Mr. Martin Griffiths makes assumption about famine situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia and an insinuation that the Ethiopian government can do something about “de-facto blockade”
United Nations aid chief, Martin Griffiths, on Tuesday said the humanitarian blockade to the Tigray region is “… man-made, this can be remedied by the act of government.”
He said so in an interview with Reuters.
Mr. Griffiths made assumptions that there is a famine in the Tigray region of Ethiopia due to what he called “de-facto blockade.” He didn’t, however, talk about the parts of Amhara region under the control of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) forces where more than 4.5 million people are believed to be facing a famine like situation, according to local sources which the regional government confirmed.
The Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Nations seems to have dismissed the claim of “de-facto blockade” of aid to the Tigray region. Reuters quoted Ethiopia’s U.N. mission in New York as saying, “any claim on the existence of blockade is baseless.”
The mission added, “faced shortage in trucks as a result of the non-return of almost all trucks that traveled to Tigray to deliver aid.”
Last week, an ethnic Tigray journalist, Hermela Aregawi, revealed leaked information that pro-TPLF supporters do not want aid to reach Tigary as that would be good for the image of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.
She tweeted, “Pro-TPLF Tigreans in the diaspora “don’t want aid to get to people because it will make @AbiyAhmedAli Government look good.”
Initially critical of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government in connection with what is presented as a “crisis” in Tigray, she could not conceal that her perspective is changing. she said, “My perspective on Tigray evolved bc of inconsistencies I’ve seen & heard in 10+ mnths. I stayed quiet for mnths hoping to see a shift towards peace & truth bc lives of millions – including my families’ – depend on it. “
In light of growing skepticism, if not distaste, towards multilateral institutions like the United Nations and the state actors like the United States, in Ethiopia, Martin Griffiths’ latest remark in connection with aid blockade is likely to generate harsh criticism. He avoided talking about what TPLF has been doing to obstruct aid delivery.
The United Nations Branch office in Ethiopia earlier this month admitted that only 38 of 466 aid trucks that entered the Tigray region since July 12 did return from the region.
Video footage that emerged in social media showed aid trucks being used for TPLF military operations in the Amhara and Afar regions of Ethiopia.
Mr. Martin visited Ethiopia in July this year. He spent days in Tigray.
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