The United Nations have reported that 400,000 people are facing famine as a result of recent fighting in the Tigray region of Ethiopia.
Ramesh Rajasingham, UN’s acting Humanitarian Aid Chief, told members of the Security Council at a meeting on Friday, July 2, 2021 in New York that the situation in Tigray had deteriorated dramatically in recent weeks.
Ramesh also revealed that Tigray was experiencing the worst hunger ever recorded in years.
“This is the worst famine situation we have seen in decades, close to 5.2 million people still require humanitarian assistance, the great majority of them women and children,” he said.
The fighting between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and government forces has left thousands of people dead and more than two million people have been displaced since Nov. when rebels rejected political reforms and captured army bases.
In retaliation, the government captured Mekelle later that month.
Following a rapid offensive, rebels retook Mekelle and earlier this week entered Shire town, about 140 kilometres (90 miles) to the north-west, according to UN officials.
In its first public meeting on the crisis, members of the UN Security Council warned that as many as 33,000 children were severely malnourished.
Officials said as a result of the eight month conflict, it has left 1.8m people at the edge of famine.
Despite the declaration of ceasefire and Ethiopian government has surrendered from the conflict since on Monday, 28 June 2021, rebels vowed to drive their “enemies” from the region and there have been reports of reprisal clashes as pressure builds internationally for all sides in the conflict to pull back.
All sides in the conflict have been accused of carrying out mass killings and human rights violations after reports were made by Amnesty International of Ethiopian government blocking aid workers to conflict areas where many are in need of humanitarian assistance which they have been denied.
On Friday, several thousand captured Ethiopian soldiers were paraded through the streets of the Tigrayan regional capital Mekelle.
Rosemary DiCarlo, the UN political affairs chief, told the meeting that further clashes were likely between Tigrayan forces, the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF), and Ethiopian troops, supported by Eritrean soldiers and Amhara regional forces.
“There is potential for more confrontations and a swift deterioration in the security situation which is extremely concerning,” she said, adding: “We urge the TDF to endorse the ceasefire immediately and completely.”
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