Addis Abeba – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that 20 trucks loaded with food items and three trucks carrying fuel tankers :have started moving” from Semera, Afar state, to Mekelle, the capital of Tigray state.
Although the Ministry’s statement said the trucks were already rolling as of today, credible sources close to the matter informed Addis Standard that the trucks were ready and will start rolling to Mekelle as of tomorrow 18 March.
The Ministry further said that the number of trucks heading to Tigray on a daily basis will soon be 40 to maximize humanitarian reach and address basic needs in the region. “In addition, 17 humanitarian partners got approval to transport medicine (including Vaccine), medical items and nutrition supplies to the Tigray region as of March 16, 2022,” the statement said.
The announcement came as aid organizations including the UN and its partners sounded the alarm this week that “despite the airlifting of medical and nutrition supplies since January, access to health remains minimal, particularly in rural areas where lack of fuel has impacted the distribution of medicines.”
Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Directo General of the World Health Organization (WHO) told the press om 16 March said that the WHO and its partners have readied 95 metric tons of supplies to the war-torn, blockaded Tigray “but no permission has been given yet.”
In a statement issued this afternoon, the government denied the accusation.
MoFA full statement
Updates on Humanitarian Assistance to the Tigray Region
The Federal Government of Ethiopia has been playing constructive roles in facilitating the smooth movement of humanitarian trucks along the Afar route to address the humanitarian needs of the Tigray region.
Accordingly, today (March 17/2022), twenty (20) trucks loaded with food items and three (3) trucks carrying fuel tankers have started moving from Semera to Mekelle. The number of trucks heading to Tigray on a daily basis will soon be 40 to maximize humanitarian reach and address basic needs in the region.
In addition, seventeen (17) humanitarian partners got approval to transport medicine (including Vaccine) medical items and nutrition supplies to the Tigray region as of March 16, 2022. In conformity with the daily update on the cargo airlift from Addis Abeba to Mekelle, more than eleven (11) partners have transported 257,192 kilograms of medicine, medical items, and nutrition supplies.
To put the record straight, it has remained apparent that it was due to renewed attacks in Afar that more than 700,000 people have been displaced and the Humanitarian aid route to Tigray via Aba’ala had been blocked.
It’s also to be recalled that the attacks have been escalated to five woredas of the Kilibeti Resu Zone of the Afar regional State and displaced more than 300,000 people. It needs to be noted that 43 trucks loaded with food items were also kept stranded at Serdo, 38 KM away from Semera.
However, apart from the rigorous efforts and decisions made today, the Government of Ethiopia, once again, reiterates its commitment to address the humanitarian needs in the Tigray region through creating and maximizing a conducive working environment for all partners and boosting inland and air transport to the region.
The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, however, believes that no strings should be attached in protecting the rights and satisfying the humanitarian needs of our people and expects a similar commitment from all actors to let aid keep on flowing to the people. The International Community also is expected to put adequate weight on the matter to sufficiently address relevant concerns.
17 March 2022.