Ethiopia: Tigray, Civil War, Famine
By admin July 8, 2021














The situation in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, has gripped the headlines over the last few months as one of the largest countries in Africa slipped into a potential civil war. Ramesh Rajasingham, the UN’s Acting Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, noted the following at a recent July 2nd Security Council meeting : “More than 400,000 people are estimated to have crossed the threshold into famine and another 1.8 million people are on the brink of famine. Some are suggesting that the numbers are even higher. [Currently,]33,000 children are severely malnourished.”

The roots of the current conflict, which started in November, 2020, are based in to Ethiopia’s complex regional/ethnic issues. As the BBC noted: “The conflict started on 4 November, when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered a military offensive against regional forces in Tigray. He said he did so in response to an attack on a military base housing government troops there. The escalation came after months of feuding between Mr Abiy’s government and leaders of Tigray’s dominant political party. For almost three decades, the party was at the centre of power, before it was sidelined by Mr Abiy, who took office in 2018 after anti-government protests.”

PM Ahmed, who won the 2019 Nobel Peace Winner, for his work in ending the 20-year post-war territorial stalemate between Ethiopia and Eritrea, expected the military engagement would end in weeks. However, the war escalated, and Abiy partnered with troops from neighboring Eritrea and other militias within Ethiopia. This has made the situation worse and the military conflict which started with the Ethiopian army on the offensive has since reversed with Tigray forces taking over and forcing a surprise defeat.

Over the past eight months, only few credible reports were available about what is happening in Tigray. These reports indicate humanitarian crimes such as rape, massacres, ethnic cleansing, and looting. More than 60,000 refugees have fled to neighboring Sudan. As a result of these events, famine has now taken hold in Tigray. According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, a system developed by aid agencies and governments to determine the level of hunger, 350,000 people were at Phase 5 on its scale of 1-5 where 5 constitutes famine. A further 5m people were classified as being either in “crisis” or “emergency”. To give a scale for this problem, the population of Tigray is 7.07m in 2020.

The war in Tigray impacted Ethiopia’s global image with many international agencies, who believed that the country could quickly reach middle-income status and forever remove the images of desperate hunger that are commonly associated with it. On the contrary, the Ethiopian government accused the international community of exaggerating the conflict effects in Tigray.

Furthermore, recent news indicates that a starvation strategy might be employed in this conflict since multiple aid agencies reported facing challenges and risks in delivering aids to civilians in Tigray. In addition to the reported challenges, a key bridge on Tekeze river was recently destroyed, and this will hamper aid efforts in the region.

At the moment, there is no clear end for this conflict since TPLF rejected the Ethiopian government unilateral cease-fire on June 28. However, the international community hopes that the Ethiopian government declaration to cease-fire helps in reducing the hunger and starvation crisis in Tigray region.

#Ethiopia #Tigray #famine #UNHumanRights #AbiyAhmed

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Thanks for sharing !

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