The primary NGO support convoy arrives within the capital of the Ethiopian area of Tigray
© Reuters. Ethiopians move to Sudan to flee fighting and to settle in Um-Rakoba camp in Al-Qadarif state
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) – The first non-state aid convoy since fighting broke out last month has arrived in the capital of the Ethiopian northern region of Tigray, carrying urgently needed medicines and other items, the international Red Cross said on Saturday.
The government restricted access to the region after fighting began on November 4 between the government and a rebel regional force. In Africa's second largest nation, the conflict is believed to have killed thousands of people and displaced around 950,000.
The United Nations and other organizations could not provide assistance despite the government claiming to have sent food and other relief supplies.
The convoy of seven white trucks that arrived in the city of Mekelle was organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Ethiopian Red Cross, the ICRC said.
Health facilities in Mekelle are paralyzed after supplies of drugs and other medical items such as surgical gloves have been used up, the ICRC said. Ayder Hospital, the main referral hospital in the region, had to close its intensive care unit and operating theater due to the lack and inability to operate the generator.
"Doctors and nurses have been … weeks with no new supplies, running water or electricity," said Patrick Youssef, ICRC regional director for Africa. "This medical delivery will add inventory, benefit patients, and reduce impossible triage decisions to life and death."
The government says it defeated forces loyal to the region's formerly ruling Tigray People & # 39; s Liberation Front (TPLF) and reached an agreement with the United Nations to allow aid.
However, some aid agencies and donors say the agreement is too restrictive and security remains an issue. A United States security team was shot dead last weekend.
Almost 50,000 refugees have come to East Sudan since the beginning of November. Almost 15,000 people are in the Um Rakuba camp, where long lines with plates in hand waited for food and newcomers built shelters with branches.
"We don't have enough food or accommodation here, but I'm too scared to go back," said Tewelo Gabrageres, 35-year-old trader.
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