ADDIS ABABA, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- World Food Program (WFP)'s Ethiopia Country Director, Steven Were Omamo and United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) Representative in Ethiopia, Gillian Mellsop on Saturday called for scaling up of efforts to those affected by unrest in Somali regional state located in eastern part of Ethiopia.
In a joint press statement, the two UN agencies said during the two officials' visit to Somali regional state earlier this week, they've witnessed the setting up of a humanitarian coordination committee comprising of government and humanitarian partners to identify food distribution points in the region.
The statement however said despite the security situation in Somali regional state showing signs of stabilizing, children and women face enormous challenges in accessing basic services such as water and health.
"The people here are facing enormous challenges, and we have been doing all we can to support them through food distributions over the past few days," said Omamo.
"Children and women still face enormous challenges in accessing basic services such as water and health," said Mellsop. "Working with the regional government and our partners, we are doing our best to ensure that support continues to reach them even as we restore currently-suspended programmes for other vulnerable populations."
Several cities in Somali regional state were scenes of deadly violence earlier this month after soldiers were dispatched to Jijiga city, capital of Somali regional state reportedly to arrest high level officials including Abdi Omar Mohammed, President of Ethiopia Somali regional state.
The army intervention came amid reports of tension between the Ethiopian federal government and Somali regional state president over allegations of grave human rights abuses by Mohammed's administration.