Nearly half of people in Ethiopia’s Tigray are in ‘severe’ need for food aid – WFP

Brkti Gebrehiwot, a 20-year-old woman from Aglae, a town once occupied by the Eritrean army, is trying to feed her 1 year and 8-month-old son Ahmanuel Melhawi, who suffers from severe acute malnutrition, at Ukro hospital in Ukro, Tigray province. is. Ethiopia, 11 July 2021. REUTERS/Giulia Paravicini/File Photo

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NAIROBI (Reuters) – Nearly two years of conflict in Ethiopia have left almost half of the population in the Tigray region in “critical” need for food. Aid groups are struggling to reach out to people because fuel supplies are inadequate, the World Food Report Program (WFP) said on Friday.

Despite the resumption of aid delivery after the federal government declared a unilateral ceasefire in March, malnutrition rates have “surgered” and are expected to worsen.

In Tigray, home to about 5.5 million people, services such as banking and telecommunications were suspended days after the withdrawal of national and coalition forces a year ago. According to the United Nations WFP, they have not yet recovered and are hindering people’s ability to purchase food.

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“Hunger is escalating and malnutrition rates are soaring, and the situation will worsen as people enter peak hunger season until the October harvest this year,” the report said.

According to the report, half of pregnant or breastfeeding women in Tigray are malnourished, leading to stunting and maternal death in one-third of children under the age of five.

food aid

Across Tigray and the neighboring Afar and Amhara regions, also affected by war, an estimated 13 million people are in need of food aid, a 44% increase from the previous WFP report released in January.

According to the United Nations, only 1.75 million liters of fuel have flowed into Tigray since 1 April, which, even with all supplies, would still meet 20% of the region’s monthly humanitarian needs. It’s just a negligible amount.

The impact of fuel shortages can be seen in an increase in the number of people in need of food aid in Tigre. In January, when the region was under what the United Nations called a virtual lockdown for six months, 83% of people needed food aid.

Although large convoys began to enter the Tigray again in April, aid workers struggled to distribute food, with the number of people in need increasing to 89%, with ‘critical’ needs increasing. People increased from 37% in January to 47% in August.

A government spokesperson, Legesse Tulu, did not immediately respond to a request by Reuters for comment on the fuel supply shortage.

Hopes of imminent peace talks between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the party that controls Tigray, are fading.

The government said earlier this month that it wanted talks “without preconditions”, but the Tigre government first sought to restore services to civilians.

The fighting has displaced millions, starved parts of the Tigre region, and killed thousands of civilians.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, from Tigray, suggested this week that racism is behind the lack of international attention to the plight of civilians in the region.Read more

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Reported by Giulia Paravicini. Edited by Hereward Holland, Gareth Jones, Mark Potter

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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