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Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, 1 September 2021 - Ethiopia, COVAX

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Moving to Ethiopia. Our colleagues tell us that the humanitarian situation in Tigray is worsening with stocks of relief aid, cash and fuel running very low or depleted. Partners have run out of stocks for food distribution, with the exception of some areas where supplies had already been dispatched. According to our colleagues, the only access route to Tigray, via Afar, using the Semera-Abala corridor, has been inaccessible since 22 August due to insecurity and bureaucratic and logistical challenges. We estimate that 100 trucks of food, non-food items, and fuel need to enter Tigray every day to sustain an adequate response. Since 12 July to date, less than 10 per cent of the required trucks have gone in.

In addition, a minimum of 200,000 litres of fuel is required for the humanitarian response every week. But, since 12 July, only 282,000 litres have reached Tigray, and none since 16 August. Our humanitarian colleagues also warn that the spillover of the conflict in Tigray into neighbouring Afar and Amhara continues to affect civilians resulting in food insecurity, displacement, and the disruption of livelihoods. Some 1.7 million people are estimated to be facing food insecurity in those areas. We stress that all parties to the conflict must allow and facilitate timely, unfettered, safe and sustained access to all people impacted by the crisis.


And I have a COVAX update for you. Pakistan has received over 18 million vaccine doses since May and had 6 million more doses expected to arrive in September. As of yesterday, more than 56 million doses have been administered. Our team there, led by Resident Coordinator Julien Harneis, is continuing its support to the national response. The World Health Organization (WHO) established three vaccination centres in Islamabad and provided medical, laboratory and protective equipment, including ambulances, 50 ventilators, 100 oxygen concentrators, 50 suction devices, 20 ECG machines and 50 automated beds. For its part, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) provided protective equipment to over 15,000 front‑line workers as well as over 3,000 oxygen concentrators and other equipment to the Government. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) also donated 600,000 masks and ambulances and the UN Office for Project Services is providing medical and laboratory equipment for hospitals in three districts.