Ethiopia’s Tigray region at ‘serious risk’ of famine, UN warns
A senior UN official warned the Security Council on Tuesday that urgent measures are needed to avert famine in Ethiopia’s war-ravaged Tigray region, during a briefing seen by AFP.
“There is a serious risk of famine if aid is not increased over the next two months,” wrote Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
More than six months after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched what he called a “rapid” military operation, fighting and abuses continue in Tigray, where the specter of famine has been hanging over for several months.
“Concrete steps are urgently needed to break the vicious circle between armed conflict, violence and food insecurity,” Lowcock said in his two-and-a-half-page memo.
“I urge the members of the Security Council and other member states to take all possible measures to prevent a famine from occurring,” he said.
“Today, at least 20 percent of the population in this region face emergency food insecurity,” the British official said, adding that “destruction and violence against civilians continues even now throughout the world. the Tiger”.
“In the six and a half months since the start of the conflict in Tigray in early November 2020, around two million people have been displaced. Civilians are being killed and injured,” he added.
“Rape and other forms of heinous sexual violence are widespread and systematic. The infrastructure and public and private objects essential to the survival of civilians have been destroyed, including hospitals and farmland,” he warned.
The UN official estimated that “more than 90 percent of the harvest has been lost to looting, fires or other destruction, and that 80 percent of the area’s livestock have been looted or slaughtered. “
“Despite the improvements in March and the cooperation of authorities at the local level, humanitarian access as a whole has recently deteriorated,” Lowcock wrote.
“Humanitarian operations are attacked, hampered or delayed in providing life-saving assistance. Eight aid workers have been killed in Tigray in the past six months.”