Daily press briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 8 September 2022 – Ukraine, Ethiopia – Ukraine
On Ukraine, Humanitarian Coordinator Denise Brown and World Food Program (WFP) Ukraine Emergency Coordinator Matthew Hollingworth today condemned an attack that took place yesterday that killed and injured civilians queuing for aid in the small village of Mala Tokmashka, Zaporizka Oblast. Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that the affected center had been used by local authorities to distribute aid to civilians since the start of the war. When it was hit yesterday, food, hygiene kits and other supplies were being distributed. We send our deepest condolences to the bereaved families and wish a speedy recovery to the injured. It goes without saying that civilian infrastructure, including facilities where assistance is provided, should never be targeted.
On the response front, earlier this week on Monday we, together with our humanitarian colleagues, delivered a new convoy of 65 metric tons of relief items for people living in settlements close to the front lines in the Donetska region. The six-truck convoy brought food, water, medical and hygiene kits and tarpaulins that will cover the immediate needs of more than 5,000 people in approximately four towns. Across Ukraine, nearly 13 million people have received essential humanitarian assistance since this phase of the war began earlier this year. But, only about 1 million people have received assistance in non-government controlled areas, and that continues to be a big challenge for us. We are continuing our negotiations to ensure that we seek free and unhindered access so that we can support people on both sides of the frontline.
With regard to Ethiopia, in connection with the conflict in Ukraine, the first humanitarian shipment of World Food Program grains from Ukraine, delivered under the Black Sea Grains Initiative, has started to arrive in Ethiopia. As you will recall, the MV Brave Commander arrived in Djibouti on August 30, and it was one of the ships that the Secretary-General was able to see in the Bosphorus. According to the WFP, the cereals will help more than 1.5 million people displaced by drought and conflict for one month. Cereals are currently being unloaded at the main WFP warehouse in Adama town and will be distributed in the coming weeks. Conflict, drought and rising costs are driving food insecurity across Ethiopia. With 20 million people in need of food assistance in Ethiopia, the World Food Program says supply chain stability is essential to its work.
Still on Ethiopia, our humanitarian colleagues tell us that the fighting in the north of the country continues to affect vulnerable people and the delivery of aid. In parts of the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions, tens of thousands of people are believed to be displaced by fighting and insecurity. There has been no humanitarian convoy movement to Tigray since 23 August. This prevents the delivery of supplies, including additional fertilizer for the next planting season. Bi-weekly United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) flights between Addis Ababa and Mekelle have also been suspended since 25 August. In Tigray, we continue to distribute available fertilizers and other aid as much as we can.
On a positive note, our partners were able to reach a site hosting displaced people in Benishangul Gumuz region, western Ethiopia, for the first time in over a year. They provided water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, shelter, emergency medical supplies, dignity kits and other items. In eastern and southern Ethiopia, drought continues, with more than 16 million people targeted for humanitarian assistance. In Ethiopia, more than 8 million drought-affected people have received food assistance this year.