An Ethiopian official on Thursday said his country has formed a fact-finding mission to assess the humanitarian situation in the country's northern Tigray regional state.
Speaking to journalists, Redwan Hussein, spokesman of a newly-established State of Emergency Task Force for the Tigray conflict, said two fact-finding missions have been established to assess the humanitarian situation in Tigray.
"Two groups of fact-finding missions will go and assess situations on the ground in Tigray," said Hussein. "One fact-finding mission will start from the western Tigray, the other will start from the eastern and southern Tigray, so that we're going to find which ways are easier to supply food and medical items," he further said. "We're planning to convince and bring back our compatriots from Sudan and preparations are underway here. We're soliciting resources and building warehouses, so that food items and medical supplies will be adequately arranged," he said.
On Thursday, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN Refugee Agency, said the number of Ethiopian refugees fleeing to neighbouring Sudan surpassed 31,000 amid the ongoing fighting between the Ethiopian federal government and the Northern Tigray regional state. Since Nov. 4, the Ethiopian government had been undertaking military operations against the TPLF, the ruling party in Ethiopia's northernmost Tigray region, and now in an official war against the federal government that followed TPLF's reported attack against the Northern command of the Ethiopian Defense Force, a division that has been stationed in the region for over two decades.
The Ethiopian government has been blaming the TPLF, which was one of the four coalition fronts of Ethiopia's former ruling party the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), for masterminding various treasonous acts across different parts of the country with an overarching goal of destabilizing the East African country. Three of the former four EPRDF coalition members had last year joined other regional parties in establishing the Prosperity Party, as the TPLF refused to join. The mounting differences between the federal government and TPLF exacerbated in September this year, when the Tigray regional government decided to go with its planned regional elections, which the Ethiopian parliament had previously postponed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.