United Nations, Sep 18 (IANS) The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said they were working not only to get more relief convoys into Ethiopia's conflict-hit Tigray region but also to get empty delivery trucks out.
"The UN is urgently engaging with all parties, including transporters and local authorities in Tigray, to make sure any logistical issues that may be preventing the trucks from leaving Tigray are resolved, at the same time as working to make additional trucks available for the aid operation," the OCHA said.
In the latest obstacle to humanitarian operations in Ethiopia's northernmost area, the office said some trucks that successfully got into embattled Tigray face challenges returning for more loads of aid cargo.
Drivers reluctant to take to the road back fear for their safety or are short on fuel, OCHA said.
Many trucks, mostly vehicles from private companies contracted by the World Food Programme and other agencies, have not returned, the humanitarians said.
"This is further impacting our ability to send relief items into the region."
Escalation of the 10-month-old conflict, which has expanded beyond Tigray and into Afar and Amhara to the south, is causing needs to rise rapidly, OCHA said.
Some 100 trucks need to enter Tigray daily to meet the needs.
The Office said that some relief items were delivered to Tigray while others denied passage. The blocked cargo included life-saving medicine, biscuits, fuel and cash for humanitarian operations.
The UN acknowledged the commitments of Ethiopian federal and Afar regional authorities to reduce the number of checkpoints on the route, facilitate access and ensure that all humanitarian cargo enter Tigray.
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