| Some 350 000 people in Ethiopia's Tigray in famine – UN document

  • According
    to an unpublished analysis document by UN agencies and aid groups, some 350 000
    people in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are in famine.
  • Violence in
    conflict-torn Tigray has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of
    thousands from their homes.
  • The
    Ethiopian government disputes the analysis.

ABABA/NEW YORK – An unpublished analysis by United Nations agencies and aid
groups estimates some 350 000 people in Ethiopia’s conflict-torn Tigray region
are in famine conditions, according to an internal UN document seen by Reuters
on Wednesday.

Ethiopian government disputes the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification
(IPC) analysis, according to the notes of a meeting on Monday of the
Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) – made up of the heads of at least 18 UN
and non-UN organisations.

Famine has
been declared twice in the past decade – in Somalia in 2011 and in South Sudan
in 2017, according to the IPC. UN agencies, aid groups, governments and other
relevant parties use the IPC to work together to determine a situation.

document read:

On the risk of famine, it was noted that the unpublished IPC analysis figures were being disputed by the Ethiopian government, notably the estimated 350 000 people across Tigray believed to be in IPC 5 famine conditions.

It also
said the analysis had found that millions more across Tigray required
“urgent food and agriculture/livelihoods support to avert further slides
towards famine”.

A senior
Ethiopian diplomat in New York, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed
that the government disputed the analysis, questioning the survey methods and
accusing the IPC of a lack of transparency and not enough consultation with
relevant authorities.

An Ethiopian refugee, who fled the Tigray conflict, walks in the Tenedba camp in Mafaza, eastern Sudan on 8 January 2021.

Fighting in
Tigray broke out in November between government troops and the region’s former
ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Troops from neighbouring
Eritrea have also entered the conflict in support of Ethiopia’s government.

violence in Tigray has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of
thousands from their homes in the mountainous region of more than 5 million.

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