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Renson Mwakandana

On Thursday, Ethiopia called gasoline shortages in the war-torn Tigray area a “myth” and said that rebels there were about to launch a fresh onslaught.

The gasoline Addis Ababa is letting them ship to the area, according to humanitarian organizations, is insufficient, and they have warned that the shortages will make it difficult to distribute critical assistance.

According to the UN, there is a humanitarian catastrophe affecting Tigrayans, who have been unable to access essential services like banking, power, and telephones for months.

The European crisis management commissioner Janez Lenarcic asked the administration to abolish the limitations on Tigray “without delay” after visiting the country’s capital, Mekele, on Tuesday. He specifically called for the supply of petroleum to be unrestricted.

Three tankers carrying more than 137,000 liters of petroleum landed in Mekele last week, according to the government communications office of Ethiopia on Thursday.

Since assistance convoys started in April, some 920,309 liters of fuel had been sent to the area, the organization announced on Twitter.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front was mentioned, along with the statement, “The myth of fuel shortage is a TPLF hidden agenda to enhance mobility of its army in preparation for another round of conflict.”

According to the United Nations, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to the verge of hunger as a result of the 19-month struggle between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s administration and the TPLF, and more than nine million people now require food help.

/The Guardian/

After a three-month break, the government authorized the urgently needed supplies to be sent by land to Tigray in April. Tigray has long been subject to what the UN has referred to as a de facto embargo.

The WFP stated, “Humanitarian supplies have been flowing into Tigray since the government’s humanitarian truce was announced… but less than half the fuel needed has entered the region in recent weeks.”

One million liters of gasoline have entered the region through WFP-led convoys, according to Claire Nevill, a WFP spokeswoman in Ethiopia, who told AFP that two million liters of fuel were needed each month for humanitarian operations in Tigray.

WFP-led convoys reaching Tigray in Ethiopia  /WFP/

Currently, Lenarcic stated on Tuesday, “humanitarian warehouses in Mekele are full, but people out there in the countryside are still hungry.”

The EU ambassador continued, citing both the scarcity of fuel and power as reasons why the situation in hospitals was particularly dire.

In response to rebel attacks on army barracks, the government moved federal forces into Tigray in November 2020 to overthrow the TPLF, the area’s previous ruling party.

The fighting grew more intense in the second half of 2021 until coming to a standstill as the TPLF launched a stunning counterattack, retaking Tigray and then extending into the neighboring provinces of Afar and Amhara.

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