United Nations says situation in embattled Tigray region of Ethiopia is dire with hundreds of thousands of people lacking essential services.
In a statement, UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said economic activity remain largely disrupted with rising malnutrition especially in rural areas where two-thirds of population lives.
It said United Nations continues to call for immediate, safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to provide urgent assistance to those in needs.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Wednesday “there is a grave humanitarian need in Tigray, and at this point, we’re not able to reach the people that need to be reached.”
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday underlined “the need for continued urgent steps to alleviate the humanitarian situation and extend protection to all those at risk in Tigray,” Dujarric said.
Britain’s U.N. Ambassador Barbara Woodward told reporters after Wednesday’s council meeting that all 15 council members “shared the view that the incremental progress we’ve seen so far is not enough.”
She noted that several senior U.N. officials including World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley and High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and senior humanitarian were just in Ethiopia meeting with government officials, which diplomats said was a sign of the urgency in gaining access to all areas of Tigray.
The diplomats said Lowcock told the council that Beasley, Grandi and U.N. security chief Gilles Michaud had “positive” meetings and emphasized the need for unimpeded access, protecting civilians and refugees and urgently restoring basic services including banking, communications, health services and paying salaries for civil servants.
Britain’s Woodward said the United Kingdom has condemned the destruction of the two northern refugee camps, Hitsats and Shimelba, “and we called for urgent assistance to those refugees displaced as a result.”
Diplomats said Lowcock told the council there are reports of some Eritrean refugees caught in the conflict being attacked, killed, abducted and taken back to Eritrea.
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