The United States Aid Agency (USAID) has accused the Ethiopian government of blocking humanitarian aid to the country’s Tigray region where over 5 million people need humanitarian assistance.

It is asking for fuel deliveries, electricity, telecommunications, and banking services to be restored in the region. It also wants restrictions on aid organizations bringing cash and telecommunications equipment into Tigray, to be lifted.

USAID says from 1 July to now, at least 5000 trucks carrying supplies should have arrived in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in the north of the country.

Video: USAID accuse Ethiopia of obstructing humanitarian aid into the Tigray region

 

However, within this time, only around 320 had reportedly reached the region. It says multiple checkpoints, repeated intensive searches, harassment of aid workers, and what it calls harmful rhetoric coming from the Ethiopian Government against humanitarians, are slowing access to much-needed aid in the region.

But the Ethiopian government has denied this.   “Security is first and foremost the priory that cannot be compromised, it is a volatile area so in that regardless there is going to be continuous checks and processes that have been put in place by the federal government and any entity that wants to enter the region needs to be in compliance with regulations that have been set by these federal bodies and authorities,” says  Spokesperson of the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office Bilenne Seyoum.

Fighting in parts of the country’s northern region rages on, 10 months after it started.  The Ethiopian government is trying to take full control of the region, where some parts have fallen to the forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.

The United Nations has reiterated the need for an Ethiopian-led peace process to quell the war. Aby Ahmed’s government says there is already a plan for a national inclusive dialogue with citizens.

” Mind you that there are people from the Tigray region – women, children, that had also been engaged in this dialogue process as well when the interim administration was coordinating these discussions. And they will still continue with people from the region who want a peaceful outcome to it, ” says Seyoum.

The outlawed TPLF groups are blamed for overstretching the humanitarian needs by extending their offensive to two regions bordering the Tigray region. Meanwhile, the main food provider, the UN World Food Programme is facing funding shortfalls.

It says it needs over USD 288 million over the next six months to feed and provide long-term food security solutions to 11.9 million people in Ethiopia, including the Tigray region.