Geneva: With the escalating violence in northern Ethiopia, the UN relief chief opened discussions on with officials on aid needs for about 20 million people.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths met first with government leaders, reports Xinhua news agency.
The Office said Griffiths, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, had constructive talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen.
They discussed the humanitarian situation in the country and the challenges that aid organisations face in getting assistance to all Ethiopians in need.
Federal and local authorities severely limit or block aid delivery because of security concerns, humanitarians said.
Some villagers block humanitarian shipments through their regions, first demanding aid for themselves.
Griffiths also planned meetings for Saturday with representatives of non-governmental aid partners of the world body and members of the diplomatic community to discuss efforts to assist millions of people in need.
About 20 million people across the country, including 7 million directly affected by the conflict in northern Ethiopia, are targeted for aid, OCHA said.
In the past year, the Tigray conflict has spread into the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara.
The government recently started airstrikes centred on targets in and around Mekelle, the capital of the Tigray region.
The humanitarians said that conflict, drought, flooding, disease outbreaks, and desert locust infestation continue to drive humanitarian needs across the country.
The 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan for Ethiopia has a funding gap of more than $1.3 billion, OCHA said.
The northern Ethiopia response plan mobilised about $606 million.
The aid office said a $474 million budget for the draft Humanitarian Response Plan, covering areas outside Tigray, is far from sufficient to cover mounting humanitarian needs.
photo source: IANS