Humanitarian aid agencies blame the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) for the expropriation of 1010 aid trucks seized and stranded by the group in Tigray.
UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Catherine Sozi together with the Ethiopian National Disaster Risk Management (NDRMC) Commissioner, Mitku Kassa, briefed the media over the on-going humanitarian response activities on Thursday.
Of 203 convoys of trucks that transported eight thousand tons of food and non-food items to the Tigray region between November 23 and December 3, 2021, none pulled out of the region though they were expected to return three days after the day of arrival.
Commissioner Mitku noted significant measures were made by the government to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of food and non-food items delivery. However, the commissioner criticized some of the international partners for blaming the government of Ethiopia of blocking aid to the region, which he called untrue.
“International agencies failed to denounce the acts of the TPLF while 77 percent of the 1,317 aid trucks that went into Tigray are stranded there because of the group’s irresponsible action,” Mitiku said. He also accused the group of using the trucks to invade Amhara and Afar regions.
According to Catherine, talks with the leaders of the TPLF to seek a way for the release of the trucks have yet to bear fruit. “We have resorted to looking for funds to buy new trucks as no solution has been given for trucks stranded in Tigray,” added Catherine, adding that the money would have been used to provide assistance instead of procuring additional trucks.
There are at least 20 million people who are in need of urgent assistance, according to the UN. Last week, authorities of the regional state of Amhara reported that seven million people in the region require life-saving assistance.
Currently, 115 trucks have received Federal government clearance and are ready in Semera loaded with humanitarian cargo destined for Mekelle, according to Mitiku.