An analysis by UN agencies and aid groups estimates that some 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s conflict-ravaged Tigris region are on hunger strike, according to a UN internal document seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
The Ethiopian government is challenging the analysis of the Integrated Classification of Food Security Phases (IPC), according to the notes of a meeting on the situation in Tigray of the Interdepartmental Standing Committee (IASC) ̵
“With regard to the risk of famine, it was noted that the unpublished figures from the IPC analysis have been challenged by the Ethiopian government, in particular around 350,000 people in Tigrei who are believed to be in a famine under IPC 5”, says the June 7 document.
The analysis, which diplomats said could be made public on Thursday, found that millions more in Tigrei needed “urgent food and agriculture / livelihood support to avoid further slips to starvation.”
Fighting in Tigre broke out in November between government troops and the region’s former ruling party, the Tigre People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
Troops from neighboring Eritrea have also entered the conflict in support of the Ethiopian government.
The violence killed thousands of civilians and forced more than 2 million of their homes in the mountainous region.
The committee, chaired by UN aid chief Mark Lowcock, includes the UN Children’s Agency, UNICEF, the World Food Program, the High Commissioner for Refugees, the World Health Organization and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Mituku Kasa, head of Ethiopia’s National Commission for Prevention and Preparedness, said Thursday that declaring a famine would be wrong. He accused the TPLF of attacking aid convoys.
“We have no shortage of food,” he told a news conference.
More than 90% of people have received help from five operators, he said. “The residual forces of the TPLF … are attacking the staff, they are attacking the food trucks.”
Reuters could not be reached for comment by TPLF, and Mituku did not provide details of the alleged attacks.
The Ethiopian government’s emergency task force on Tigrei, Prime Minister Abi Ahmed’s cabinet and the foreign ministry did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
A senior Ethiopian diplomat in New York, speaking on condition of anonymity, questioned the research methods and accused the IPC of a lack of transparency and inadequate consultation.
Famine has been declared twice in the last decade, in Somalia in 2011 and in South Sudan in 2017. UN agencies, aid groups, governments and other stakeholders use the IPC to work together to determine the severity of insecurity. of food.
The United Nations said Wednesday that there have been reports of aid refusals and interrogations, assaults and detentions of humanitarian workers at military checkpoints, along with looting and confiscation of humanitarian assets and supplies from the parties to the conflict.
“Levels of food insecurity and malnutrition are at alarming levels,” said UN spokesman Stefan Dujarric.
There have been reports of famine among displaced people, while in the northwestern part of Tigrei there was a serious need for food after the burning or plunder of the crop. He does not attribute guilt.
Another UN spokesman declined to comment specifically on IASC’s internal comments.
Our standards: Thomson Reuters’ principles of trust.