UN chief Antonio Guterres says aid and flights to Ethiopia’s Tigray region have resumed

Country's year-long war against forces from the Tigray region goes on

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More than 150 lorries carrying food and humanitarian aid have arrived in Tigray’s capital Mekele for the first time in more than six weeks, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has said.

Another aid convoy will be sent soon, he said.

UN flights between the city and Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa have also restarted as the government’s year-long war against forces from the Tigray region continues.

Flights were suspended on October 22 after government air strikes forced a humanitarian flight carrying 11 passengers to abandon its landing in Mekele.

Tigray has not received badly needed aid, including food, medicine and fuel, since the Ethiopian military began carrying out air strikes on Mekele on October 18.

Little aid was entering Tigray before that, with the UN saying that only 15 per cent of lorries had crossed into the region since mid-July.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the region face famine under what the UN has called a “de facto humanitarian blockade".

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said none of the 157 lorries that reached Mekele carried fuel, which is essential to deliver humanitarian aid.

But Mr Guterres called the resumption of aid deliveries to Tigray and the resumption of UN flights “a good signal”.

He said there was also “a small hint of hope” that they might lead to a “more positive attitude for dialogue” between the warring parties.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since November 2020, when a political rift between the Tigray forces that long dominated the national government and the current administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed erupted in fighting.

Tigray forces in recent months have retaken the northern region and brought the fighting into the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions.

The government declared a state of emergency in November as Tigray fighters moved closer to Addis Ababa. The UN said more than two million people had been displaced overall.

Updated: December 02, 2021, 4:37 AM