More than 350,000 people are experiencing famine in the conflict-stricken region of Tigray in Ethiopia. This is stated in a new report by the United Nations and other assistance groups, published on the website of the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).
An IPC analysis update conducted that Tigray is in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). his severe crisis results from the cascading effects of conflict, including population displacements, movement restrictions, limited humanitarian access, loss of harvest and livelihood assets, and dysfunctional or non-existent markets.
As of May 2021, 5.5 million people (61% of the people in the area) are facing high levels of acute food insecurity: 3.1 million people are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) and 2.1 million people in Emergency (IPC Phase 4). And 353,000 people are in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).
The situation is expected to worsen through September 2021, with 4.4 million people (74% of the population analysed) in Crisis or worse (IPC Phase 3 or above). Among these, an estimated 400,000 people are expected to face Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5). These estimations take into account an expansion of humanitarian assistance to reach 60% of the population.
If the conflict further escalates or, for any other reason, humanitarian assistance is hampered, most areas of Tigray will be at Risk of Famine.
The United Nations is urging an increase in funding for food programs for Ethiopia and unhindered access to aid delivery.
On Thursday, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on the UN Security Council to meet publicly in the Tigray region and demand answers from the Ethiopian government, as CNN reports.
The Ethiopian government has denied there are severe food shortages in the country.
Fighting between Ethiopian government troops and the region's former ruling party, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), broke out in November 2020. The conflict between the central government and the Tiger rebels began after the country's government was headed by Abiy Ahmed in April 2018.
Troops from neighbouring Eritrea latterly joined the conflict in support of the Ethiopian government.