UN agency receives reports of rising hunger in Tigray

UN agency receives reports of rising hunger in Tigray

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said on Tuesday that it is “receiving reports of rising hunger and malnutrition in Tigray”. Tigray Region is recently liberated from the stronghold of Tigray peoples Liberation Front (TPLF) militias by the federal army.

“Although it is still not possible to determine the full extent of the impact of the crisis on the food insecurity of the population, three months of conflict and the dire lack of access to food is exacerbating an already dire situation caused by COVID-19 and locust infestation,” it said.
“Many farmers have missed the harvest season and with regional trade blocked, food is extremely scarce in the local markets. While partial services have been restored in some major towns, electricity, banking, communication and transportation services have yet to be restored in most of the region. Access to cash and banking services is only available in Mekelle,” UNOCHA said.

UNOCHA recalled that the World Health Organization (WHO), which is being led by the former executive committee member of TPLF, Dr. Tedros Adhanom, “has warned about increasing risks of disease spread in the region as access remains a challenge.” “Some 78 per cent of the hospitals remain unfunctional, while medical supplies delivered are not sufficient. Clean water is another concern, as more than 300 water pumps are not functional across the region,” UNOCHA said.

Over the weekend Commissioner Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner for the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC) of Ethiopia told journalists that some of the figures circulating in relation to the issue in Tigray region are not verified by the government.

He also stated that the Commission has been providing food and nonfood assistance to a total of 2.5 million people in Tigray region. He noted that the figure includes the 1.8 million who were under safety net before the federal government launched restoration of rule of law last November.
He noted that 311,000 quintal food arrived and distributed in 92 distribution centers in Tigray region, according to the Commissioner.

TPLF and the federal government went to military confrontation after the former attacked federal government army base in Tigray region as later confirmed by one of the spokespersons of TPLF Seko Ture, who along other TPLF officials was reportedly killed during the operation early this month.
Currently most of the leaders of TPLF are reportedly killed while many other have surrendered including one of the founding members Sibhat Nega considered as godfather of the rebel group.

Currently Tigray region is under state of emergency and being administered by the interim administration appointed by the federal government.
TPLF, which came to power in Ethiopia through arms struggle in May 1991, has been leading Ethiopia dominating the four parties ruling coalition until the reformist Prime Minister Abiy came to power in Aril 2018 on the back of popular protests against the ruling coalition.