We have some more good news coming from Ethiopia this morning. A convoy transporting 500 metric tons of food and nutrition supplies was moving into Tigray. This is the first time that the UN and partners have been able to move aid into Tigray by road since mid-December. Teams have also reached communities in the Afar region with desperately needed food assistance.
It is critical that we now see sustained deliveries of relief supplies, fuel and cash into Tigray, and the continued expansion of the response in conflict-affected areas in Afar and Amhara.
Shortages of supplies, fuel and cash have severely undermined the ability of humanitarian organizations to respond to the increasingly acute situation in Tigray. Some of the limited remaining food stocks were distributed in seven towns in Tigray during the past week. Only about 1.2 million people have received food assistance in the past five-and-a-half months, while more than 5 million should be assisted every six weeks.
In the absence of road convoys — except the one moving today — airlifts have allowed humanitarian organizations to transport some key items over recent months. During the past week, we were able to fly close to 40 metric tons of nutrition supplies into Mekelle. Some 360 metric tons of mostly medical and nutrition supplies have now been flown in since late January. Every bit helps, but a single convoy of 20 trucks could bring in more than twice this amount.
Meanwhile, in Afar, insecurity continues to constrain access to many people displaced by recent fighting. Assistance is continuing in accessible areas, with the UN and partners providing food support to some 62,000 people during the past week. Since late February, close to 30 per cent of the 630,000 people targeted have received food assistance.
In Amhara, the UN and NGO [non-governmental organization] partners distributed food to more than 726,000 people during the past week.
In Kazakhstan, our team led by Resident Coordinator Michaela Friberg-Storey, continues to support the pandemic response. To address the impacts of COVID-19 on education, our team has provided 20,000 children in rural schools with broadband internet access; targeted over 3 million people through campaigns to prevent violence against children and opened centres for women’s entrepreneurship. Our team also distributed nearly 3 million personal protective equipment items and 21,000 pieces of equipment to fight the pandemic. It also set up a national website on vaccine information. For a greener recovery, the team enabled funding schemes for solar power stations, as well as the first green bonds in Kazakhstan, while more than 150 entrepreneurs received microcredits to start their own businesses.