Humanitarian convoys carrying desperately needed food aid entered Tigray for the first time since a ceasefire agreement was signed two-week ago.
Convoys carrying desperately needed food aid have entered Tigray, as humanitarian groups gained access to the war-torn northern Ethiopian region for the first time since a ceasefire agreement was signed two weeks ago.
The U.N.’s World Food Program 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.
.@WFP convoy just entered North West #Tigray via #Gondar corridor for the first time since June 2021. Critical relief food will now be delivered to communities in Mai Tsebri town in coming days.
More food, nutrition, medical cargo will follow imminently, via all routes possible. pic.twitter.com/CQ7u0AraNM
— WFP_Ethiopia (@WFP_Ethiopia) November 16, 2022
The WFP convoy arrived a day after the International Committee of the Red Cross 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.
Saving lives before anything else!
Our first convoy of aid supplies has arrived in Mekelle. Two trucks delivered medicines, emergency and first aid kits to support health facilities in #Tigray to treat patients with conditions that need urgent care.
More aid in the days ahead. pic.twitter.com/67zWpoX9Ed
— ICRC Ethiopia (@ICRCEthiopia) November 15, 2022
The International Committee of the Red Cross said a test flight landed in Shire, the first humanitarian plane to reach the northern city since the war started in November 2020, and two trucks had reached Mekelle, the capital of the region.
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.
ICRC test-flight landed in #Shire today, the first humanitarian flight in 2 years since the conflict erupted!
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 pic.twitter.com/1ygLCSdUtT
— ICRC Ethiopia (@ICRCEthiopia) November 16, 2022
“Trucks are now rolling into Tigray with critical food assistance … This is the first movement since the peace agreement was signed,” said David Beasley, the UN World Food Programme’s executive director.
Before the humanitarian aid deal was reached, the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said it had started delivering federal aid to Tigray. “Aid is flowing like no other time,” national security adviser Redwan Hussein tweeted on Friday, adding that 35 trucks of food and three of medicine had arrived in the city of Shire, east of the regional capital Mekele. “Flights are allowed,” he added.
70% of Tigray is under ENDF.Aid is flowing like no other times.Even to the areas not yet held by ENDF.35 trucks of food and 3trucks of medicine arrived shire. Flights are allowed. Services are being reconnected. The agreement just provides opportunities to enhance services.
— Redwan Hussien (@RedwanHussien) November 11, 2022
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.
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.
* AP News, DW, and The Guardian contributed to the story.