Millions more in Tigray need urgent food and agricultural support to avoid further slides toward famine, the analysis says.
A high-level UN-led committee focusing on rapid responses to humanitarian crises estimated at about 350,000 people in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, facing shortages, is facing famine conditions.
The 350,000 figure was presented Monday at a meeting of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, including 18 UN and non-UN organizations chaired by UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock.
The analysis, which diplomats said could be released publicly as early as Thursday, found millions more in Tigray who needed “urgent food and agriculture / support to avoid further slides toward famine,” the Reuters news agency reported. who saw the document.
Mituku Kassa, head of the National Committee for Disaster Prevention and Preparedness in Ethiopia, said Thursday that a declaration of famine would not be correct. He accused the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) of attacking aid convoys.
“We are not short of food,” he told a press conference, adding more than 90 per cent of the people had received help from five operators.
“The remaining TPLF forces … attack personnel, attack trucks with food,” Kassa said. TPLF officials were not immediately available for comment.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Wednesday that UN personnel on the ground were reporting the continuation of blocked aid movements and the interrogation, assault and detention of humanitarian workers in military checkpoints. There has also been looting and confiscation of “humanitarian goods and supplies” by the parties to the conflict, he said.
Some areas of Tigray remain inaccessible, Dujarric said, and in accessible areas “the situation is bad, including dysfunctional water systems and limited or no sanitation facilities.”
“Levels of food insecurity and malnutrition are at alarming levels,” Dujarric said.
“Preliminary reports from the camp from Axum and Adwa in the central area show visible signs of famine among internally displaced people. In a community in the north-west area of Tigray, aid workers have noticed a serious need to eat afterwards. to the burning or sacking of crops ”.
Last Friday, Lowcock warned that famine was imminent in Tigray and in the north of the country, saying there is a risk that hundreds or thousands of people or more will die.
No one knows how many thousands of civilians or fighters have been killed in months of political tensions between the government of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Tigray leaders.
Eritrea, a long-standing Tigray enemy, has partnered with neighboring Ethiopia in the war launched by Addis Ababa last November.
‘Deaths linked to hunger’
The Ethiopian embassy in London said Saturday in a statement that the government “takes very seriously its responsibility to put an end to the current suffering of the people of Tigray and has so far made concerted efforts to respond fully to humanitarian needs on the ground, in coordination with local and international partners. “
Famine has been reported twice in the last decade – in Somalia in 2011 and in South Sudan in 2017, according to the CPI. UN agencies, aid groups, governments and other relevant parties use the CPI to work together to determine the severity of food insecurity.
The UN has criticized the lack of access to all areas of Tigray for humanitarian workers seeking to provide aid.
Lowcock said the war has destroyed the economy with businesses, crops and farms, and there are no banking or telecommunications services in Tigray.
“We heard about it.” death connected with starvationIt is already, ”he said in a statement, urging the international community“ to wake up ”and to“ really step up ”even with money.
In late May, Lowcock said that since the war, it is estimated that two million people have been displaced.
Thousands of civilians have been killed and injured, rape and other forms of “abusive sexual violence” have been widespread and systematic, and essential infrastructure destroyed including hospitals and farmland, he said.