“It is estimated that 80% of essential medication is no longer available” in the region, the U.N. humanitarian agency said last week.
The United Nations says Ethiopian authorities have arrested and detained some 70 truck drivers contracted to the U.N. and other aid groups in the past week since the government declared a state of emergency amid the country’s escalating war, the AP reports.
Wednesday’s statement said the U.N. is seeking the reasons for the arrests since Nov. 3 in the city of Semera, the gateway for aid convoys struggling to reach the Tigray region under what the U.N. has described as a “de facto humanitarian blockade.” Government spokesman Legesse Tulu did not respond to questions.
The statement came a day after the U.N. said at least 16 local employees had been detained in recent days in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa. All are ethnic Tigrayans, who witnesses say have been swept up by the thousands since the state of emergency was declared in response to reports that Tigray forces who have been fighting Ethiopian forces were approaching the capital.
Government spokesman Legesse told The Associated Press the 16 U.N. staffers were detained because of “participation in terror” unrelated to their work, without details. The government says it is detaining people suspected of supporting the Tigray forces.
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