ADDIS ABABA: The World Food Programme said its first aid convoy since the signing of a landmark peace deal between Ethiopia's government and Tigrayan rebels had arrived in the war-torn Tigray region on Wednesday.

“@WFP convoy just entered North West #Tigray via #Gondar corridor for the first time,“ the UN agency said on Twitter, with a spokeswoman telling AFP it was the first to arrive in the region since the November 2 ceasefire agreement.

The restoration of aid deliveries to Tigray was a key part of the agreement signed in South Africa to silence the guns in the two-year conflict that has killed untold numbers of people and unleashed a humanitarian crisis in northern Ethiopia.

The WFP announcement came a day after a medical aid convoy from the International Committee of the Red Cross entered Tigray, the first ICRC trucks to arrive in the region following the deal between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).

A WFP spokeswoman told AFP 15 trucks had entered the region on Wednesday, with “more (expected) in the coming days”.

The agency said the convoy had travelled along a route through neighbouring Amhara for the first time since June 2021, when TPLF fighters recaptured Tigray from federal forces and expanded into the bordering regions of Amhara and Afar.

“More food, nutrition, medical cargo will follow imminently, via all routes possible,“ the WFP said on Twitter.

The November 2 agreement was followed by an implementation accord reached in the Kenyan capital Nairobi on Saturday, with the two sides committing to facilitate immediate humanitarian access to “all in need” in Tigray and neighbouring regions with immediate effect.

Tigray, a region of six million people, has been suffering from a severe lack of food and medicine, as well as limited access to basic services including electricity, banking and communications, with the UN warning that many people were on the brink of starvation. - AFP

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