Ethiopia: UN Says 350,000 Face Famine in Tigray, Millions in Danger


United Nations experts say some 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s Tigray province are acutely threatened by starvation, with millions more at risk. Agencies and aid groups say conflict is to blame.

More than 350,000 people in embattled Tigray are gravely threatened by famine, with most of the province’s 5.5 million people in need of food aid, a UN report said on Thursday.

UN agencies say the food crisis in Tigray was the worst since the famine that gripped Somalia from 2010 to 2012 killed more than a-quarter-of-a-million Somalis — more than half of them children.

Warning to the world

UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock told a virtual high-level meeting of representatives from the G7 group of major industrialized countries that “there is famine now” in Tigray.

Lowcock warned that “this is going to get a lot worse,” but said “the worst can still be avoided” with immediate action.

The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, UN World Food Program and UNICEF on Thursday warned that another 2 million people “could quickly die of starvation without urgent action.”

Lowcock lamented the fact that some of the key UN agencies seeking to help had “essentially no money.”

“We really do need everybody to step up,” he said.

David Beasley, head of the UN World Food Program, said countless people, especially in rural areas, could not be reached with aid because armed groups were blocking access, he said.

The agencies stressed they were prepared to provide aid but first that they first required access to the region devastated by conflict.