NEW YORK (November 20, 2020) – “Since armed conflict broke out in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia earlier this month, close to 30,000 people have sought refuge in neighboring Sudan. UNICEF 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, and hygiene services. With more than 200,000 people expected to cross 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. Read more: https://www.unicefusa.org/press/releases/23-million-children-tigray-region-ethiopia-need-humanitarian-assistance-thousands

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Washington, DC (CNN)The US has condemned Eritrea and Ethiopia for coordinating their troops to close off a key aid route to Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region, following an exclusive CNN investigation published earlier this week that found that Eritrean soldiers were blocking critical humanitarian aid to starving and wounded civilians. In a statement on Saturday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken demanded Eritrea and Ethiopia “take all necessary steps to ensure that their forces in Tigray cease and desist this reprehensible conduct.” “The continued presence of Eritrean forces in Tigray further undermines Ethiopia’s stability and national unity. We again call upon the Government of Eritrea to remove its forces from Tigray,” Blinken added. Blinken — who has repeatedly called for the withdrawal of Eritrean and Ethiopian regional forces from the Tigray region, unfettered humanitarian access and an independent investigation into the human rights abuses being committed — also called Saturday for a cease in violence to allow for humanitarian assistance for those suffering. “The United States condemns the conduct of forces that continue to carry out atrocities and hinder the distribution of critical humanitarian assistance in Tigray. Those responsible must be held to account,” Blinked said on Twitter Saturday. Read more:…

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“There is no clear end in sight” to the conflict, said agency spokesperson James Elder, after returning from a visit the northern Ethiopian region. Worst fearsHe said more than a million people were displaced, noting that fighting was continuing, and security remained a major issue. UNICEF had been “concerned from the onset about the harm that this is going to cause children, and unfortunately such fears are being realized.” The conflict is the result of months of escalating tensions between the Ethiopian Government and the dominant regional force, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which culminated in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordering a military offensive after rebels attacked a federal army base. Within days, militias from the neighbouring Amhara region had joined the fray, reportedly followed by some troops from neighbouring Eritrea – a long-time rival of Tigray. According to the Government, the region had been secured by the end of November, however TPLF resistance has continued, amid accusations of extrajudicial killings and rights abuses on all sides.  Child victimsMr. Elder underscored the impact on women and girls, characterizing it as a “protection crisis”. He added: “What is really emerging now is a disturbing picture of severe and ongoing child…

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“While there has been substantial improvement in humanitarian access, active hostilities have been reported in the north-western, central, eastern, south-eastern and southern zones”, Stéphane Dujarric told correspondents at a regular press briefing.  Following months of escalating tensions between the Ethiopian Government and the dominant regional force, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive after rebels attacked a federal army base. Within days, militias from the neighbouring Amhara region had joined the fray, reportedly followed by some troops from neighbouring Eritrea – a long-time rival of Tigray. According to government forces, the region had been secured by the end of November, however TPLF resistance has continued amid accusations of extrajudicial killings and rights abuses on all sides.  Read more: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/04/1089282

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NEW YORK (March 19, 2021) – “UNICEF remains deeply concerned about the continuing crisis in Tigray, Ethiopia, and its worrying implications for children and their access to basic social services. “Five months since the start of the conflict, a clearer picture is emerging of killings and sexual violence against women and children in Tigray. The reported murder of at least 20 children at Maryam Dengelat Church last November will continue to haunt families and communities. “Schools and health centers have been looted, vandalized and occupied by armed forces and groups. Organizations on the ground have reported deliberate attacks on health facilities and warned that the limited health services that are functional are unable to cope with the needs. “According to assessments conducted at the end of February 2021, violence and looting have left nearly 60 percent of health care facilities not operational. Some 57 percent of boreholes in 13 towns surveyed are not functional and a quarter of the region’s schools have sustained damage from the conflict. “Families continue to flee for their lives. Read more: https://www.unicefusa.org/press/releases/continuing-crisis-children-tigray-ethiopia-amid-reports-atrocities/38361

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In a statement UNICEF said it was ‘deeply concerned’ that in the five months since fighting began between forces loyal to regional power brokers the TPLF, and national Government troops, children’s access to basic social services is being eroded. “Schools and health centres have been looted, vandalised and occupied by armed forces and groups”, Executive Director Henrietta Fore said. Attacks on health centres“Organisations on the ground have reported deliberate attacks on health facilities and warned that the limited health services that are functional are unable to cope with the needs.” An assessment carried out at the end of February, found that violence and looting have left nearly 60 per cent of health care facilities unable to operate. Boreholes in 13 towns were surveyed with over half unable to function. A quarter of the region’s schools also sustained damage from the conflict. Since November UNICEF said a clearer picture has emerged of killings and sexual violence against women and children in Tigray. “The reported murder of at least 20 children at Maryam Dengelat Church last November will continue to haunt families and communities”, said Fore. Read more: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/03/1087842

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ADDIS ABABA / NAIROBI / GENEVA / NEW YORK (February 12, 2021) – As more supplies and emergency personnel reach crisis-affected people in Tigray, an incomplete but troubling picture is emerging of severe and ongoing harm to children. Between February 4 and 7, a UNICEF team accompanied by the Regional Health Bureau Head traveled from Mekelle to the town of Shire in Central Tigray, with six trucks filled with 122 tons of emergency supplies. This was the first UN mission to Shire since the conflict erupted on November 4, 2020. Home to about 170,000 residents, Shire now hosts at least 52,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), and more arrived on each day of the mission. There was no drinking water, as the town’s water treatment plant is not functioning, so UNICEF and ICRC are trucking water to residents and IDPs. Many IDPs are sheltering at schools, none of which are operational. Conditions at the displacement sites are dire – the few toilets are broken, there are no showers, and there is very little safe water. Many families were separated as they fled, and there were many unaccompanied or separated children among the IDPs. Many families reported deep psychosocial distress and said…

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