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Ethiopia’s restive Tigray: Relief agencies regain access to refugee camps

The UN Refugee Agency, and its partners said they have regained access to the Mai Aini and Adi Harush camps…

The UN Refugee Agency, and its partners said they have regained access to the Mai Aini and Adi Harush camps for Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s troubled Tigray region.Violent clashes in the area had prevented UNHCR staff from reaching the camps since 13 July, UNHCR said Wednesday in a statement.

 At least six Eritrean refugees were killed late last month allegedly by the rebel Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) as Eritrean forces took control of border areas in Tigray based on the Ethio-Eritrea border commission 23 years ago.

The delivery of urgently needed assistance restarted on 5 August for the 23,000 Eritrean refugees in both camps.

 However, access is limited by a complex and fluid security situation and refugees continue to face dire conditions. 

Basic services such as healthcare remain unavailable, and clean drinking water is running out. 

UNHCR is calling for safe passage which will allow refugees from Mai Aini and Adi Harush to be moved to the new site in Alemwach, near Dabat town, some 135 kilometers away.

 In the past week, humanitarian access into Tigray has improved and UNHCR staff and 12 trucks carrying emergency aid have reached Mekelle, the region’s capital.

UNHCR said unhindered access into Tigray and throughout the region must be ensured by all parties to the conflict, to allow its workers and their partners to deliver and scale up life-saving humanitarian assistance and protection to tens of thousands in dire need of urgent support, the statement said.

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