Supervisor Elham AbolFateh
Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

UNICEF: 2.3 Mln Children in Tigray Need Humanitarian Assistance

Fri 20 Nov 2020 | 08:00 PM
Ahmed Moamar

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned on Friday that since the armed conflict broke out in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia, earlier this month, close to 30,000 people have sought refuge in neighboring Sudan.

The organization estimates that some 12,000 children – some of them without parents or relatives – are among those sheltering in camps and registration centers and are at risk.

Conditions for these children are extremely harsh.

"We are working with our partners to urgently provide much needed life-saving support, including health, nutrition, water, sanitation, hygiene services," the statement of UNICEF said.

More than 200,000 people are expected to cross the borders in the coming days and weeks, additional support is crucial for us to meet the rising needs.

Inside the Tigray region, restricted access and the ongoing communication blackout have left an estimated 2.3 million children in need of humanitarian assistance and out of reach.

Even before the current escalation, at least 54,000 children lived in refugee camps in the region and 36,000 were internally displaced by natural disasters and armed violence.

Thousands more have been displaced in the past few weeks.

The UNICEF  is particularly alarmed by malnutrition rates in the region. Acute malnutrition increased by one-third between 2019 and 2020 largely due to the desert locust infestation and COVID-19.

It is concerned that, without sustained humanitarian access, many more children will be at risk as malnutrition treatment supplies in the region will last only until December.

The UN body calls upon all parties to the conflict to allow humanitarian organizations urgent, unimpeded, and sustained access to all affected communities in order to reach children and families with life-saving assistance.

It recommends the international community to make every effort to keep children out of harm’s way, and to ensure that they are protected from recruitment and use in the conflict.

Children should also be protected from the risk of sexual and gender-based violence and not separated from their families.

The organization urges all parties of the conflict to refrain from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas and should protect essential civilian infrastructures such as schools, healthcare facilities,   water, and sanitation installations, UNICEF's statement stressed.