Ethiopia: Fear of mass starvation amid Tigray crisis

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Hundreds of thousands of people may starve to death in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, according to a government official quoted in leaked notes from a meeting of humanitarian workers.

The federal government’s Tigray Emergency Coordination Center (ECC) is assessing the humanitarian situation in the region following the civil conflict between federal troops and local armed groups in November last year. While the government claimed victor at the end of November, sporadic fighting leaves the region in a volatile state with the humanitarian situation described by the UN as “severe”.

Mass starvation fears after Tigray conflict

The ECC says 4.5 million people need emergency food aid in the Tigray region where the total population stands somewhere between 5-7million. More than 50,000 fled to neighbouring Sudan to escape the violence and Ethiopian soldiers were seen preventing them from crossing back into the country to collect family members.

According to leaked notes from the latest ECC meeting, one official stated that hundreds of thousands of people could starve to death unless emergency assistance is delivered immediately. People are already dying as the result of food shortages, according to the same official, while another described locals begging for “a single biscuit” from their escort.

Ethiopia Prime Minister and Nobel Peace Prize winner insists the government’s army is using reasonable force to restore law in the Tigray region yet reports continue to emerge of ethnically-targeted violence, killings, rape and other abuses.

EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said in a statement on Friday that the conflict had gone “well beyond a purely internal ‘law and order’ operation”.

“We receive consistent reports of ethnic-targeted violence, killings, massive looting, rapes, forceful returns of refugees [to Eritrea] and possible war crimes,” he said.

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About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.