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The Aftermath of Conflict in Tigray Can Still Be Felt

The U.N. refugee agency reports thousands of Eritrean refugees trapped by fighting in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray province are in desperate need of food and other essential supplies and services. The Ethiopian government has denied humanitarian agencies access to Eritrean refugee camps since it began its military offensive in early November.  After repeated requests, the U.N. refugee agency reports the authorities finally granted the agency a one-time access to two refugee camps, Mai Aini and Adi Harush in northern Tigray. UNHCR spokesman Babar Balloch says aid workers have found conditions in the camps dire and the Eritreans in desperate need of humanitarian aid. Balloch says a one-time food distribution by the World Food Program one month ago is the only assistance the refugees have received for more than two months.  He says plans for a second distribution are underway. In the meantime, U.N. staff who accessed the camps have distributed food to 25,000 refugees. Balloch says the number of beneficiaries is of concern because there were 50,000 Eritreans in the two camps before the conflict erupted.  So, it is likely many fled in fear of their safety.