Over 90% in Ethiopia’s Tigray need emergency food aid: UN

Over 90% in Ethiopia’s Tigray need emergency food aid: UN

Over 90% in Ethiopia’s Tigray need emergency food aid: UN

(News.yahoo)—In need: People displaced by the Tigray conflict queue for food at sunrise at the Um Raquba refugee camp in eastern Sudan

More than 90 percent of people in Ethiopia’s war-torn Tigray region need emergency food aid, the United Nations said Tuesday, as it appealed for over $200 million to scale up its response.

The UN World Food Programme voiced alarm that the conflict had caused an increase in hunger levels which were already high in Tigray.

“A total of 5.2 million people, equivalent to 91 percent of Tigray’s population, need emergency food assistance due to the conflict,” WFP spokesman Tomson Phiri told reporters in Geneva.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, sent troops into the northern region in November to detain and disarm leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the region’s former ruling party.

He said the move came in response to TPLF attacks on federal army camps.

Though he vowed the conflict would be brief, more than six months later fighting continues, reports of atrocities are proliferating, and many leaders are warning of a potential humanitarian catastrophe.

The WFP said it had provided emergency aid to more than a million people since it started distributions in northwestern and southern areas of Tigray in March.

“WFP is alarmed at the impact of conflict on already high levels of hunger,” Phiri said.

“We are deeply concerned at the number of people we see in need of nutrition support and emergency food assistance.

“The WFP is calling for $203 million to continue to scale up its response in Tigray to save lives and livelihoods through to the end of the year.”

– ‘Serious’ famine risk –

Last week, a senior UN official warned the UN Security Council that urgent measures were needed to avoid famine in Tigray, in a briefing seen by AFP.

“There is a serious risk of famine if assistance is not scaled up in the next two months,” wrote Mark Lowcock, the UN’s top emergency relief coordinator.

He estimated that “over 90 percent of the harvest was lost due to looting, burning, or other destruction, and that 80 percent of the livestock in the region were looted or slaughtered.”