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Hundreds of thousands unable to get health service in Tigray

80% of health centers are not functional

Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians living in Tigray are still unable to get medical services and are still left without adequate access to essential medicines and basic attention, the latest humanitarian update of UNOCHA indicated.

While the health system in the region is at the verge of collapse, only three of 11 hospitals in the Region are functional, while 80 percent of health centers and facilities are not functional, the UN body said.

Last week, several leaders of governments in Europe and the US as well as international agencies expressed their concerns over the security situation in Tigray and have asked the government to ensure humanitarian needs of the people in the region are being met.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) held discussion with the new US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and French President Emmanuel Macron, while Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopia’s Deputy PM and Foreign Minister, explained the measures being taken to reconstruct and rehabilitate Tigray.

Meanwhile, international agencies are warning that the humanitarian situation across the region is extremely alarming and has continued to deteriorate rapidly.

“The lack of humanitarian access due to insecurity and bureaucratic obstacles has prevented aid workers from providing life-saving assistance to people affected by the conflict,” UNOCHA said.

With the volatility and unpredictable nature of the security situation in the region, reports indicate that there are still ongoing clashes in Tigray.

The UN body said “Violence against civilians, including killings, abductions, forced return of refugees and internally displaced people, and sexual and gender based violence continue to be reported across Tigray.” But verifying such reports has proved to be difficult since humanitarian partners and the media have not been able to have full access to the Western, Central, Eastern, North Western, South and South Eastern parts of the region.

Three days ago, the Secretary-General voiced serious concerns over the situation in Ethiopia's Tigray, reiterating the need for urgent steps to alleviate the humanitarian situation and extend the necessary protections to those at risk.

During a visit to Ethiopia, Executive Director of the World Food Program, Filippo Grandi also described the situation in Tigray as “extremely grave.”

“People need all possible forms of support: food items, non-food items, medicine, clean water, shelter [and] the closure of the banking system and the telecommunication system have added to the hardship of thousands of people,” he said at a press conference in Addis Ababa on Monday, before leaving the country.

Humanitarian Access is open to people living in the towns along the main road from Alamata to Adigrat, and further to Shire, all of which is under the control of the Federal Government forces, according to UNOCHA. “As access to the countryside is mostly blocked, no humanitarian assistance is taking place in non-government-controlled areas,” it added.