UNICEF has denounced that over one million people have been displaced in Ethiopia's Tigray region. Fighting is continuing after the Ethiopian government's military offensive started on November 4, 2020.
Over one million people have been displaced in Ethiopia's Tigray region where fighting has been ongoing since the Ethiopian government's military offensive began on November 4 last year, UNICEF said in a statement published on April 21.
The statement described a "disturbing picture of severe and ongoing child violations," quoting agency spokesperson James Elder, who has returned from a visit to the northern region.
Children without school
"Children in Tigray have been hit by COVID-19, then conflict. That means 1.4 million children have been out of school for more than a full year (since March 2020)", denounced Elder. "A decision to reopen schools, however, is contingent on security and rehabilitation works. The education ministry estimates that up to 25% of schools have been damaged," he added.
Moreover, reopening schools requires relocation of the hundreds of thousands internally displaced persons who are currently sheltering in school buildings.
Dramatic situation in the region
According to a recent investigation by UNICEF and its partners in 13 cities, over half of boreholes are non-functional, along with healthcare facilities, after being damaged and looted.
Displacement sites are overcrowded, unsanitary and unsafe, increasing risks of exploitation of children and making it impossible for people to practice COVID-19 prevention measures, Elder said.
The spokesperson denounced that he had personally received accounts of violence. "The personal statements I received from children who had been raped or testimonies of women who were victims of sexual violence were harrowing", he said.
Elder highlighted that fighting broke out "just as people should have been harvesting", causing a "spike in malnutrition".
UNICEF Ethiopia's appeal for Tigray stands at 47.6 million dollars. More than half is unfunded, the statement concluded.