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Damaged roads, airports could slow aid work in Ethiopia's Tigray

Axum airport, northern Ethiopia   -  
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Aid workers hoping to access Ethiopia's Tigray region will have to overcome challenges such as the region's damaged infrastructure to develop tons of relief items to those in need.

After nearly a month of fighting, the full extent of the damage on roads and airports in the state is only being known now.

On Wednesday, state TV broadcast images purporting to show Axum airport's ransacked terminal. 

The Ethiopian army has accused Tigray rebel forces of damaging the facility and access roads in the region to delay its advance.

More TV footage showed debris strewn on the runaway with sections of it appearing to have been dug up.

Aid workers given access

Ethiopia on Wednesday granted the United Nations access to deliver aid to the northern region of Tigray, following weeks of lobbying amid military operations there.

The agreement, signed by Ethiopia's peace minister, comes four weeks after Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent in troops and warplanes in a campaign targeting leaders of the region's ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

Food running out

Before the fighting began, around 600,000 people living in Tigray depended on food handouts, among them 96,000 Eritrean refugees.

The agreement notes that the region was also home to 42,000 malnourished women and children as well as 100,000 internally displaced people.

Food, fuel, and cash are in short supply, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, while the International Committee of the Red Cross says basic medical equipment is lacking.

On Tuesday the UN refugee agency warned that Eritrean refugees in Tigray were believed to have run out of food, saying concerns for their welfare were "growing by the hour".

Meanwhile, communications are returning to parts of Tigray.

Ethio Telecom, the country's telecommunications provider, said Wednesday that services had partially resumed in cities including Humera, Dansha, Mai-Kadra, and Mai-Tsebri.

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