Fighting and bureaucratic hurdles are limiting access to civilian victims of conflict in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, UN humanitarians said on Friday.
“Access to most parts of northwestern, eastern and central Tigray remains constrained due to the ongoing insecurity and bureaucratic hurdles,” the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a release. “Two of the four refugee camps in the region (Hitsats and Shimelba) are still not accessible.”
“In some cases, partners could not travel to Tigray due to additional bureaucratic constraints at regional and local levels, despite clearance received from federal authorities,” said OCHA.
The United Nations and its humanitarian partners have been able to access areas previously inaccessible, particularly in cities. But, as of last week, localized fighting and insecurity were reported in rural areas and around Mekelle, Shiraro and Shire, it said.
Earlier this week, OCHA said needs assessment missions reported that displaced people returning to the conflict areas found their homes, government buildings and infrastructure looted and damaged or destroyed.
The United Nations estimates that 2.3 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance in Tigray, including 1.3 million additional people due to the conflict that started in early November.
While the United Nations continues to seek full and unhindered access, it has shared its best estimation of people in need based on data collected before and during the conflict.
The world body continues to assess the situation and these figures are likely to evolve in the coming period as further information becomes available and teams are able to access more locations to verify the situation on the ground.