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Ethiopia: 7 UN officials ordered to leave the country within 72 hours



Ethiopia: 7 UN officials ordered to leave the country within 72 hours

UN pledges to help Ethiopian people who depend on humanitarian aid

NEW YORK, United States of America, October 1, 2021 / APO Group / –

Secretary-General António Guterres expressed shock on Thursday after the Ethiopian government declared seven UN staff members persona non grata, ordering them to leave the country within 72 hours.

Ethiopia’s foreign ministry said in a tweet that five members of the UN’s Office for Humanitarian Affairs, OCHA, including senior leaders, had been ordered to leave the country, along with the UNICEF representative. from the United Nations Children’s Fund and a team leader from the United Nations Human Rights Office, OHCHR.

Rescue aid

To recall that all UN humanitarian operations are guided by “the fundamental principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence”, the declaration of the UN chief reacting to the expulsion order , noted that in Ethiopia, “the UN is providing life-saving aid – including food, medicine, water and sanitation supplies – to those in desperate need.”

Some 5.2 million people are currently in need of assistance in the northern regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar, after heavy fighting erupted last November between central government troops and Popular Front loyalists. Liberation of Tigray (TPLF).

The Foreign Ministry tweet said it was expelling UN officials for allegedly “interfering in the country’s internal affairs.”

“De facto blocking”

Meanwhile, the de facto government-imposed blockade of the troubled Tigray region continues, according to United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, who said this week that after 11 months of conflict and three months of de facto blockade, the humanitarian crisis in Tigray is spiraling out of control.

Commercial supplies have been barred from entering since late June, causing severe shortages of basic necessities and sharply rising prices. Although humanitarian partners continue to respond to urgent needs in the region, stocks and resources are threatened with depletion.

Noting that 400,000 people are living in near starvation conditions, he warned that the situation will likely get worse before it gets better.

The UN humanitarian chief said problems were mounting for civilians caught up in the conflict, including locusts, a potential poor harvest, humanitarian aid failing and fighting spreading to neighboring areas. ‘Amhara and Afar.

Childhood malnutrition

UN humanitarian colleagues say child malnutrition is now at the same level as the famine began in Somalia in 2011, with getting aid – including fuel – to Tigray still a challenge.

Over the past week, 79 trucks carrying aid have arrived in Tigray via the Semera-Abala-Mekelle corridor, bringing the total number of humanitarian trucks that have entered Tigray since July 12 to 606.

“As we have said several times, we need 100 trucks to enter Tigray every day. We are therefore well below this target, ”said UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric on Wednesday during a regular press briefing, noting that trucks carrying fuel and medical supplies cannot enter. in Tigray and wait in Afar to go to Mekelle.

Aid must continue

“I have full confidence in the United Nations personnel who are in Ethiopia to do this work,” said the Secretary-General. “The UN is committed to helping the Ethiopian people who depend on humanitarian aid.”

He added that the UN is now engaging with the Ethiopian government to advocate for the relaxation of blockade-type conditions and to allow sustained and regular access to aid convoys.

Mr. Guterres concluded by hoping that “relevant United Nations personnel will be allowed to continue their important work”.

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