Tigray region left without power, internet or communication post truce – UN
(Anews)–Ethiopia‘s northern conflict region of Tigray has been left without electricity, internet or telephone connections, even after the government announced a ceasefire there, a spokesperson for a UN agency said on Wednesday.
This makes it very difficult to communicate with aid organizations in the region, said Hayat Abu-Saleh, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
The ceasefire, announced on Monday, came eight months after the Ethiopian government in Addis Ababa launched a military offensive in November against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which had held power in the Tigray region.
“Electricity and telecommunications remain cut off throughout Tigray, with communications only possible via intermittent satellite phone connection and VSAT Internet connections in two UN compounds in Mekelle and one in Shire,” OCHA said in a statement.
Additional staff and supplies are urgently needed in Tigray, OCHA said, and called on the authorities to restore electricity and telecoms, and ensure that cash and fuel are available throughout the region for the continuity of humanitarian operations.
All parties to the conflict must protect civilians and refrain from obstructing the free movement of humanitarian workers and supplies, both within the region and to re-establish access to the region by air and roads, OHCA said.
Tigray is also suffering from shortages of fuel, severely affecting the humanitarian operations including ambulances, water trucks, water pumps, generators and food dispatching and distribution, the organization said.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Tigray depend on humanitarian aid, but aid groups have not had full access to those in need for a long time because of the security situation and bureaucratic hurdles.
Meanwhile the European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell welcomed the ceasefire, according to a spokesperson.
“It should materialize quickly and be accompanied by additional efforts by all parties to end the conflict, stop the atrocities, respect international humanitarian law and enable an immediate and unhindered access to provide assistance to those in need,” he said.
“The EU reminds all parties to the conflict of their legal obligation to protect all civilians, at all times. It is also crucial that investigations on all reported massacres and atrocities continue,” the statement said.