopia, schooling has been disrupted, Dujarric said.

Since the early hours of November 4, the Ethiopian government has been undertaking military operations against the The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

The Ethiopian government has been blaming the TPLF, which was one of the four coalition fronts of the former ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF party), for masterminding various treasonous acts with an overarching goal of destabilizing the East African country.

The mounting disputes between the federal government and the TPLF were exacerbated in September this year, when the Tigray regional government decided to go ahead with its planned regional elections, which the Ethiopian parliament had previously postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

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