Ethiopia suffering famine: UN aid chief
Published: 01:09 PM, 11 June 2021 Updated: 03:05 PM, 11 June 2021
A child sleeps on a sack of food aid in the Tigray region, Ethiopia; Photo: Getty Images
UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock has said that there is a famine in Tigray, the northern Ethiopian region.
“There is a famine. This is going to get a lot worse,” he said.
He made the remarks on Thursday after the release of an UN-backed analysis on the current situation in Ethiopia.
According to BBC, the analysis found that 350,000 people were living in a “severe crisis” in the war-torn Tigray region as well as neighboring Amhara and Afar.
About 1.7 million people were displaced in Tigray after the devastating fighting between government forces and rebels.
The analysis says the food situation in the region has reached the “catastrophe” level where starvation and death affecting small groups of people and it is currently spreading over large areas.
“The number of people in famine conditions … is higher than anywhere in the world, at any moment since a quarter-million Somalis lost their lives in 2011,” Mark Lowcock said, adding “two million people were just a step away from extreme conditions.”
Lowcock lamented the fact that some of the key UN agencies seeking to tackle the crisis have “essentially no money”.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization and children’s agency UNICEF have all called for urgent action to address the crisis.
However, the analysis was not endorsed by the Ethiopian government, insisted that “humanitarian access is being expanded as it restores order across the region.”
It is to be mentioned that Tigray and the next-door province of Wollo were the epicenters of a famine in 1984 caused by a combination of drought and war that led to between 600,000 and one million deaths.
Source: BBC, Al Jazeera