Ethiopian Airlines (EA) will resume regular flights to the Tigray region after halting services due to the war that erupted in the northern part of Ethiopia in November 2020.
Mesfin Tasew, the airline’s CEO, confirmed to Ethiopian News Agency (ENA) that the airline was currently “undertaking preparations” to resume flights to the war-torn region.
Tasew said that the peace agreement signed between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) will allow the airline to resume operations in the region.
He confirmed that the resumption will aid in the transportation and delivery of humanitarian aid to the region. “There will be a need for passenger and cargo services in connection with the humanitarian aid delivery. Various foreign organizations are expected to provide humanitarian aid.”
The CEO also identified two airports, Mekelle and Shire, as being in a condition that can accommodate regular flights.
However, Tasew highlighted that a third airport, Axum Airport, suffered damage to its infrastructure that requires rehabilitation and will require repair in order to resume flights.
EU donates €33 million to UNICEF, WFP
The European Union (EU), through its partnership with UNICEF and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), has granted EUR 33 million (1.8 billion birr) to restore education services and implement school feeding programs in conflict-affected areas in Ethiopia so that children can get back to learning.
In 10 conflict-affected regions, just over 8,500 schools have either been partially damaged or destroyed. In northern Ethiopia alone, over 1,500 schools are non-functional.
The education component implemented by UNICEF will include the rehabilitation of schools, reduce rates of school dropouts, and also scale up the “My Home-Bete” approach.
The funding will also support WFP’s efforts to provide nutritious school meals to 50,000 children across conflict-affected northern Ethiopia.
Overall, this support will benefit nearly 80,000 children, and 60 schools will be reconstructed or rehabilitated, which will enable them to provide nutritious school meals to 50,000 children in schools across conflict-affected Northern Ethiopia.
Pakistan, Ethiopia complete groundwork to open direct flights
The Ambassador of Ethiopia, Jemal Beker Abdula, informed the Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, about the groundwork completed by both governments for the opening of direct flights between Pakistan and Ethiopia.
“Ethiopian Airlines will soon be flying in Pakistan and will begin operations from Karachi in the first phase,” he said at a meeting.
Pakistan and Ethiopia also agreed to enhance collaboration between the two countries to address the challenges related to climate change.
During the meeting, both dignitaries reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations between Pakistan and Ethiopia and also discussed ways to enhance these ties by strengthening bilateral, regional, and multilateral cooperation.
The envoy briefed the foreign minister on the green legacy initiative and agreed to share his government’s experiences with Pakistan in order to ensure a green and prosperous future for the Pakistani people.
He also briefed Bhutto-Zardari about the business, trade, and investment opportunities in Ethiopia for Pakistani businessmen.
“Pakistan can import coffee, tea, pulses, oil seeds, and beans from Ethiopia, and likewise, surgery equipment, construction material, textiles, sugar, and pharmaceutical products can be exported to Ethiopian markets,” the envoy mentioned.
UN agency warns over cholera outbreak in Ethiopia as 20 deaths reported
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) warned about the ongoing cholera outbreak in south-eastern Ethiopia, where 20 deaths have been reported so far.
The UNOCHA said in its latest situation update issued Thursday that some 491 cholera cases, including 20 deaths, had been reported in the affected areas as of Wednesday.
The cholera outbreak has spread to 41 localities in four districts in the Bale zone of Oromia region and two districts in the Liban zone of Somali region, it said.
Close to 555,000 people are currently at high-risk of the ongoing cholera outbreak in the six affected districts, according to the UNOCHA.
Figures from UNOCHA show that the caseload of affected people has increased by 28 percent in the last two weeks, with new daily cases reported in Berbere, Gura Damole, and Quarsadula districts.
The Ethiopian Public Health Institute (EPHI), the Oromia and Somali regional health bureaus, the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and partners are presently supporting the scale-up of health as well as water, sanitation, and hygiene activities in priority areas.
Uganda sees downward trend in Ebola cases: Health Minister
Uganda has recorded a drop in the number of new Ebola cases, with some districts going for at least two weeks without registering new infections, Health Ministry officials said.
The development is a major sign the East African country is having some success in efforts to combat its latest outbreak of the deadly hemorrhagic fever disease, more than two months after it was declared.
Central Uganda’s Mubende district was where the outbreak was originally declared on September 20. It and another district, Kassanda, are considered the epicenters for the disease’s spread. Movement in and out of them has been restricted.
“We are seeing a downward trend in the number of cases,” Health Minister Jane Ruth Aceng said on the local NTV news service late on Wednesday, citing the absence of new cases in the two districts over many days.
A spokesperson for the health ministry, Emmanuel Ainebyoona, told Reuters that Mubende had gone for at least 16 days without a new case and that Kampala, the capital, had not recorded new infections for at least two weeks.
Tanzania begins rationing electricity due to drought
Tanzania has begun rationing electricity due to a drop in hydroelectric output after a severe drought, the national power company said, with some areas facing nine-hour blackouts.
The east African country can produce nearly 1,695 megawatts of power from hydroelectricity and natural gas, among other sources.
But it is currently facing a shortfall of 300 to 350 megawatts, said Maharage Chande, managing director of Tanesco, the national power company.
“There are two main reasons for the drop in production: a prolonged drought and ongoing maintenance of certain sites,” he told reporters.
For instance, the site of Kihansi, in the region of Morogoro (southeast), has seen its production capacity fall from 180 megawatts to only 17 megawatts.
Tanzania has been trying to increase its hydroelectricity production in recent years, thanks in particular to the controversial Julius Nyerere Dam in the Selous Reserve, which was supposed to produce around 2,100 megawatts.
Like its neighbors, the country has experienced low rainfall and a delayed rainy season, forcing authorities to impose water rationing in Dar es Salaam last month.
The situation is even more dramatic in Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia, which are facing the worst drought in decades.
Sudan records 26 deaths due to dengue fever
Sudanese health officials reported 26 deaths as a result of a dengue fever outbreak.
Montasir Mohamed Osman, head of the health emergency and epidemic control directorate at the Sudanese Health Ministry, said in a statement that 26 deaths, 462 confirmed cases, and 3,439 suspected cases of dengue fever have been recorded in nine states. Most of the cases were reported in North Kordofan, West Kordofan, and Northern Darfur.
The ministry has adopted necessary measures, including sending teams to combat the disease carrier in the states, providing medicines and blood, doing daily monitoring and investigation operations, and assigning a contact number for reports of infections and suspected cases, he added.
The United Nations announced that 1,068 cases of dengue fever have been reported in Sudan since October.
Dengue fever, with clinical symptoms of high fever, headache, aching joints and muscles, and even bleeding gums and nose when it turns severe, is a mosquito-borne infection found in tropical and subtropical regions around the world.
East African leaders demand immediate ceasefire in eastern DRC
Leaders from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, and other countries in East Africa have called for a ceasefire in the eastern DRC starting Friday evening, as well as the immediate withdrawal of the M23 rebel group.
Eastern DRC has been the scene of fierce fighting in recent months between Congolese troops and M23 rebels. The authorities in Kinshasa have accused Rwanda of aiding the rebels, a charge denied by Kigali.
At a summit in Angola’s capital Luanda this week, neighboring nations agreed to demand “the immediate withdrawal of M23 rebels from the occupied areas,” according to Angolan Foreign Minister Tete Antonio, who facilitated the talks.
The East African Community (EAC), of which Rwanda and the DRC are members, has promised to deploy a joint force to quell the violence. Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, South Sudan, and Tanzania are the other EAC nations.
The Luanda agreement warns the rebels that “if they refuse to disengage and liberate all zones which they currently occupy, the heads of state of the East African Community nations will instruct the regional force to use the means necessary to force them to surrender.”