Daily US Times: Mark Lowcock, UN humanitarian chief, has said there is famine in northern Ethiopia after the release of a UN-backed analysis of the situation.
He said: “There is famine now. This is going to get a lot worse.”
The UN-backed analysis found that 350,000 people were living in “severe crisis” in the war-torn Tigray region, as well as neighbouring Afar and Amhara.
Tigray has been devastated by fighting between rebels and government forces, with 1.7 million people displaced.
The food situation in the region has reached the level of a “catastrophe”, according to the analysis, which it defines as starvation and death affecting small groups of people spread over large areas.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization, World Food Programme (WFP), and children’s agency Unicef have all called for urgent action to address the crisis.
The analysis – or Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) as it is known – was not endorsed by the government of Ethiopia, which insists that humanitarian access is being expanded as it restores order across the region.
People in Qafta Humera, an isolated district in the west of Tigray, told this week that they were on the verge of starvation.
“We don’t have anything to eat,” one man told to BBC by phone, explaining their livestock and crops had been looted during seven months of war.
He added that they were being prevented from seeking aid by a militia fighting with government forces.
A a farmer in his 40s. said: “We were eating small remains of crops that we managed to hide, but now we don’t have anything.”