“There is currently a famine in Ethiopia,” UN aid chief Mark Lowcock warned on Thursday.
According to the Global System for the Integrated Classification of Food Security (IPC), which assesses food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide, significant parts of the Tigray region are currently in the status of “IPC 5 Catastrophe” – its worst rating.
The main reason for the desperate food situation in Tigrei is the conflict, the report said: “This severe crisis is the result of the cascading effects of the conflict, including population displacement, movement restrictions, limited humanitarian access, crop and livelihood losses and dysfunctional or non-existent markets. “
UN agencies say they are particularly concerned about the risk of widespread famine in Tigre if the conflict escalates and humanitarian aid is severely hampered.
In a tweet following the publication of the report, Lowcock called for urgent funding and unhindered access to aid supplies.
On Thursday, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield called on the UN Security Council to meet publicly for the Tigray region and seek answers from the Ethiopian government.
“We cannot leave Ethiopia to starve. We must act now,” she said.
Fighting between Ethiopian governments and the region’s former ruling party, the People’s Front for the Liberation of Tigre (TPLF), erupted in November 2020. Troops from neighboring Eritrea later joined the conflict in support of the Ethiopian government.
The Ethiopian government has denied an acute food shortage in the country.