For the first time in 20 weeks, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Wednesday said it made its first delivery of medical supplies into war-hit Mekelle, the capital of Tigray, Ethiopia.
“We’ve just delivered lifesaving medical supplies into Mekelle, #Tigray, for the first time since September. We work on organising other flights carrying medical assistance in the coming days and weeks”, ICRC said in a twitter post.
The news is a rare glimmer of hope for Tigray, which continues to suffer from shortages of essential supplies, 15 months into the conflict.
“It is a huge relief that this first shipment is reaching hospitals,” said Apollo Barasa, health coordinator at the ICRC delegation in Ethiopia. “This assistance is a lifeline for thousands of people, and I can’t emphasise enough how crucial it is that these deliveries continue.”
The plane delivered urgently needed supplies including essential drugs that will be distributed to the region’s health facilities. There are plans to arrange more flights in the coming days, as well as send convoys by road, the relief agency said.
Renewed fighting along the border between the Tigray and Afar regions may further complicate the delivery of aid by road.
“The ICRC reminds all parties to the conflict that they must facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance to those who need it most”, Barasa said.
The World Health Organisation recently said it had not been allowed to send medical supplies to Tigray since May last year.