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USG/ERC Griffiths concludes mission to Ethiopia

09 Nov 2021

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© UNICEF

The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths, concluded a four-day visit to Ethiopia yesterday. 

The humanitarian chief held constructive discussions with the Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demeke Mekonnen, on the humanitarian situation in the country and the challenges that aid organizations face in getting assistance to all Ethiopians in need. 

Mr. Griffiths also met with the African Union’s High Representative for the Horn of Africa, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in support of his efforts. In addition, he met with representatives of non-governmental organizations, UN agencies, donors and Member States to discuss efforts to provide assistance to millions of people in need across Ethiopia.

The humanitarian chief also made a one-day visit to Mekelle, in Tigray region, where he met with humanitarian partners and engaged with de facto authorities on the need for humanitarian access and protection of civilians through all areas under their control, and respect for humanitarian principles. He also met with women affected by the conflict, including survivors of sexual violence receiving help from a programme supported by the UN Population Fund.

During his four-day visit, Mr. Griffiths sought to address challenges related to the suspension of UN Humanitarian Air Service flights; the availability of fuel, cash and supplies; bureaucratic impediments, including visas for humanitarian staff; and the treatment of humanitarian personnel.

In addressing these challenges, Mr. Griffiths stressed that the UN, along with its humanitarian partners, will continue to work with the Government of Ethiopia and with local and international partners to support millions of people in need of urgent humanitarian assistance across the country.

The funding gap for the humanitarian response in Ethiopia for 2021 stands at more than US$1.3 billion. An estimated $606 million has been mobilized for response towards the Northern Ethiopia Response Plan, and $474 million for response towards the draft Humanitarian Response Plan, which covers areas outside Tigray. However, this is far from sufficient to cover the mounting humanitarian needs across the country.

Mr. Griffiths’s full statement is available online