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A high level delegation composed of the Ambassadors of Canada, Finland and Japan as well as senior officials of the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, IOM and UNFPA in Ethiopia paid a visit to the Tigray Region today to assess UN supported response to the humanitarian crisis in Tigray. The visit also provided an opportunity to look into ways of making the cooperation even more effective.

The members of the delegation discussed with the Interim Regional Government of Tigray on various pressing issues for internally displaced persons, particularly in light of the forthcoming rainy season and the rising concern about famine. They remarked on the significance of the UN support in enhancing the capacity of the Ethiopian Government to reach the 4.5 million people in need with assistance through upscaling the humanitarian response linked with early recovery plans across the region.

During the visit, Dennia Gayle, UNFPA Country Representative stressed the importance of protecting women and girls from sexual violence, exploitation, and abuse in light of recent reports on GBV and to build back the capacity to provide universal access to sexual and reproductive health and maternal health care. “UNFPA is here to support a future for women and girls in Tigray so that they can be free from harm and fear of sexual or gender-based violence. They also have the right to make their own sexual and reproductive life decisions,” she noted.  

The 10-member delegation visited the joint effort of IOM and UNFPA at relocating displaced persons currently residing in schools in Mekele city to the Sabacare IDP site which is currently being constructed. The construction of shelters and humanitarian facilities will provide the necessary services to the IDP population, including 3 Women and Girls Safe Spaces where women and girls can feel physically and emotionally safe while they rebuild their social networks. The facilities will also give access to women and girls to services and care on issues related to gender-based violence and sexual and reproductive health and rights.

During the visit to the UNFPA One-Stop Center at Ayder Hospital, the delegation had the opportunity to discuss with GBV frontline social workers and psychosocial counselors about the increasing number of GBV incidents and the gaps and challenges hampering the scale-up of GBV and protection services for survivors. They commented on the significance of restoring the capacity of government-led health facilities, alongside reaching those in dire need in remote rural areas with the much needed support, coordination, and effectiveness by humanitarian partners.  

The delegation also had the chance to visit the Ethio-China IDP camp.

UNFPA estimates that over USD 12 million is required to provide reproductive healthcare and protection services for women and girls in the humanitarian response in northern Ethiopia in the course of this year. Due to the continued displacement and the increasing needs across Ethiopia, UNFPA’s Humanitarian Preparedness and Response Plan is currently being reviewed to expand SRH/GBV services to conflict-affected regions across the country.