NEW YORK, United States of America, January 10, 2022 / APO Group / –
On Sunday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) told reporters that some aid agencies were suspending operations in an area where a deadly airstrike hit a camp for displaced people.
“Humanitarian partners suspended activities in the area due to continued threats of drone attacks,” the agency explained, adding that some partners continued to operate.
According to the agency, the latest attack occurred at midnight on Friday in the city of Dedebit, and “caused dozens of civilian casualties, including deaths.”
The rebel Tigray Popular Liberation Front (FPLF) said the attack had killed 56 people, while an official at the region’s main hospital in the capital Mekele reported 55 dead and 126 wounded.
Despite reports that aid workers have suspended activities in the area, OCHA emphasized on Monday that some partners continued to operate around Dedebit, amid a constant threat of drone strikes.
For security and access reasons, OCHA has not been able to verify the number of victims.
In another statement released on Sunday, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed its outrage at the attack and another that occurred two days earlier, on January 5.
The agency emphasized that camps for refugees and internally displaced persons, including schools and other essential facilities, are civilian facilities. The lack of respect and protection of these areas by the combatants may constitute a violation of international humanitarian law.
According to UNICEF, all parties to the conflict continue to commit acts of violence, including serious violations against children, throughout northern Ethiopia.
14 month war
14 months have passed since clashes broke out between federal government troops and forces loyal to the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front.
Renewing its call for an immediate cessation of hostilities, UNICEF urged all parties to build on the initial signs of progress in recent weeks.
In December, the Ethiopian government announced that the National Defense Force would halt any further advance, and the Tigrayan forces declared that they had withdrawn from neighboring Afar and Amhara regions, back to Tigray.
At the time, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, urged the parties in conflict to seize the opportunity to end more than a year of fighting.
Meanwhile, a broader humanitarian crisis continues to rage in parts of Ethiopia. Currently, some 5.2 million people are in need of help in the northern regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar.
Amid reports of widespread human rights abuses, thousands of people are feared to have died as more than two million have been forced to flee their homes.
And in recent months, killings, looting and destruction of health facilities and agricultural infrastructure, including irrigation systems that are vital for production, have led to increased humanitarian needs.
According to UN aid workers, the situation in the northern part of the country remains unpredictable and volatile.
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