More aid arrived in Ethiopia’s Tigray Wednesday following the signing of a truce earlier this month calling for unhindered humanitarian access to the war-torn northern region.
The U.N.’s World Food Program (WFP) reported that its trucks had entered northwestern Tigray via the city of Gondar in the neighboring region of Amhara. The Gondar route had previously been closed to aid groups after the Tigray rebels recaptured large areas of that region in June 2021, with subsequent convoys passing through the region of Afar to the east of Tigray.
“More food, nutrition, medical cargo will follow imminently, via all routes possible,” the WFP said, adding that food will be delivered to people in the Tigray town of Mai Tsebri.
A WFP spokesperson told The Associated Press (AP) that the convoy consisted of 15 trucks carrying 300 tons of food.
The WFP convoy arrived a day after the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) delivered 40 tons of medical supplies to Tigray’s capital, Mekele. The ICRC’s shipment was the first batch of international aid to reach Tigray since August.
Tigray is in the grip of a dire humanitarian crisis, the result of two years of restrictions on aid. These restrictions prompted a U.N. panel of experts to conclude that Ethiopia’s government probably used “starvation as a method of warfare” against the region.
Also on Wednesday, the ICRC said it had landed a “test-flight” in the northwestern Tigray town of Shire. Airlifts have previously been used to send medical supplies and other support to Tigray.
The resuming of airlifts to Tigray "will help carry urgent humanitarian aid to the region more quickly, to alleviate the suffering of thousands needing immediate support,” the ICRC said on Twitter.
Fighting that erupted in August after months of a lull displaced 500,000 people in northwestern Tigray alone, according to a document by Tigray’s regional Emergency Coordination Center that was seen by AP. “Starvation-related deaths” have been reported at camps for the displaced by U.N. teams that visited the area in September.
The ceasefire deal, struck in South Africa with the backing of the African Union, also calls for the restoration of services to Tigray, although the region still does not have access to internet, phone and banking services.