Tigray region is experiencing a catastrophic hunger crisis. The World Food Program warns that emergency food needs in northern Ethiopia are increasing, as conflict spills beyond the embattled Tigray region into neighboring Afar and Amhara provinces feeling the scorch of the unending war that has claimed many lives.
According to World Food Program, up to 7 million people are acutely short of food and are facing a hunger crisis. They include more than 5.2 million people in Tigray who are dependent on U.N. food aid for survival. Additionally, the World Food Program reports the conflict, which has now acutely engulfed the entire region, has thrust 1.7 million more people into hunger.
This month, WFP has begun delivering emergency food assistance to communities in Ethiopia’s northern region and says it plans to reach 530,000 people in Afar and 250,000 in Amhara with food aid.
Meanwhile in Tigray, WFP spokesman Tomson Phiri says the situation continues to deteriorate. He says aid agencies are struggling to meet the urgent food needs of more than 5 million people across the war-torn region.
In his statement, “WFP food stocks had been almost entirely depleted until two days ago when the first convoy in over two weeks entered the region.” The WFP-led convoy of over 100 trucks carried 3,500 metric tons of food and other life-saving cargo, including fuel, as well as health and shelter items.”
Phiri also added that WFP has only managed to get 355 trucks into the region since mid-July. While this sounds like much, he says it is not. He says 355 trucks represents less than 10 percent of the supplies needed. He says 100 trucks must enter Tigray every day to meet people’s food requirements.
He says trucks get stuck in Afar because of bureaucratic delays and difficulties in passing checkpoints. He says some trucks also have been attacked and looted by people in local communities.
WFP is calling for $426 million to expand its emergency food operation to meet the needs of up to 12 million people throughout Ethiopia this year. The agency warns it will be forced to cut rations for people in northern Ethiopia if it does not receive the extra funding,
It says it might have to stop distributing food to about 4 million people in Tigray, Afar and Amhara in the coming months if it runs out of money.
This year on November 4tha, the war will mark a year since the Ethiopian government began its military offensive to wrest control of the Tigray region from the Tigray People’s Liberation Front.
Statistics from the UN previously indicated that about 400,000 were already living in famine-like conditions in Tigray. With this numbers expected to rise, about 5.2 million people or 90% of Tigray’s population urgently needed aid “to avert the world’s worst famine situation in decades.
The TPLF and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed were once allies in the government, but fell out over his political reforms, triggering the war that has killed thousands and displaced millions since November. As a result, the rebels recaptured most of the region, including the capital, Mekelle, in June after losing control of most of it early in the war.
Following a row between the politically motivated crisis, the TPLF says it is the legitimate government of Tigray, having won regional elections in 2020 meanwhile the Ethiopian government denounced the poll as illegal and regarding the TPLF as a terrorist organisation.
The TPLF said the 150 deaths were recorded in the central, southern and eastern zones of Tigray, as well in camps in the city of Shire – the birthplace of the group’s leader Debretsion Gebremichael.. the war has exposed the country to nearly one million people at risk of fatal famine for as long as they keep refusing aid agencies to bring the much needed food
Last week, the UN’s acting humanitarian coordinator for Ethiopia, Grant Leaity, called on the Ethiopian government to allow the unimpeded entry of aid to Tigray.
On Sunday, the World Food Programme said that more than 100 trucks of its aid had reached Mekelle for the first time in a fortnight.
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