from ADANE BIKILA in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
ADDIS ABABA, (CAJ News) – CHILDREN are set to suffer the most from the recent expulsion of United Nations (UN) from Ethiopia.
Officials bemoaned the move by the increasingly hostile government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali as regrettable and alarming.
Among organisations whose leaders were expelled from alleged interference in the East African country’s affairs is the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The UN agency has been present in Ethiopia for more than 60 years, working to advance and protect the rights of the most vulnerable children.
“As the humanitarian situation in the country deteriorates — with children bearing its biggest brunt — our work is more urgent than ever,” said a spokesperson.
UNICEF has expressed full confidence in the teams working on the ground to save children’s lives in the troubled country, particularly the northern Tigray region.
“Our programmes will continue,” the UNICEF spokesperson assured.
“Our one and only priority is to support the children who urgently need our help, wherever they are.”
The crisis in Ethiopia has been escalating since the end of 2020 when the federal government fell out with the Tigray administration, led by de facto president, Debretsion Gebremichael.
More than 5 000 people have reportedly been killed. Over 5,2 million people need food aid, including 400 000 people living in famine‑like conditions.
The conflict has spread into the Amhara and Afar regions.
The crisis in Ethiopia has been embarrassing to the continent as the country hosts the headquarters of the African Union (AU).
Ethiopia is also Africa’s second most populous nation (behind Nigeria), with 118,5 million people.
– CAJ News