A report by the American based World Peace Foundation accuses the Ethiopian federal forces, Eritrean troops and Amhara militia of committing what they describe as “starvation crimes on a large scale,” in Tigray.
Hunger, acute malnutrition and causing deaths and the study says that 50 – 100 deaths a day “is credible.”
Although the authors admit that information is incomplete, because journalists and aid workers are unable to visit large parts of Tigray they conclude that the armed forces are “deliberately causing starvation” and that the available data is “extremely alarming”, “pointing to a massive crisis.”
They highlights the impact that the war has had on Tigray’s population. Of the 5.7 million people some 4.5 million are estimated by the United Nations to be in need.
Since March 22nd this year, aid agencies report that they have had improved access to Tigray and that some supplies have been transported into the region. But areas under the Tigray Defence Force are still all but impossible to reach. This has meant that emergency relief supplies have only reached approximately 1 million of the 4.5 million people in need.
The study points out that since the outbreak of the fighting in November 2020 the food security has deteriorated very rapidly. They quote the Famine Early Warning System’s prediction that by May 2021 large parts of Tigray will be in a Phase 4 crisis. It is just one step below a formal famine and lives will be lost.
The absence of food is not – the authors argue – a phenomenon to be seen on its own.
Families have been deprived of their means of survival by a range of measures inflicted upon them by the invading forces. These include looting, the theft of livestock and cattle and the destruction of crops.
To this list are added the damage inflicted on factories across Tigray, which have meant that families cannot supplement their incomes by wages. Banks too have been destroyed and records lost or frozen. This has left 400,000 households unable to access their savings.
In a forward to the report the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen Clark, says that the fighting must stop to allow the humanitarian agencies to reach the people in need. Presently there is little hope of this plea being answered.
The report ends: “our stark conclusion is that the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea are starving the people of Tigray.”
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