Ethiopia’s war-hit Tigray region is facing emergency food insecurity as 91 percent of its population needs emergency food aid, the United Nation has warned.
The warning by the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) came as it appealed for more than $200m to scale up its response in the northern region where nearly seven months of fighting has caused an increase in already high hunger levels.
“WFP is alarmed at the impact of conflict on already high levels of hunger,” spokesman Tomson Phiri told reporters in Geneva. “We are deeply concerned at the number of people we see in need of nutrition support and emergency food assistance.”
According to Mark Lowcock, UN’s top emergency relief coordinator, there is a serious risk of famine if assistance is not scaled up in the next two months.” He estimated that “over 90% of the harvest was lost due to looting, burning, or other destruction, and that 80% of the livestock in the region were looted or slaughtered.”
In May, World Health Organization Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is from Tigray, described the situation in the region as “very horrific“, with “many people” dying “because of hunger”.
“A ceasefire and unimpeded access are vital for WFP and all its partners in Tigray to reach all areas and all people desperately in need of life-saving support,” Phiri said.
Moreover, he warned that the agency was witnessing growing levels of malnourishment among women and children. It found that almost half of pregnant or breastfeeding mothers in 53 villages were either moderately or acutely malnourished, while almost a quarter of all children screened were found to be malnourished.
The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has delivered about 315,000 emergency nutrition rations to children and women since February in 31 woredas. In May, WFP reached almost 100,000 children and pregnant or nursing women in all zones except for Western.