Ethiopia: Nearly half of Tigray’s population needs food aid, says World Food Program
NAIROBI (Reuters) – Nearly half the population of Ethiopia’s Tigray region is in need of food aid after the country’s two-year conflict and difficulties faced by organizations to reach rural areas, the World Food Program (WFP) said on Friday.
Even though food aid resumed after the federal government declared a unilateral ceasefire in March, malnutrition rates have soared and are expected to worsen, the UN agency said in a study .
Services such as banking and telecommunications have been disrupted in Tigray, days after the national army and allied forces withdrew a year ago. They have not yet been restored, preventing the population from buying food, according to the WFP.
Half of pregnant and breastfeeding women in Tigray are malnourished, along with a third of children under five, leading to stunted growth and maternal deaths, according to the report.
In Tigray and the neighboring regions of Afar and Amhara, also affected by the war, an estimated 13 million people are in need of food assistance, a 44% increase since the previous WFP report published in January.
The United Nations said that since April 1, only 1,750,000 liters of fuel have entered Tigray, less than 20 percent of the region’s monthly needs.
Government spokesman Legesse Tulu did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Reuters on the shortfall in fuel deliveries.
Hopes of imminent peace talks between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, the party that controls Tigray, are fading, with the two sides accusing each other of not wanting to sit down the negotiating table.
The fighting has displaced millions of people, plunged parts of Tigray into famine and killed thousands of civilians.
(Report Giulia Paravicini; French version Elitsa Gadeva, edited by Kate Entringer)
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