Fuel Blockade Halts Humanitarian Efforts In Tigray

Water And Food Severely Affected

24 Feb 2022 by The Water Diplomat

Humanitarian access to Ethiopia’s Tigray regional state has been severely hampered since August 2021 due to the government’s de facto blockade of fuel. In addition shortages of cash have seriously hindered the humanitarian response.

An international group, reporting anonymously for fear of government retribution, has reported: “Fuel intensive operations, such as water trucking and moving of supplies, are becoming impossible. Water trucking operations will have to be suspended very soon if more fuel is not brought in, which will have significant humanitarian consequences."

Living across 131 sites, about 418,000 Ethiopians displaced within the region need water trucking that requires 295 trips daily and 1,990 liters of fuel. On Feb. 10, it was reported that in the span of a week, water trucking dropped from serving over 143,000 people to just a little over 3,000.

"We are getting to a critical point, where there's literally nothing left,” said an another anonymous aid worker. The World Health Organization has reported that what aid is allowed into the region cannot be distributed due to the lack of fuel.

Aid groups and international agencies are not able to verify the number of affected people due to the continuing violence and lack of access to the region. The World Food Programme estimates that 40% of those in Tigray are experiencing “an extreme lack of food.” Some estimates suggest that tens of thousands have died in the violence, millions have been internally displaced, and dozens of thousands have sought refuge in Sudan.

The European Commission has allocated $50 Million USD for humanitarian projects in Ethiopia in 2022. This aid will focus on internally displaced people and those affected by conflict and drought. Efforts are directed at food aid, safe water and protection and are delivered in cooperation with the Ethiopia Ministry of Health and World Health Organizatio (WHO).