The United Nations has sounded the alarm over the severe effect of food shortages on the thousands of Eritrean refugees sheltering in camps in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, requesting “urgent access” to be able to deliver badly needed aid.
Communications and transport links to Tigray have been severed, and the UN and humanitarian agencies have pleaded for access to provide food, medicines and other supplies in the camps that sheltered nearly 100,000 Eritreans before the hostilities began.
“We, as humanitarians, have lost access and contact with the refugees since the last month that this fighting has been ongoing, and now there are worrying reports of attacks, of abductions and also of recruitments in and around these refugee camps,” UN refugee agency spokesman Babar Baloch told Al Jazeera. “The camps will have now run out of food supplies – making hunger and malnutrition a real danger, a warning we have been issuing since the conflict began nearly a month ago.”
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was last year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner, and he has rejected the idea of dialogue with the TPLF rebel leadership.