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Week after ‘unilateral truce’, Ethiopia’s Tigray region receives UN food aids

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Following the declaration of a unilateral truce by the Ethiopian government last week, a convoy of trucks carrying food aid has entered territory controlled by fighters loyal to the fugitive leaders of Ethiopia’s Tigray region on Friday.

The truck is the first humanitarian convoy to move into the Tigray region since Dec. 14, the United Nations World Food Programme said.

The U.N. estimates that 90% of Tigray’s 6 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. It says 100 trucks must enter every day to feed people there.

“WFP-led convoys to Tigray are back on the road & making steady progress,” the agency said on Twitter. It added that the trucks “arrived in Erepti” carrying over 500 metric tons of food supplies “for communities on edge of starvation.” The UN World Food Programme concludes.

The Tigray Region is the northernmost regional state of Ethiopia. The Region is the homeland of the Tigrayan, Irob, and Kunama people. Formerly known as Region 1, its capital and largest city are Mekelle. Tigray is the fifth-largest by area, the fifth-most populous, and the fifth-most densely populated of the 11 regional states in Ethiopia. 96 percent of Tigrayans are Orthodox Christian.

Erepti is a district in the neighboring state of Afar, into which the war has spilled in recent months. Fighters loyal to the outlawed party of Tigray’s leaders — the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, or TPLF — are present in six districts in Afar, having entered the region in December.

The spokesperson of the TPLF, Getachew Reda, confirmed on Twitter that 20 WFP trucks had crossed into territory controlled by their fighters and are now on their way to Mekele, the Tigray capital. The Tigray fighters had said they would observe the humanitarian truce declared by the government if aid started to reach Tigray.

“This is one good step in the right direction,” Getachew added. “The bottom line, though, isn’t about how many trucks are allowed but whether there is a system in place to ensure unfettered humanitarian access for the needy!”

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Unprecedented floods destroy 2,500 homes, displace thousands in Eastern Sudan

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More than 2,500 homes have been destroyed while thousands of residents were forced to flee several towns in eastern Sudan as a result of seasonal floods that hit the region following days of torrential rain.

Sudanese state news agency, SUNA, reported on Friday that the collapse of the houses have left thousands homeless in the already impoverished region.

SUNA said another 546 houses were partially destroyed by torrential rains in the River Nile province late Thursday as the River bank broke and the area became flooded.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in a statement on the disaster, said there were fears some people could have been swept away by the floods especially those at the bank of the River Nile.

The statement noted that since the start of the rainy season in May, an estimated 38,000 people have been affected by the floods across the country.

“So far, the areas hardest hit include Kassala, South Darfur, Central Darfur, South Kordofan, the White Nile and the River Nile provinces.

“The total nationwide death toll remains undetermined,” OCHA said.

In an earlier report on Thursday, OCHA had said that at least six people had died, and an unconfirmed number of people were injured when their houses collapsed or were washed away by floods in the Central Darfur province.

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Five killed as opposition protesters clash with security agencies in Somaliland

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At least five persons were killed on Thursday as a demonstration by Somaliland opposition members protesting over fears of a delayed election, turned bloody as security forces tried to repel the demonstrators from destroying properties.

An opposition leader said the police opened fire on the demonstrators after accusing them of not following officers’ instructions.

Hundreds of people took part in the protests across the country after talks between the government and opposition failed and the opposition accused authorities of trying to delay the election.

President Muse Bihi Abdi who confirmed the incident in a statement on Friday, said the five were killed in the capital, Hargeisa, and the towns of Burao and Erigavo in the northern region that separates the breakaway country from Somalia.

Abdi also confirmed that almost 100 others were wounded, with most of them members of security forces.

The president however, blamed opposition groups for the unrest, reiterating that unauthorized protests would not be tolerated and dissidents would be crushed.

Main opposition leader, Abdirahman Mohamed Irro, said despite the killings, protests will continue until the presidential election is held on November 13 as pronounced by Abdi.

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