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Daily Noon Briefing Highlights: Ethiopia - Pakistan

07 Oct 2021


World Food Programme food distribution in northern Ethiopia. © WFP/Claire Nevill 

Daily Noon Briefing Highlights – 7 October 2021


As the Secretary-General highlighted to the Security Council yesterday, the humanitarian catastrophe in northern Ethiopia is growing increasingly urgent, with up to 7 million people in need of food and other assistance across Tigray, Afar and Amhara. This includes more than 5 million people in need in Tigray, including 400,000 people estimated to be in famine-like conditions.

Our humanitarian colleagues report that the delivery of humanitarian supplies to Tigray remains heavily constrained via the only road access route through Afar (Semera-Abala-Mekelle corridor). During the past week, 80 trucks arrived in Tigray carrying food, nutrition and other assistance. But humanitarian partners estimate that 100 trucks must enter Tigray every day to meet the needs on the ground. And much-needed fuel and medicine have not been allowed since July.

A second flight by the European Union’s Humanitarian Air Bridge also arrived yesterday, carrying 10.6 tons of cargo, including nutrition supplies. While this is welcome, it represents a small fraction of the supplies needed. 

The lack of commercial supplies arriving to Tigray has also led to severe shortages of essential commodities in markets. Recent rapid market surveys in Mekelle and Shire show that prices of essential commodities have significantly increased since mid-June, making them unaffordable for most of the population. Cooking oil, for example, has increased by 433 per cent in Mekelle and 220 per cent in Shire.

Even with significantly reduced capacity due to the depletion of supplies, fuel and cash, humanitarian partners have continued to respond to some of the urgent needs in Tigray, including with food, nutrition and water assistance, and scaled up the response in Amhara and Afar. Since August, partners have provided food assistance to more than 440,000 people in Amhara and about 72,000 people in Afar. 

As the Secretary-General highlighted yesterday, the scale of needs makes last Thursday’s announcement by the Government of Ethiopia to expel seven senior UN officials – most of them humanitarian staff – particularly disturbing. The Secretary-General has called on Ethiopian authorities to allow UN humanitarian organizations to conduct their work without hindrance and to facilitate and enable our work with the urgency that this situation demands.   


OCHA reports that an earthquake of magnitude 5.9 on the Richter scale struck near Harnai in Balochistan Province at 03.00 local time, with the epicentre at a depth of 15 kilometres. 

As of 11 a.m. NY time, according to the Provincial Emergency Operation Center of Balochistan, there have been 20 deaths and more than 300 people have been injured. The Pakistan Red Crescent Society reported 41 deaths as of 4 p.m. local time, and these numbers are expected to rise. 

More than 100 houses are estimated to have been completely damaged and almost all homes in the area sustained minor damages. The main source of electricity is out, but there are no reports of disruptions to water or phone connections so far. 

Government and partners rescue teams have been deployed to the affected areas and the authorities are distributing food for 500 households. The extent of the damage is still being assessed and more details are to follow. 

The UN is engaging with the National Disaster Management Authority, which has indicated that they do not expect to request international assistance, as well as the Balochistan Provincial Disaster Management Authority.