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Tigray Gets Food

FILE - An aid worker walks next to a pile of sacks of food earmarked for the Tigray and Afar regions in a warehouse in Semera, in Ethiopia's Afar region. Taken Feb. 21, 2022.

Fifteen trucks carrying food aid entered Ethiopia's Tigray region on Wednesday, the United Nations's food agency said, as humanitarian groups gain access for the first time since a ceasefire agreement was signed two weeks ago.

The WFP announcement came a day after a medical aid convoy from the International Committee of the Red Cross entered Tigray, the first ICRC trucks to arrive in the region following the deal between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

The agency said the convoy had travelled along a route through neighboring Amhara for the first time since June 2021, when TPLF fighters recaptured Tigray from federal forces and expanded into the bordering regions of Amhara and Afar.

"More food, nutrition, medical cargo will follow imminently, via all routes possible," the WFP said on Twitter.

Tigray, a region of six million people, has been suffering from a severe lack of food and medicine, as well as limited access to basic services including electricity, banking and communications, with the UN warning that many people were on the brink of starvation.

The restoration of aid deliveries to Tigray was a key part of the agreement signed in South Africa to silence the guns in the two-year conflict that has killed untold numbers of people and unleashed a humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia.

Under the ceasefire agreement with the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the region, the federal government pledged to work with agencies to expedite the provision of aid. The ICRC on Tuesday announced the first international aid delivery since the truce to end two years of fighting was agreed on Nov. 2.

There had been no international aid into Tigray, a region of around 5.5 million people, since August, when an earlier ceasefire broke down. The Ethiopian government says it has been providing aid in recent weeks.

This report was prepared using data from Reuters and Agence France-Presse.