A convoy carrying desperately needed humanitarian aid arrived in the capital of the restive Tigray region in northern Ethiopia this past weekend, the UN reported on Thursday.

The 27 trucks delivered nearly 1,000 metric tonnes of food and other essential items to the city of Mekelle, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told journalists in New York.

This was the fourth humanitarian convoy to reach Tigray since the transportation of aid resumed at the beginning of April, following more than three months of interruption.

Critical operations expanded​

Since then, 169 trucks have reached Tigray, transporting some 4,300 metric tonnes of supplies.

Mr. Dujarric said food and other aid has been dispatched from the regional capital Mekelle, to priority areas across Tigray for onward distribution, while fuel that has recently arrived is allowing for critical humanitarian operations to be expanded.

“The rate at which aid is arriving into Tigray, however, remains a small fraction of what is needed. Essential services including electricity, communications networks and banking services, remain largely cut off,” he said. 

Urgent scale-up needed​

The UN and its partners continue to work with the authorities to urgently scale up deliveries of relief supplies, including seed and fertilizer ahead of the critical summer planting season.  

The deadly conflict between Ethiopian troops and local defence forces in Tigray broke out in November 2020, after months of rising tension.

Fighting has spilled over into neighbouring regions and caused wide displacement across northern Ethiopia and into Sudan.

 Mr. Dujarric said the UN is also working with authorities to expand much-needed assistance in areas of two affected regions in the north, Afar and Amhara. 

Over the past week, food partners reached some 56,000 people in Amhara. Since late December, more than 10 million people have received food assistance from the Government, the UN, or aid partners.