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News: IDP camp sheltering over 54,000 civilians in Abiy Addi, central Tigray, severely hit by food, medicine scarcity

Internally displaced civilians sheltered in Abiy Addi IDP camp. Photo: Provided to Addis Standard from sources on the ground

By Mihret G/kristos@MercyG_kirstos

Addis Abeba – More than 54, 000 civilians who were internally displaced during the two years war in Tigray region and are sheltered at an IDP camp in Abiy Adi, central Tigray, are severely suffering due to shortage of food and medicine supplies, according to local officials.

Welday G/Maryam, head of social affairs office of Abiy Addi town, told Addis Standard that huge number of IDPs from East, North, Central, and West Tigray and sheltered in Abiy Addi, some 101 km from the capital Mekelle, are suffering from hunger and medical problems.

The civilians who have settled in schools and vocational collages are in a severe situation due to lack of humanitarian aid and shortage of drugs, Welday said, adding that there is only one hospital and one clinic in the town to provide health services with scarce medical supply.

Ametechael Ayinekulu, 45, was displaced from Kafta Humera city. She was first displaced to Shiraro and when things got worse she went to Abiy Addi three months ago with her six children and is sheltered at Abiy Adi vocational college.

Children inside Abiy Addi IDP camp. Photo: Provided to Addis Standard from sources on the ground

“I came and registered as a refugee here three months ago but no one has given me any humanitarian aid since then and I have been begging all over the city to feed my children,” she said.

She told Addis Standard that although she came along with here children to Abi Adi expecting to get better humanitarian aid, she didn’t receive anything so far.

“Besides, I have been worrying about my husband and my elder son whom I left in Shiraro during the war for I couldn’t know their whereabouts,” she added.

According to Welday, the total number of IDPs in Abiy Addi were 79,350, but following the peace deal and due to lack of sufficient humanitarian aid, some of the IDPs have decided to go to other cities in the region.

Weletensay Gebrselassie, 76, was displaced from Werda Tsegede when the war broke out, and settled in Shire for a year before finally moving to Abiy Addi.

“I was in Shire for a year, after the war was aggravated there I traveled on foot for eight days to get to Abiy Addi and I was eating leaves as there was no any food,” he told Addis Standard.

“I have lost all my property due to the war; I only saved myself. I [am separated] from my family too. But there is nothing here, no medicine, no food, and no treatments,” said Weletensay.

“Although the humanitarian aid is expected to be delivered once every month, the refugees are suffering,” Welday said, adding that, “what we distribute to the people has not been enough”.

Despite efforts by nongovernmental organizations to support the people, there are lots of people that they couldn’t reach all, Welday added.

Debretsion Gebremichael, leader of Tigray region, said that humanitarian aid was trickling into the region, where more than 6.5 million people are still in desperate need of help; regional Tigray TV quoted him as saying that people of Tigray are dying on a daily basis due to lack of medicines and medical equipment.

During the 5th ordinary meeting of the 6th term of the Tigray Regional Council held yesterday Debretsion emphasized that IDPs who were displaced from every corner of Tigray should have been returned to their homes according to the peace deal. He said that, “no important step has been taken yet”.

The UN said by late December, 20 organizations had delivered more than 100,000 tonnes of food and more than ten tonnes of non-food items to Tigray, including medical supplies.

According to the latest report by the UNOCHA, distribution of humanitarian supplies to affected communities is ongoing “where possible”. and “efforts to provide assistance in hard-to-reach areas such as Adiet, Asgede, Hitsats, Neadier, Mai-Tsebri/Tselemti and Zana, where humanitarian conditions are dire, are being explored.” Some partners have already started humanitarian operations in some of these areas, including Asgede and Zana, as well as in Shiraro and Tahitay Adiabo, the UN said. AS

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