The United Nations has released $65 million for humanitarian aid in Ethiopia, with the greater amount for the Tigray region of the country where a military operation launched in November 2020, escalated into a war that has claimed the lives of thousands.
The United Nations on Thursday announced that $40 million was to be donated to Tigray while $25 million would fund aid operations in the rest of Ethiopia that includes a response to drought in the Somali and Oromia regions.
The organization revealed the funds would also be used to treat children with severe acute malnutrition, rehabilitate water systems, supply water to drought-affected communities, and pre-position humanitarian supplies.
“Ethiopian lives and livelihoods are being destroyed by drought, and children are suffering from malnutrition,” U.N. humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock said in a statement. “And six months into the conflict in Tigray, civilians continue to bear the brunt.”
“Women and girls are being targeted with horrific sexual violence, and millions are struggling to access essential services and food, especially in some rural areas that are completely cut off. We need to scale up the humanitarian response now,” Lowcock said.
Reports claim that over 2000 people have been killed in 150 massacres by soldiers in Tigray, Ethiopia. Another estimated 250 civilians were killed in three days in Humera, a town of significant economic and strategic importance in the far west of Tigray where the ethnic cleansing of local communities was reported.
There are also continuing claims of widespread human rights abuses, including a wave of sexual assaults. According to the UN, more than 500 rape cases have been reported to five clinics in Tigray. Numbers are likely to be much higher because of stigma and a lack of health services, it said.
A humanitarian office known as OCHA said the $40 million for Tigray will fund the emergency shelter, clean water, health care, prevention efforts and response to sexual and gender-based violence, and emergency telecommunications to support the humanitarian response.
OCHA said access to those in need in Tigray “remains a challenge” and aid officials are trying to reach inaccessible areas in the southeast.