On 29 September, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs head warned of looming famine in Ethiopia’s Tigray becoming a ‘stain on our conscience’. The Ethiopian government responded quickly, expelling seven UN humanitarian staff from the country in advance of the swearing in of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on 4 October.
Air attacks against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) are increasing – and so too is the humanitarian cost.
It has been described as the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade. And it is feared the situation in Ethiopia’s northern region of Tigray will become even bleaker.
After 11 months of conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, millions of people are displaced and nearly 500,000 face famine-like conditions.
So how can aid agencies ease the crisis?
Presenter: Hashem Ahelbarra
Neamin Zeleke – Member of the Global Ethiopian Advocates Nexus
William Davison – Senior Ethiopia analyst at International Crisis Group
Jan Abbink – Professor of politics and governance in Africa at Leiden University
Ethiopia’s military has carried out a second air attack in the northern part of Tigray, according to a statement issued by the government shortly after it said it launched an air raid on a rebel-held facility in Tigray’s west.
The raids on Sunday would be the seventh and eighth aerial bombardments in the war-hit region in a week.
The United Nations has suspended all flights to the regional capital of the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia after government air raids forced a humanitarian flight carrying 11 passengers to abort landing in Mekelle.
The UN Humanitarian Air Services (UNHAS) flight from Addis Ababa had been cleared by federal authorities, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said, but “received instructions to abort landing by the Mekelle airport control tower”.
Ethiopia has said it had launched another air raid on Mekelle, the capital of war-battered Tigray, the fourth such bombardment this week in a campaign it says is targeting rebel facilities.
The latest attack was aimed at a facility “currently serving TPLF for military training”, government spokesman Legesse Tulu told the AFP news agency on Thursday, referring to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front rebel group.
Ethiopia’s military has launched new air raids on Tigray, the second round of bombardments this week against rebel targets in the war-battered region.
The air raids mark a sharp escalation in the near yearlong conflict in northern Ethiopia pitting government forces and their allies against the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Tigray’s once-dominant governing party.
Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 drones, touted as a game-changer for Ankara’s allies in the Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh conflicts, appear bound for further showing in African skies, but not without the risk of complicating Turkey’s foreign ties, primarily its fledgling bid at fence-mending with Egypt.
Speaking to reporters in New York, the UN Spokesperson said the Organization was still trying to verify the details, but it is worried about the potential impact on civilians who reside or work in the affected areas.
According to Stéphane Dujarric, the Secretary-General is “deeply concerned” over the escalation of the conflict in northern Ethiopia.
US President Joe Biden is set to meet Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta as war and a humanitarian crisis roil neighbouring Ethiopia.
The meeting on Thursday will be Biden’s first one-on-one, in-person talks as president with an African leader.