An Ethiopian woman, who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, is seen at dawn within Hamdayet village on the Sudan-Ethiopia border, in the eastern Kassala state, Sudan December 16, 2020. REUTERS

The UN called on Thursday for full, immediate, safe, and unimpeded humanitarian access to provide urgent assistance and protection to those in need.

The United Nations Spokesman, Stephan Dujaric told a press conference the economic activity and basic services remain largely disrupted, especially in rural areas, where two-thirds of the population live.

It has been reported that there is a lack of food in markets due to fighting having broken out during harvest season, which left crops unharvested. Mr. Dujaric added.

Even before the conflict, malnutrition was already on the rise because of the pandemic and desert locusts.

The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that nearly 80 percent of the hospitals remain unfunctional.

Some 1.3 million children have been out of school since the beginning of the conflict. Many schools are now sheltering internally displaced people (IDPs). There are reports of children having been separated from families, as well as forced recruitment, and serious allegations of sexual and gender-based violence.

Observers say the continuing conflict and administrative bureaucracy are still making it difficult to scale up humanitarian assistance.