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Tigray: Over 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s conflict ravaged Tigray region are experiencing famine.



“There is a famine in Ethiopia right now,” UN Secretary-General Mark Lowcock warned on Thursday.

According to the Global Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) system, which assesses food security and malnutrition around the world, significant parts of the Tigray region are currently in an “IPC 5 disaster” status – its most serious assessment.

By May 2021, a total of 5.5 million people in Tigray and the nearby Amhara and Afar zones (more than half the population) are facing “high levels of acute food insecurity”
; with 353,000 facing catastrophic levels. The situation is expected to worsen through September, the report also says.
USAID distributes supplies to residents of the town of Hawzen in central Tigray who had not received much-needed assistance for two months.

One major cause of the desperate food situation in Tigray is conflict, the report found: “This severe crisis is due to the cascading effects of conflict, including population shifts, movement restrictions, limited humanitarian access, loss of harvest and livelihood assets and dysfunctional or non-existent markets.”

Last month, CNN reported exclusively that Eritrean troops coordinated with Ethiopian forces to cut off critical aid routes. A CNN team traveling through Tigray’s central zone witnessed Eritrean soldiers, some disguised in ancient Ethiopian military uniforms and blocking aid to starving populations.
Tigrayans told: 'We'll see if America will save you now,' as hundreds rounded off by Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers

UN agencies say they are particularly concerned about the risk of widespread famine in Tigray if the conflict escalates and humanitarian aid is significantly hampered.

In a tweet following the report’s release, Lowcock called for urgent funding and unhindered access to aid supplies.

On Thursday, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on the UN Security Council to meet publicly on the Tigray region and demand answers from the Ethiopian government.

“We can not let Ethiopia starve. We have to act now,” she said.

Fighting between Ethiopian government troops and the region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), erupted in November 2020. Troops from neighboring Eritrea joined the conflict in support of the Ethiopian government.

The Ethiopian government has denied that there is a serious food shortage in the country.


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