Gov’t Reaffirms Commitment to Working on Humanitarian Assistance, Rehabilitation of Tigray

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Addis Ababa June 3/2021 (ENA) The Government of Ethiopia is committed to working with different partners based on the guidelines principle in responding to the humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation of Tigray region, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Demeke Mekonnen said.

Diplomats, representatives of humanitarian assistance partners and UN agencies were briefed today on the ongoing humanitarian response and rehabilitation and other related issues in Tigray regional state.

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Demeke Mekonnen, Peace Minister Muferihat Kamil, Tigray Interim Administration Chief Executive Officer Abraham Belay, and Defense Minister Kenea Yadeta briefed the representatives.

During the occasion, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Demeke Mekonnen said there are different outstanding issues in Tigray, including humanitarian assistance and human rights.

According to him, many commendable achievements were made in the region. But there are still problems to be addressed.

Noting that the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Tigray is timely and critical, Demeke said the government is actively working in collaboration with Tigray Interim Administration and partners to respond to these crises.

“I think it is good to have a common understanding on what is happening on the ground. Simply denying the progress on the ground and echoing misinformation and unfounded facts will affect our intervention and proper actions on the ground,” he underlined.

Sensational campaigns are unacceptable and not constructive politically, morally and legally, the deputy premier said, adding that there are some organizations moving in these directions.

Peace Minister Muferihat Kamil said on her part that food and non-food items were delivered to 4.5 million beneficiaries in the first round of humanitarian assistance, while 4.9 million beneficiaries obtained food and non-food items in the second and third rounds.

She stressed that security concerns in some areas, financial and material resource constraints and disinformation are the main challenges faced in addressing effectively the problems in the regional state.

According to her, the agricultural activities in the region are well underway and the government is providing seeds and equipment for 1.2 million farmers engaged in cultivating the land.

Some 70 percent of the 950,000 hectares of farmland being developed by small-scale farmers every year in Tigray has now been prepared for the upcoming rainy crop season, Muferihat said.

The minister added that some factories in the region, including textile and cement factories, have already started operation.

Tigray Interim Administration Chief Executive Officer, Abraham Belay said activities have been intensified in providing humanitarian assistance and reconstruction and other related issues in the region.

“At the beginning there were challenges in distributing and getting to the locations where the needy people lived. There was no problem in bringing the supplies to the capital Mekelle. But distributing them to the beneficiaries was a problem. These days this problem is resolved by working in cooperation with partners participating in the distribution process,” he added.

In this regard, there is progress in the supply and distribution process, according to Abraham.

Recalling the presence of over 100 humanitarian assistance partners and UN agencies in the region, the CEO revealed that the “support that we are getting is not fulfilling our requirement. Because to start government services we need to have at least the minimum equipment required.”

He called on all humanitarian assistance partners, NGOs and UN agencies to scale up support to IDPs and for building shelters as well as other related assistance.

Defense Minister Kenea Yadeta said his ministry is working to help all humanitarian assistance organizations access even rural areas by coordinating all sectors and collaborating with Tigray Interim Administration.

Speaking about respecting human rights, he noted that “Ethiopia has no space for any impunity. For example, we have taken measures against 60 soldiers who engaged in raping and human rights violation. The ministry is highly committed to bringing to justice all members of the army suspected of violating human rights.”

“If we are to support the Ethiopian government to address these, partners should take real data. Otherwise, we will be biased,” he underscored.

Some representatives of the humanitarian agencies expressed their appreciation for the update on the situation in Tigray and asked the government to enhance its commitment to addressing problems as well as to protect civilians.

Some 202 representatives of UN agencies, international NGOs, including 8 international media, are currently in Tigray Region, it was learned.