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The United States' Humanitarian Assistance Response to Conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray Region

Press Statement
Michael R. Pompeo, Secretary of State
December 23, 2020

The United States is providing more than $18 million in assistance to respond to the growing humanitarian needs caused by conflict in Ethiopia's Tigray region. This assistance will help our international humanitarian organization partners respond to the needs of more than 52,000 new refugees in Sudan, refugees and displaced persons in Ethiopia, and possible needs in Djibouti, in addition others displaced by conflict in the Horn of Africa region already being assisted by USG partners. These resources will help provide access to critical humanitarian protection, shelter, essential health care and nutrition, emergency food aid, education, water, sanitation, and hygiene services for refugees, internally displaced people, and vulnerable host communities.

We remain gravely concerned by the humanitarian impact of the conflict in Tigray. We call on the government to allow immediate, full, safe, and unhindered access so humanitarian organizations can provide timely, needs-based assistance to those affected by the conflict. We stand with the international community in condemning the intimidation and killings of humanitarian aid workers in Tigray as well as the looting of relief supplies and the destruction of civilian infrastructure. All parties must respect international humanitarian law.

The United States is also deeply concerned for the safety and security of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia. The United States joins calls by the UN for the Ethiopian government to uphold its obligations under international law and to take appropriate measures to ensure the protection and safety of all refugees in Ethiopia. Those responsible for egregious abuses or violations against civilians must be held accountable.

More than a month of conflict has compounded the preexisting humanitarian crises in the region. The COVID-19 pandemic, historic levels of flooding, and desert locust swarms have increased economic hardship and threatened food security and the basic needs of refugees and civilians in Tigray.

In addition to providing life-saving assistance, the United States, along with our international partners, remains ready and willing to assist in dialogue and reconciliation and to stand with the people of the region to bring a complete end to the fighting and to build a brighter, more hopeful future. We welcome the contributions already provided by current donors and call on others to support the international response to help meet the immediate humanitarian needs in Sudan and Ethiopia.

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