Ethiopia authorities said that humanitarian flights are allowed to its northern Tigray region amid concerns that aid is not reaching people facing famine, but the civil aviation head and UN say no such flights had yet left the capital.
Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed’s government declared a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire last week from the battle it had with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) since.
“Since Monday July 5, 2021, the Federal government has granted flight permission for all interested parties to provide humanitarian services in Tigray region,” authorities said on Twitter.
But Wesenyeleh Hunegnaw, director-general of the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority, said no such flights had taken off from Addis Ababa this week.
“It (permission) has to be processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and then has to come to us. So far, we have received nothing from MFA, and no flight has departed from Addis Ababa to Mekelle.
“Unfortunately, no flights have yet been able to travel directly from Addis Ababa to Mekelle or (the northern town of) Shire this week,” OCHA’s Guiomar Pau Sole said. “However, we are following up with all relevant actors to ensure that direct flights are able to operate as soon as possible, in light of this announcement,” the UN humanitarian agency OCHA in a brief statement said.
According to the United Nations on Friday, food shortage has worsened dramatically over the past two weeks with some estimated 400,000 people experiencing famine and another 1.8 million on the brink of famine.