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Civilians in Tigray, Ethiopia face conflict, disruption of services: UN
November 12,2020   By:Xinhua
UNITED NATIONS, Nov.12,2020 -- The United Nations and partners in the Tigray area of Ethiopia are working to protect civilians in the face of conflict, the disruption of banking, communications and supplies, a UN spokesman said on Wednesday.
 
More than 200,000 refugees and internally displaced persons in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan plus the local population in Ethiopia's northernmost region are of major concern, said Stephane Dujarric, spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. There also is concern for local populations in host communities next to the camps.
 
"The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) remains concerned about the ongoing tensions in the Tigray region and their impact on civilians," he said. "The UN along with partners is working with the authorities to ensure the protection of civilians and humanitarian workers, continued access to people in need of assistance and availability of funding given increasing needs."
 
"We urge governments in the neighboring countries to keep their borders open for people forced to flee from their homes," the spokesman said.
 
Some of those displacements could be secondary, with internally displaced and refugees forced to move again.
 
More than 7,000 people fleeing hostilities in Tigray over the last two days went into Sudan, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), which expects more refugees in other neighboring countries.
 
Within Ethiopia, UNHCR is very concerned for the more than 96,000 Eritreans living in refugee camps, in host communities alongside the camps and the 100,000 people in Tigray who had been internally displaced before the latest hostilities between local authorities and the Addis Ababa government erupted last week.
 
Communications in Tigray continue to be disrupted, Dujarric said. There are reports of intermittent electricity supply and shortages of basic commodities such as flour and fuel.
 
"Banks remain closed and the shortage of available cash is becoming much more acute," he said. "The closure of banks and inaccessibility to the region hamper our humanitarian operations including the traditional humanitarian cash transfers to 1 million people."
 
Humanitarian workers in Tigray have just one month of fuel supply to run water pumps for 90,000 refugees, OCHA said. Various supplies for several programs also are running low.
 
The humanitarian office said it is finalizing an emergency relief response plan for Ethiopia and the UN country teams in Eritrea, Sudan and Djibouti are working on contingency aid plans.