A United Nations humanitarian flight to the Ethiopian region of Tigray, epicenter of a year-old war that threatens to cause deepening famine, was ordered to abort a landing on Friday as government airstrikes hit the area for a fourth day.
The flight by the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service, bound for the Tigrayan capital, Mekelle, returned to the national capital, Addis Ababa, and all such flights were suspended, said Steve Taravella, a spokesman for the World Food Program, the U.N. anti-hunger agency that manages the air service.
It was the first time a U.N. humanitarian flight had been forced to abandon a mission into the Tigrayan region because of airstrikes, said Gemma Connell, the top U.N. aid official for southern and eastern Africa.
“We’re obviously concerned about what has taken place today,” Ms. Connell said in a conference call with reporters.
She said 11 humanitarian workers were aboard but did not elaborate on their work or the cargo they had carried.
Steve Taravella, Gemma Connell, “ We’re, Ms, Connell
United, United Nations Humanitarian Air Service, World Food Program
United Nations, Tigray, Mekelle, Addis Ababa, Africa