The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) has warned of an imminent famine in Ethiopia’s northern Tigrayprovince that could push millions to starvation in Ethiopia.
The combined effects of conflict, drought, floods, a desert locust invasion, market turmoil, rising food prices, and the coronavirus pandemic have left an estimated 13.6 million people in food insecurity.
WFP Representative in Ethiopia Stephen Ware Umamo said that full and timely food support is critical to alleviating the suffering of millions across Ethiopia and warned that millions could fall into severe hunger and suffering by early this year.
According to Ethiopia’s latest food security outlook, high levels of severe food insecurity are expected in Ethiopia until at least mid-2022.
In northern Ethiopia, the food security situation in the Afar, Amhara, and Tigray provinces is already critical and will worsen if conflict-induced interruptions to humanitarian assistance and ongoing disruption in flows continue, in addition to already significant losses in food and income.
Furthermore, Ethiopia’s southern and southeastern pastoral regions are facing a third consecutive below-average rainfall season, with worsening drought causing significant livestock losses, placing fragile livelihoods at risk, and worsening food insecurity until mid-2022.
This comes at a time when Human Rights Watch said that Ethiopian authorities arbitrarily detained, mistreated, and forcibly disappeared thousands of Tigrayans who were recently deported.
It also condemned the detention of Tigrayan deportees by Ethiopian authorities at checkpoints on the roads leading to Tigray or at Semera Airport in the Afar region and their transfer to detention centres in Afar or southern Ethiopia.