Over 350,000 people are suffering from famine conditions in the conflict-torn region of Tigray in Ethiopia, according to a report by United Nations (UN) agencies and other aid groups.
“There is famine now in Tigray,” UN Relief Chief Mark Lowcock warned after the release of the report on June 10.
According to the Integrated Food and Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, 353,000 people in Tigray and the neighboring zones of Amhara and Afar are in the “Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5)” level of its system — its most severe rating.
“This is the highest number of people in IPC Phase 5 since the 2011 famine in Somalia,” the report noted.
The number is part of a total of 5.5 million people suffering from “high levels of acute food insecurity” despite major humanitarian food assistance in recent months, the report found.
The report cites the conflict in the region as the major cause of famine situation.
“This severe crisis results from the cascading effects of conflict, including population displacements, movement restrictions, limited humanitarian access, loss of harvest and livelihood assets, and dysfunctional or non-existent markets,” the report stated.
The report also warned that the situation is expected to worsen through September.
World Food Program Executive Director David Beasley said that they have appealed for humanitarian access to the region but armed groups continue to block aid groups.
“Access must be extended well beyond major cities to reach people in desperate need wherever they may be, with adequate assistance and without delay,” Beasley said.
After the release of the report, Ethopia’s Ambassador to the UN Taye Atske-Selassie Amde told news media company Al Jazeera that the government has accused the IPC analysis of not being transparent and described its methodology as “inefficient and insufficient.”