On 8th March the Bishop of Coventry received a written answer to a question on humanitarian aid delivery in Ethiopia:
The Lord Bishop of Coventry: To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to ensure that aid workers are permitted (1) to deliver humanitarian aid, and (2) to assess the needs of the population, in Ethiopia. [HL13385]
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The UK remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian situation in Tigray and has been consistent in calling for free and unfettered humanitarian access. The Foreign Secretary raised the need for humanitarian access to Tigray with Prime Minister Abiy during his recent visit to Ethiopia and pressed for a political dialogue to bring lasting peace to the region. The Minister for Africa re-enforced the urgency of the need for humanitarian access when he spoke with the Ethiopian Ambassador on 24 February.
The UN estimates that up to 1.3 million people affected by the conflict need humanitarian assistance, though the lack of free and sustained access makes it extremely challenging to determine the actual impact of the conflict on civilians – an estimated 80% of Tigray region remains beyond the reach of relief agencies.
The UK is working closely with humanitarian and development agencies to make sure aid reaches civilians affected by the fighting. UK-funded aid agencies in Tigray are working hard to deliver support in challenging circumstances, including food, shelter, water and healthcare.
The Foreign Secretary visited Gondar, the site of a humanitarian hub in the neighbouring Amhara region on 22 January. He heard how £11.4m of UK Aid is supporting the World Food Programme and NGOs to ensure the delivery of aid to those affected by the conflict.