Hunger: Helpers: North Ethiopia facing catastrophe

Helpers: North Ethiopia facing catastrophe

Ethiopian government soldiers ride a truck through the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

As people starve and die in Ethiopia, the government has balked at criticism from the head of the World Health Organization. He’s from the country himself.

According to the United Nations, the last food rations for malnourished children and starving adults in northern Ethiopia are running out.

The World Food Program (WFP) has been unable to deliver since December due to intense fighting in the Tigray region. “We are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe,” WFP East Africa director Michael Dunford said on Friday.

The government in Addis Ababa defended itself against criticism from the head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He had described the conditions there as “hell” and accused the government of deliberately withholding food and medicine from the approximately seven million people in Tigray with a blockade. The government accused Tedros, who is from the region, of meddling in internal affairs, inflating the number of people in need and being a member of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Reports of attacks on civilians in Tigray

The bloody conflict began in November 2020. The central government, which had come into office two years earlier, wanted to oust the TPLF, which rules in Tigray. This had previously dominated all of Ethiopia. The multi-ethnic state in East Africa with 115 million inhabitants is in danger of falling apart as a result of the fighting.

According to WFP, 9.4 million people in Tigray and neighboring regions are in need of food assistance. People in other parts of Ethiopia are also dependent on help, but the WFP soon lacked the financial means to be able to help.

The UN Human Rights Office reported on Friday in Geneva that Ethiopian military attacks had caused severe destruction in Tigray. At least 108 people have died there since the beginning of the year. On Monday alone, 17 people, mostly women, were killed in a drone attack on a mill. The Human Rights Office called on the government to comply with international law and protect civilians from attacks.


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