Tigray: the humanitarian situation – aid, food security and famine

This is a chapter from the report: Tigray War and Regional Implications, which you can The Tigray War and Regional Implications – Volume 1.


The Humanitarian Situation: Aid, Food Security and Famine

By Felicity Mulford[1]

  • Food Security in Tigray

To fully understand the devastating impact the ongoing conflict could have on food security in Tigray, it is essential to recognise the regions history of food insecurity, conflict and development. This chapter aims to provide an overview of the environmental and human factors which have led to food insecurity in the past, before setting the unnerving scene unfolding in Tigray today. Not only is starvation currently being used as a weapon of war, but lifesaving food aid is being obstructed from reaching those in need. Despite decades of improvement in food security across Tigray, a famine far exceeding the devastation of the 1984-85 famine could indeed occur in the coming months. The chapter will end by painting a solemn picture of what we can expect in the region, if unfettered access is not granted to humanitarian workers, if relief is not delivered or capacities of Tigrayans enhanced.

 

A historically food insecure region

 

“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” the World Food Summit[2]

 

When one thinks of Ethiopia, it is hard not to picture the devasting images which emerged during the famines of 1973-74 or 1984-85. The harrowed faces of thousands of people, skin and bone, waiting in line for aid distributions. The distressing realisation that they were the lucky ones. The events which unfolded in 1973-74, were by no means new. In fact, famines and droughts have been reported in Ethiopia as far back as 250 BC.[3] Written over a thousand years ago, a letter in the ‘Book of Saints of the Ethiopian Church’ from the Christian Emperor of Ethiopia conveyed suffering in Ethiopia: “Great tribulation hath come upon our lands and all our men are dying of the plague, and our beasts and cattle have perished and God hath restrained the heavens so that they cannot rain upon our land…”[4]

 

Although historical records are incomplete, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that monstrous famines have devastated Ethiopia more than 40 times in the past 500 years.[5] Some centuries, such as the 13th and 20th appear historically significant, with more than 4 calamitous famines on record.[6] In the 20th century alone, the region of Tigray dealt with devastating famines in 1958-59, 1965-67 and in 1973 -74, the last of which many scholars argue never ended and merely moulded into the 1984-85 famine.[7] The total death toll for the famine events during the 20th century is speculated to have reached around 1.8 million people, however the real figure will never be known.[8]

 

A combination of interrelated factors has contributed to the region of Tigray’s vulnerability to chronic hunger and food insecurity. These include recurrent drought and environmental degradation due to population pressures, poor policy planning and implementation, and perhaps most significantly, intermittent conflicts.

 

 

7.2 Environmental drivers of hunger

The Tigrayan region of Northern Ethiopia is situated in the highlands amongst rugged terrain. Set within the Tekezze Basin, the region is characterised by steep escarpments juxtaposed against flatlands. Miles of cropland are interrupted by the occasional bush, shrub or patch of grassland, while forests are few and far between.[9] Three quarters of all Tigrayans live in rural communities, often living from harvest to harvest, relying on subsistence farming to provide their main source of food.[10] This has meant that, historically, harvest failures could be enough to plunge rural families into famine throughout the highlands of Tigray. The stony soils contribute to the constantly low crop yields[11] and many households rely on the freedom of movement for seasonal work to ensure that they can pay for additional food when it’s needed.

 

Droughts and Rainfall

 

Tigray faces repeated droughts.[12] Although droughts have been recorded throughout Ethiopian history, analysts have indicated that these instances are becoming more pronounced as a result of climate change.[13]  Every two to five years, moderate to severe droughts have affected Tigray, limiting water availability and increasing the vulnerability of livestock to diseases, including Pasteurellosis.[14] The droughts can be explained by a combination of climatic and human factors.[15]

 

Increasingly, extreme temperatures and irregular rainfall are seen across the Horn of Africa.[16] Since 1950, research has shown that temperatures have risen by 0.37 degrees Celsius every ten years.[17] Studies of rainfall indicate substantial decreases in rain over the same period. Rainfall varies between 400 to 1800 mm per year, with higher levels of rainfall near the cliffs and escarpments. The Southern region of low-lying Western Tigray receives the most rainfall, creating a more fertile and prosperous environment for agricultural production.[18]  With wet days becoming fewer and further between, and days and nights warming[19] the crop growing periods are reducing, as is crop yield.[20] A lack of rainfall hits the many subsistence farmers the hardest. Without irrigation systems which feed off the limited groundwater supply or harnessing the naturally flowing rivers and lakes, the crops struggle to grow. The near total reliance on rainfall for food production leaves families very vulnerable to even the slightest changes in the climate. Water shortages for personal consumption and for food production limit the livelihoods of people in rural areas. As a result, climate variability can have significant implications on food security, nutrition, and health.[21]

 

Growing seasons vary within the region, with areas in the North Western and Western Tigray having slightly longer growing periods. North East Tigray, near the Rift Valley escarpment suffers from the shortest growing periods and the least variation in rainfall. This makes North East Tigray more predisposed to crop failure than the rest of region.[22] Growing periods in the majority of Tigray span from June to September, in line with the Kiremt rainfall. In preparation for the Kiremt rain during 2021, from May onwards farmers will plough their fields. This might not be possible due to the ongoing conflict in the region, providing great cause for concern for food insecurity amongst subsistence farmers. For areas where risk of crop failure is already high and chronic hunger is rife, the ongoing conflict will likely have huge consequences if agriculture is disrupted.

 

The ‘belg’ rainfall period lasts from February to May and is important for farmers in the South Eastern Woredas of Tigray. In March 2021, this rainfall had reduced by 25-50% compared to the normal average according to remote sensing imagery. Insufficient rainfall has already impacted 26,000 hectares of arable land and over 70,000 households.[23] The challenge of producing enough food for survival is already immense. The impact of limited rainfall and ongoing conflict compound the existing challenge of producing enough food for survival in difficult terrain.[24]

 

Population Pressures and environmental degradation

 

Drought is caused not only by the increase in temperature and decrease in rainfall, but also by environmental degradation and desertification – a result of human activities, such as overgrazing, overcultivation, deforestation and poor developmental policies.[25] The social pressures caused by an increasing population has contributed to the environmental degradation and desertification of the already harsh landscape.

 

The majority of Tigrayans live in the highlands, where the climate is moister, risk of disease is lower and volcanic deposits have led to strips of fertile soils. People are congregated in towns, or rural areas where rainfall is higher.[26] Despite the tough growing conditions, subsistence agriculture is the main land use in Tigray. Crops vary across the region, depending on altitude and soil type.[27] In the highlands wheat, barley and pulses are grown, while the lowlands maize, sorghum and sesame are produced.[28] Farmers rely on livestock for a number of essential roles: to plough and prepare fields, to transport grains for sowing and produce to market, for natural fertilisers and for food security should times get hard.[29]

 

The inhabitants of Tigray rely on mixed farming methods across fragmented and overused land.[30] The population pressures mean land is not left fallow. By repeatedly cultivating the land, the farmers remove the essential nutrients from the soil and ultimately turn soil into dust,[31] a process known as desertification. Although environmental stewardship in the long term would be better for food production in the region, the UN Environment Programme noted that the lack of immediate benefits to the people living on the land has often prevented long-term planning in the region. Poverty is a major contributor to environmental degradation.[32]  A number of studies have highlighted the “self-perpetuating cycle of increased human demand on the ecosystem and vulnerability to famine.”[33] Desertification reduces the ability of the soils to sustain life, resulting in low productivity and food production.[34]

 

Additional research indicates that the absence of vegetative cover causes a higher level of reflection of the sun’s radiation, leading to drier soils and the formation of fewer clouds.[35] Through overgrazing and desertification, farmers are contributing to the persistent cycle of droughts in the region. The combination of a loss of vegetative cover, the compaction of the land from the movement of livestock and dry weather can contribute to an overall reduction in soil fertility and an erosion of the little fertile topsoil. With topsoil eroded, land becoming sandier and fewer rains, the ability of Tigrayans to grow crops will diminish.[36] Some scholars have even argued that topsoil erosion was a major contributing factor to the 1984 famine.[37] In 1990, it was estimated that 1,900 million tons of soil was being eroded annually due to human activities, with 76% of the highlands significantly eroded, and 4% unable to support food production. In the 1990s projections estimated that by 2010 18% of the highlands would be bare rock and un-farmable.[38] Considerable effort has been made since the 1990s to look after the environment through government-led initiatives. By 2020, the rate of soil erosion was a loss of 2.2 tons per hectare of land per year.[39]

 

In 1950 Ethiopia’s forests covered 44% of the total land. Wood is required for fires and cooking and as the population has increased, deforestation has reduced Ethiopia’s forest covering to just 4% of the total land by the 1980’s.[40] Some commentators have described the highlands as ‘bald’.[41] Today forests are rare and located in isolated, often protected areas.[42] Natural woodlands still exist along the Rift Valley’s eastern escarpment, in an area that is not suitable for farming.[43] However not all of the rugged cliffs have scared off farmers. Lack of farmable land has led people to farm unprotected areas. This too has had a negative impact on the ecosystem, as the thin topsoil is then exposed to the wind and rain, and blown or washed away during the infrequent rains.[44]

 

To combat these problems, over the past few decades woodland regeneration projects along with an array of conservation measures have helped to boost the amount of small shrub and tree species, and protect the vital ecosystem from further harm.[45] Although soil and water conservation measures have improved the level of environmental stewardship in the region, much of the environment is still being stretched beyond its agronomic limits.[46] Since the 1990s agricultural policies have focussed on building the resilience of the soils and water supplies to make the region more productive. Since then, vegetative cover, groundwater availability and agricultural outputs have improved. Along with the rise in environmental protections, irrigation systems have been implemented in areas, including the Sesame growing regions of Western Tigray, boosting productivity and local engagement in water conservation.[47]

 

Desert Locusts

 

Cereals form part of the staple diet in Tigray and unsurprisingly represent the most common crop. Unfortunately, desert locusts are a recurrent problem in the region.[48] The desert locust invasion at the end of 2020 was the worst in 70 years, destroying crops across 120,300 hectares of land in South, South East, Eastern and Central Tigray.[49] According to the Tigray Bureau of Agriculture, 25% of the harvest in these regions was destroyed by locusts. Many farmers harvested their crops early to avoid losing too much to the plague. This meant that the cereals harvested would not have been fully grown, instantly reducing the farm’s output. To make matters worse, reports indicate that the locusts got into many grain stores across the region, ravaging what was harvested as well as the seed which would have been used for the following harvest. This increased Tigray’s vulnerability to food insecurity before the conflict began.

 

The combination of human activities coupled with the changing climate is contributing to the vicious cycle of poverty and food insecurity in Tigray. Traditional agricultural practises, land degradation and poverty mean that food insecurity in Tigray is pervasive,[50] and many families rely on safety net programmes to support their dietary needs.[51] When these vulnerabilities compound with biblical plagues of desert locusts and ongoing conflict, it is unsurprising that food insecurity is prevalent.

 

  • Policy Driven Hunger 1970-1991

 

There is no doubt that the climate in Tigray has contributed to food insecurity in the region. However, this alone did not cause the famines of 1973-74 and 1984-85, or the food insecurity seen today. The climate and population pressures have been intensified by a series of poor policies, implemented by successive regimes in Ethiopia between 1971 and 1999.

 

Chronic hunger under Emperor Haile Selassie’s regime (1971-1974)

 

Across history books, Emperor Haile Selassie reputation is debated. He bears the reputation of a great leader, an international figure, a god-like character and a moderniser. In the 1930’s and under his rule the Italian colonial armies were successfully fought off, freeing Ethiopia from the threat of colonialism. Infrastructure across Ethiopia improved greatly, in the form of new roads, airports, and a national airline. His legacy has remained vibrant across Africa as the lead advocate for the formation of the OAU, and his contribution to African history was reaffirmed when his statue was unveiled in Addis Ababa outside the African Union’s headquarters in 2019.[52] To those who follow the Rastafarian religion, he was God incarnate and tributes to him can be heard in Bob Marley’s music.[53]

 

However, during his reign little attention was paid to the issue of chronic hunger, which was rife throughout Ethiopia.[54]  For the average Ethiopian, Haile Selassie’s regime was no more than a leech sucking the life from their communities. Through crippling taxes, pillaging by the army and the squashing of any rebellions, lives were restricted, and ethnic divisions were engrained.[55] Consecutive famines occurred in Ethiopia under this regime. When warnings reached Addis Ababa about famine like conditions in Wollo in 1970, for fear of political embarrassment, Haile Selassie didn’t acknowledge the situation and very little was done by the Ethiopian regime. By the time the story broke in the news, the situation in Wollo was devastating. The relief which reached Wollo was too little, too late for many. Hundreds of thousands died of hunger while Haile Selassie fed red meat to his caged lions. Limited political will to deal with the causes and consequences of chronic hunger in Ethiopia, and the draconian bureaucratic processes in place meant that aid was severely delayed and many lives lost.[56]

 

“[B]ad government, every bit as much as bad weather has been a crucial factor in the historical susceptibility… to drought and famine” Graham Hancock[57]

 

The famine in Wollo was arguably the breaking point for many Ethiopians. It represented the breakdown of the illusion of a god-like ruler, who ultimately allowed his people to starve just to protect his own political reputation.[58] This period exemplifies how political decisions can have terrible consequences for human life and dignity. The revolution which led to the overthrow of Haile Selassie’s regime in 1974 was fuelled by a loss of faith in the existing power structures and a quest for social justice in Ethiopia. For too long Ethiopians had lived in servitude to an imperial regime which served the interests of a small group of aristocrats.

 

Chronic hunger under Mengistu’s Marxist regime (1977-1991)

 

Following the revolution in 1974, the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Party’s (EPRP) promised to end famine and improve the welfare of everyday Ethiopians. Ending famines and chronic hunger in Ethiopia became a political symbol for the revolution, stirring great support across Ethiopia.[59]  The regime known as the Derg, was led by Colonel Mengitsu Haile Mariam, who took inspiration from Lenin’s Marxist ideologies and fostered geopolitical ties with Russia.

 

In the beginning, there was evidence of real progress. The Derg set up the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission (RRC), the first state level mechanism which focussed on the prevention of widespread hunger. Through fact finding missions, this group assessed the needs of the people and the causes of the previous famines, with a view to improve the lives of everyday Ethiopians. The RRC was crucial in instigating a number of structural reforms which sought to improve food security, including the abolishment of the system of feudal land tenure in March 1975.[60] However, the RRC has been criticised for not including famine-vulnerable people in their political processes. For example, the EPRP’s representatives in Tigray imposed these new land reforms by measuring and dividing the land in Tigray, with no public consultation.[61] People were moved from land they had always farmed with almost no warning. The people of Tigray were suspicious of the new leadership.

 

Despite attempts to understand and improve food security, ten years later in 1984, Wollo and Tigray were yet again hit with famine. The world awakened to the horrors of famine, with news coverage and reports reaching all corners of the increasingly interconnected world. Even this regime, which had symbolised the fight against famine in their rise to power, could not fend off famine in the region. In fact, many scholars argue that poorly planned and implemented development strategies directly contributed to recurring food insecurity and underdevelopment in the region.[62] Some scholars have even found trends between areas worse hit by the famines of 1977-1988 and specific government initiatives.[63]

 

Scholars identify a number of policies carried out by the Derg which may have contributed to famine-like conditions in Tigray and Wollo. This includes the Government resettlement programmes, the ‘Surplus producing Woredas’ scheme, also known as the ‘Producer Cooperatives’, the Villagisation initiative, and perhaps the least spoken about, their counter-insurgency campaigns. Although the RRC had played an important role in famine relief work in the 1970s, during the 1980s the Derg began to use the RRC to control and implement these new policies. Some commentators have indicated a belief that it was their intention to reduce food security in the Tigray region and neighbouring Eritrea (which was then part of Ethiopia) to starve their political opponents.[64] Extremely high taxes including, rather ironically, the ‘Famine Relief Tax’ placed additional burdens on those already struggling to meet their basic needs.[65]

 

Government Resettlement

 

The Derg acknowledged the environmental degradation and population pressures faced in the highlands. To lessen the strain on the environment, the Derg began a resettlement scheme which moved people to more fertile areas elsewhere in Ethiopia. This was a highly unpopular policy. Ethiopia’s regions are inhabited by several distinct ethnic groups with different languages and cultures. During the famine of 1984 resettlement from Tigray was scaled up by the Derg, forcefully relocating people from the highlands as part of their famine response.

 

The resettlement scheme faced political and social criticisms. Little attention was paid to the chances or opportunities at the destinations for the people who were relocated. Additionally, the main food producing and politically active age group was relocated, starving the Tigray region of its workforce and in many cases, of its leadership. Prior to the famine the resettlement scheme had had limited success. A study from 1984 found that none of the people who had been resettled prior to the famine were food secure or self-sufficient, instead they relied on government subsidies to stay alive.[66] When resettlement was scaled up to combat the 1984 famine the Derg already knew that the scheme was not an effective strategy for improving food security. This has led commentators to question the motives of the Derg, including fears of genocidal intent and the dissolution of political opposition.[67]

 

Unfortunately, the highlands of Ethiopia are no more fertile as a result of this mass forced relocation, and many who were resettled became reliant on food aid and government subsidies within the resettlement camps.[68] One source indicates that in 1987, 800,000 people were resettled, however, 150,000 of these died as a result and 100,000 chose to leave their new locations in the search for better opportunities.[69] Other more conservative estimates note that a minimum of 50,000 died from the resettlement scheme. Médicines Sans Frontiers (MSF) along with other aid agencies operating in the region at this time, including Oxfam and World Vision, believe that more people died of famine-like conditions and limited access to essential services in the resettlement camps, than those who escaped forced relocation and remained in Tigray. If verified this would be a shocking revelation.

 

 Surplus producing Woredas

 

In the early 1980s the Peasant Agricultural Development Extension Program (PADEP), under the auspices of the World Bank and Ministry of Agriculture, suggested a plan for creating a set of policies which improved agricultural productivity in a number of ‘surplus producing arejas’ within the country, which could sustain intensive agriculture.  However, following domestic and international criticism of the government’s handling of the 1984-85 famine, and in an attempt to maintain control of their socialist agenda, the Derg rebranded the program as the ‘surplus producing weredas’. The Derg’s policy was more expansive than the PADEP plan, introducing surplus producing woredas across Tigray, in locations which were not suitable for intensive agriculture due to insufficient rainfall and infertile soils.

 

These centrally controlled, state farm systems often ignored the interests and knowledge of local farmers. Decisions made from above on the use of fertilisers and poor choices of crops meant that many of these sites were not surplus producing at all. Strict grain quotas placed an additional burden on those living in these areas as they were often unable to meet their own needs, let alone produce more to provide to the Derg. New policies which restricted trade in these locations meant that petty trading was no longer an option when additional funds were needed. As such, the state farms provided an additional level of control over the Tigrayans, with non-farm activities also restricted and a ban on migration for seasonal labour. The farms removed the ability for many to sustain themselves through secondary income streams.[70] Unfortunately, when the drought of 1987 hit, the farmers living in surplus producing areas were affected worse than other areas. Many more people had to rely on food aid within these Woredas than in other localities which did not receive the same government regulation.[71] The mismanagement and reliance on unpaid labour led many disgruntled farmers to flee these systems for more autonomy.

 

Villagisation

 

Although development in Ethiopia was one of the Derg’s priorities, under its banner “Ethiopia First”, it is clear that the policy choices and attempts to speed up development were not always effective; some policies were even counterproductive. From 1985 onwards, the government sought to shortcut development of the rural sector by forcing families to move and create towns and villages,[72] an initiative known as the villagisation scheme. On instruction and often through intimidation, families dismantled their homes, carried them on their backs and rebuilt them in new villages in locations selected by the government. The villagisation scheme faced intense resistance from families in the highlands. However, this resistance was met with new restrictive policies which coerced people into moving. For example, new legislation came into force which prevented families living in rural areas outside of the new village systems, from re-thatching their roofs. These policies sought to make it impossible for families to stay in rural communities.[73]

 

The houses were built in rows, similar to a western style town complex, something alien to the families who had lived spread out across the Ethiopian highlands. By 1988, the government claimed that nine million people in Tigray and Eritrea had moved into these villages, accounting for one third of the rural community in less than four years.[74] However, again this policy was hastily rolled out across the region. The new villages were not located in areas suitable for the influx of the surrounding rural communities. They quickly placed enormous stress on the immediate environment, leading to environmental degradation and a drop in agricultural productivity.[75] Populations soared and local facilities, such as schools, couldn’t cope with the increased demand. With less food being produced, more people and accelerated environmental degradation, the villagisation scheme did not achieve its goal to develop the rural community and improve food security. Instead, food insecurity and hunger soared in the new villages across Tigray.[76]

 

A similarity across these three policies is the top-down approach applied by the Derg. Little care or consultation was given to the views of those forcibly resettled, those living within surplus producing woredas, or the people affected by villagisation. Scholars have argued that the agricultural development policies under Mengistu “reveals a legacy of unforgivable folly, mismanagement and neglect.”[77] These policy choices were met with intense scrutiny. Commentators have expressed their beliefs that there was a strong link between the development agenda of the Derg and food insecurity in the region.

 

Critics suspicious of the Derg have cited potential motives including population and ethnic control, and the suppression of insurrection.[78] Under Mengitsu’s Marxist regime, it is unknown how many people really died as a result of these policies.

 

“What is less well understood is that poor harvests lead to famine only when malign rulers allow it. It was not the weather that killed perhaps 1m people in 1983-85. It was the policies of a Marxist dictator…” The Economist[79]

 

Other examples corroborate with the theory that government policies contributed to food insecurity in the 1980s. For example, the international relief effort was impeded by the government: ships of grain donated by the international community faced severe import fees and the government seized surplus grains from individual families which would usually allow them to make it through harder times.[80] Most significantly, the government refused to supply trucks to the relief effort, and later used the internationally donated trucks to aid the forced resettlement agenda rather than to move aid around the region to those in need.[81]

 

7.4 Conflict-induced hunger

 

“A dangerous cocktail of the war combined with fragile soils, population pressure and poverty and climatic adversity led to a famine of biblical proportions in the Ethiopian Highlands of northern Ethiopia, including Tigray” The World Peace Foundation[82]

 

The least discussed, yet the most significant factor which has contributed to food insecurity in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, is conflict.[83] Decades of civil wars, counter-insurgency campaigns and border conflicts have drastically disrupted development and food production in the region.[84] Tigray sits along the northern border with Eritrea; in many locations, the border is highly disputed. War is arguably the most devastating cause of food insecurity and is often overlooked by government policies and excluded from historical reports. Many accounts of the famine of 1984-85 ignore conflict as a cause of the famine at all. Rather than solely overpopulation or natural disasters, political failures or decisions appear integral to almost all famines.[85] This was clearly the case in 1973-74, and 1984-85, and there are legitimate concerns about the impact of the ongoing conflict on food security.[86]

 

The 1984-85 famine is widely acknowledged, yet acknowledgement of the full situation on the ground appears to be less documented. Although drought, harvest failures, as well as the agricultural and economic policies of the Derg all contributed to the famine, a significant cause of food insecurity in the region was the regime’s counter-insurgency campaign in Tigray and north Wollo from 1980 to 1985 combined with the then ongoing war in Eritrea.

 

Critical literature on the famine indicates that the droughts the region faced were not bad enough to cause the widespread suffering seen in the news reports and documentaries. By using biblical language, the famine was placed out of human control. Analysis of the famine and information which creeped out of the area reveals that this was not the case, and it appears those on the ground knew. However, the idea that the famine was a result of a drought, and environmental factors was not only misleading, but usefully disguised the real factors which contributed to, and prolonged the famine. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that successive droughts were fabricated by the Ethiopian government, with the support of the RRC. In 1984 the RRC claimed there had been a shortfall in food production in the years leading up to the famine due to successive droughts, despite their earlier reports outlining a high level of food production. Further evidence indicates that there was a drought in 1984, however, not the years prior. The drought provided an effective narrative for Mengitsu’s regime, as it allowed them to access international aid, without the international community’s awareness of the real causes of the crisis. The RRC was essential for procuring international assistance and fuelled the ‘drought’ narrative of the Derg.[87] In fact, evidence has shown that international aid was even syphoned off to help the counter-insurgency effort.[88]

 

The counter-insurgency campaign led by the Derg in Tigray from 1980 till 1985, focussed on a number of Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) strongholds in the region. Starvation was used as a weapon of war, with sinister consequences: “the zone of severe famine coincided with the war zone, and the phases of the developing famine corresponded with the major military actions”.[89] The Derg restricted the freedom of movement within Tigray and imposed trading restrictions, while markets and transport links became the frequent target of aerial bombardment. This alone had significant consequences in both Tigray and Wollo during 1984-85 as it undermined the security of the rural community to migrate to earn money, and to sell their produce,[90] directly reinforcing the belief that starvation was a government policy. With new checkpoints and permits needed to allow movement, the rural economy was destabilised. Conscription to the army, as well as the forced resettlement programme, removed many able-bodied men from the agricultural sector.[91] This has had long term impacts on the region, as research has found that many households in Tigray were headed by women due to high fatalities during the wars along the Eritrean border and against the TPLF under the Derg’s regime.[92]

 

The Derg carried out scorched earth tactics, destroyed crops, ruined farmland, and slaughtered animals which were essential for agriculture, such as oxen This reduced the capacity of the rural community to produce food, impacting not just one harvest, but subsequent harvests too. Food systems were further targeted by sieges, food blockades and enforced rationing.[93] As such, food production and supplies to the TPLF controlled areas were disrupted, causing food prices to soar above the means of many Tigrayans. The destruction of land, crops and the obstruction of aid not only posed a risk to human security but was a tool used by the Derg. In 1984, the Foreign Minister Tibebu Bekele was even quoted saying “food is a major element in our strategy against the successionists”,[94] indicating the systematic use of food to quail the rebellion in Tigray. To make matters worse, in July 1985 the tensions between the TPLF and Eritrea [EPLF], fuelled by contestation of the borders, caused further disruption to aid deliveries. The Eritrean army intercepted the aid supply lines from Sudan, preventing food aid from reaching Tigrayans at a critical time.[95] To combat this the Tigrayans had to create a new supply line at great human cost.

 

The policy of starvation led by the Derg was also evident through the obstruction and manipulation of aid. Only 5.6% of the donated international aid went to families impacted by the famine in Tigray during 1984-85.[96] Aid was sent to government-controlled areas and distribution sites, and never reached many of the millions of people in the rural areas. The rural Tigrayan subsistence farmers have often borne the brunt of conflict in the region. It is clear that the aid agencies working on the ground were in an impossible situation; by exposing the regime, they would lose access to the people in desperate need of life saving assistance. This meant that many went along with the narrative to ensure they could carry out their work and gain international funding. This moral dilemma was brought to life when Médecins Sains Frontiers were expelled from Ethiopia for expressing their concerns regarding the situation.[97] Despite famine shaking the region, the soldiers never went hungry. This redirection of aid to the military was widespread during the 1984-85 famine. Retrospective evidence even suggests that the United Nations Emergency Office for Ethiopia (UNEOE) was aware of the counter-insurgency campaigns, that aid was being diverted to militias and that the policy of forced resettlement was ongoing and harmful. This information was not included in their reports at the time, and it appears little was done to prevent this continuing, even when relief programmes and aid organised by the UNEOE were attacked. The double-edged sword was that aid prolonged the counter-insurgency campaigns, causing more suffering across Tigray and saving few of its intended beneficiaries.[98]

 

Despite the crisis being portrayed through an environmental lens, the international community was slow to provide aid. This was partly a result of Ethiopia’s ideological and political alliance with the Soviet Union and the limited coverage on the ground due to the refusal of journalists’ visas. However, the large national expenditure on the military was of great concern to the international community. The Derg controlled the largest army in Sub-Saharan Africa, draining the country’s natural resources and wealth.[99] During 1984, 46% of the national budget was spent on arms for their war with Northern Separatists. International donors felt that the Ethiopian Government should divert some of their own national GDP to the crisis rather than rely on international funding.[100]

 

The images of starving children which predominated in the media, created the illusion that all that was needed was food. In reality food could only keep people alive, it wouldn’t stop a famine caused by conflict. This means that ending famines…

 

“demands more than Live Aid concerts or airdrops. It requires ending wars, securing human rights, abating population growth and preparing in advance for predictable disasters” The New York Times[101]

 

7.5 The Development Decades (1999 – 2020)

 

After the overthrow of the Derg during the Ethiopian People’s Revolution of 1999, the following three decades marked considerable development and progress in the standard of living for Tigrayans, and Ethiopians at large. Although consecutive droughts have impacted rural livelihoods and ongoing border conflicts increased displacement, governmental policies have been implemented which aimed to reduce hunger and prevent disasters on the scale of the 1980s. For example, the new regime put in place a long-term Agriculture Development Led Industrialisation (ALDI) strategy which aimed to improve farmers’ food security across Ethiopia. The Tigray Regional Government followed suit, creating their own strategy based on conversation and rehabilitation of the natural landscape, with the aim to improve food security.[102] The plan included hillside rehabilitation through afforestation and terracing, the development of irrigation systems through the construction of reservoirs, and the diversification of crops grown in the region. Help was given to farmers through subsidies for fertilisers and micro-finance mechanisms.[103]

 

This long-term plan, which relied on active participation from local people (rather than the top-down policies of the Derg) has seen a number of benefits across the region. By providing access to new technologies and sharing knowledge on farming practises that were suitable for the land, small farmers were able to improve their output. In 2002, the plan was revised and updated, reflecting the continued emphasis by the regional government on improving food security in Tigray.[104] A study which investigated the effectiveness of this plan indicated an 8.6% increase in food self-sufficiency in Tigray between 2000 and 2008.[105] Another successful policy supporting local families included the food-for-work program, which improved food security and asset procurement in rural areas of Tigray.[106] The successes felt by the regional government proved that policies can be effective when implemented with local knowledge at local level.[107]

 

Although these measures improved food security in Tigray, a combination of overpopulation and insufficient land meant that families, specifically in the Central and Eastern areas of Tigray, could no longer be self-sufficient relying on subsistence farming alone.[108] Thus, many families rely on multiple income streams to ensure that they can meet their needs and buy food from the local markets. In recognition of this, the regional government invested in creating new labour opportunities. Commercial sesame production began, alongside a boom in artisanal mining and other industry, providing more seasonal and migratory work options for households across the region.[109]  Tigray is the second largest sesame producing region in Ethiopia, producing one third of the country’s sesame exports.[110] The seasonal sesame industry employs 200,000 labourers in Tigray,[111] and supports up to 15% of the regional population.[112] Many families in Western Tigray, where sesame production is largely concentrated, benefit from the influx of seasonal workers and rely upon this freedom of movement.

 

The regional government also supported the creation of a conglomerate of over 30 manufacturing companies under the EFFORT scheme. Research has indicated that these businesses were established using resources which were accumulated by the TPLF during the counter-insurgency against the Derg in the 1980s, indicating the strong links between these businesses and the TPLF.[113] The businesses ranged from construction, to pharmaceutical manufacturing, mining and food production. The EFFORT conglomerate created approximately 47,000 jobs for people across Tigray and had assets worth over $500 million.[114] Haile Selassie once stated that Ethiopia could become a global leader in gold, due to the rich deposits found in Western Ethiopia.[115] However, it was only in the 2000s that mining licenses began to be granted. Now mining is a lucrative business, with gold mining employing 120,000 Tigrayans by 2018[116] and Sapphire mining north of Aksum, employing a further 10,000 people. These labour opportunities are integral to the survival of many families. In response to the movement of people for work, the regional government invested in road infrastructure. As a result, according to the World Bank by 2016 more than 50% of Tigrayans lived within 2Km of a well-conditioned road. This was higher than the national average which sat at 22%.[117]

 

In 2005, the Ethiopian federal government introduced the Productive Safety Net Program (PSNP) with support from USAID, the World Bank and a suite of European donors.[118]  This set of mechanisms came in various forms including food vouchers, food or cash. According to the Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWS NET), these transfers could have covered up to 50% of a rural household’s food needs.[119] During 2015, when 80% of Tigrayans were still classified as subsistence farmers,[120] a harvest failure hit Tigray. However, it was not as disastrous as it could have been, as the PSNP payments allowed its beneficiaries to remain on their farms, without having to sell off their assets, such as their livestock which were essential for farming.[121] The benefits of this system have been celebrated by other African nations, many of which are now looking to set up their own PSNP systems. In 2018, it is estimated that 18% of the Tigrayan population was reliant on these PSNP payments to meet their food needs.[122]

 

Between 2003 and 2014 the number of people receiving emergency aid dropped from 15 million to 5.6 million. By 2016, the number of Ethiopians who were food secure rose by 20%, leaving only 24% of population without access to enough calories for survival.[123] Although food insecurity was not eradicated, this signifies considerable progress.[124] This improvement has been attributed to the work of international donors and the PSNP.[125] Since the end of the Derg regime, the lifting of restrictions on business has allowed the private business sector to flourish.[126] The international donor community in collaboration with the regional government worked hard to improve food security in the region to make sure that a calamity of the scale of the 1980s didn’t happen again.[127]

 

Even with the immense progress seen across Ethiopia, specifically in Tigray, in 2014 research demonstrated that more than 2 in every 5 children were stunted due to a lack of nutrition. This has long term impacts and can lead to physical and cognitive impairment. As such, the World Food Program estimated that the long-term impact of chronic hunger and malnutrition cost Ethiopia 16.5% of its GDP annually.[128] Between 1991 and 2019, Ethiopia’s Human Development Index had greatly improved, with the sharpest rise in indicators such as education and income, noted between the years 2000-2014.[129]  By 2018, the poverty rate had halved, child mortality had been reduced by 70% and measures had been introduced which aimed to mitigate the impact of drought.[130]

 

Although there was progress for food security, restrictive policies were impacting the right to engage in political life and advocacy across Ethiopia. TPLF strongholds significantly benefitted from resources and favourable policies. Mekelle’s bustling streets, improved connectivity and facility of services provided evidence that resources were being channelled away from the majority of Ethiopians, to one ethnic minority.[131] The inequitable development, ethnic divisions and discontent led to a series of violent protests against the government and its military, who consisted mostly of the former TPLF party. Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn responded to anti-government protests by resigning in 2018, and was replaced by Abiy Ahmed, the current Prime Minister. It was clear that the Ethiopian population was fed up of being left behind, and was seeking change.

 

By 2020 Ethiopia had one of the fastest growing economies in Africa, leading the world bank to speculate that by 2030 Ethiopia could be a Middle-Income Country (MIC) if development continued.[132] This appeared to be a goal for many in the leadership, a way to shake off the historical image of chronic hunger that Ethiopia has carried since the famine of 1973-74. The improvements in Ethiopia are noticeable, with a reduction in poverty, economic growth and lengthening of life expectancy. The government has promoted women’s education and family planning in an attempt to control the population and lessen the burden on the strained environment.[133] However, reaching an MIC status relies upon peace being maintained and environmental stability.[134] In 2020 prior to the onset of conflict, the Global Hunger Index (GHI) trends for Ethiopia were promising.  From 2000-2020 Ethiopia’s GHI score had been improving, with undernourishment, stunting, wasting and infant mortality all on the decrease. Ethiopia was ranked 92nd of the 107 countries investigated for Global Hunger, with the level of hunger in the country calculated as ‘serious’. This means that despite improvements many were still living on the edge of food insecurity.

 

 

Table from the Global Hunger Index[135]

 

Food security in Tigray before conflict began

 

In Tigray, three decades of development had improved living standards. Although poverty reduction has been seen across Ethiopia, it was perhaps most pronounced in Tigray, as federal resources were directed to the region, which represented a TPLF stronghold. [136] Poverty reduction was also perhaps the most observable in Tigray, as only 30 years earlier the famine had made headline international news. More children were attending school than ever before, health services were more efficient, and women’s rights were on the rise, a result of grass-roots level activism.[137] The creation of an effective banking system in Tigray had allowed many Tigrayans to save their money in banks, improving families’ security during harder times.

 

According to the UN’s Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), an internationally recognised measure for the level of food security in specific geographic areas, prior to the conflict Tigray was deemed food secure (IPC Phase 1).[138] Harvest outputs had been near average between 2016 and 2019, although this still meant that chronic hunger existed in a number of areas of Tigray.[139]  By October 2020, the IPC measure indicated that food security in Tigray was ‘Stressed’ (IPC Phase 2) whilst Western Tigray was food secure.[140] Similarly, using the Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET), another mechanism for determining food security, in November 2020 prior to the conflict most of Tigray was deemed food secure (similar to IPC Phase 1) while some areas were viewed as Stressed (IPC Phase 2).[141]

 

Summary of the IPC Classification for Food Security[142]

 

In November 2020, the IPC framework predicted that the state of food security in July-September 2021 would have been ‘Crisis’ (IPC Phase 3), uncoincidentally combined with the ‘annual hunger season’ – a period of the year where there is often food insecurity as it falls between the two harvests. At this point, it is predicted that lifesaving support would be needed, even if there had been no conflict. The situation this year was exacerbated by the covid-19 pandemic, its impact on migratory work, and a locust invasion which had consumed the grain reserves in South, South East, Eastern and Central Tigray.[143] Although some scholars have refuted that the desert locust invasion was devastating for food security,[144] others believed the desert locust invasion alone could have caused another famine in areas of Tigray.[145] The rise in safety net systems, banking and additional revenue streams could have prevented food insecurity from reaching famine level in the affected areas. However, the addition of conflict severely hampers attempts to maintain food security.

 

The desert locust invasion had impacted the September-January harvest, leaving many vulnerable. The conflict which erupted in November 2020, has also disrupted the remaining September-January harvest and prevented the essential practises of land preparation during the months of April and May before the Kirempt rainy season begins in June. This means the impact of the current conflict on food insecurity is not yet fully understood, but it could be devastating.[146] For humanitarians, there is grave concern that history is going to repeat itself should the conflict not be stopped and food security prioritised. This time, in comparison to 1984 and despite the attempted information blackout, the world is aware of the conflict and it is watching.

 

Conflict and Hunger

 

“First there was COVID, then locust swarms, then disruptions and destructions due to war, including burning and stealing of crops” Jan Nyssen, Professor at Ghent University[147]

 

Despite the developments which benefitted Tigray, before conflict began OCHA estimated that 950,000 people were reliant on food aid for survival in Tigray. Shortly after the onset of conflict, an additional 1.3 million people were in need of emergency assistance, while 62,225 Tigrayans had fled across the border into neighbouring Sudan.[148] Despite a communications blackout in the region, since November 2020 there have been horrifying reports of massacres, ethnic cleansing, torture, forced conscription and attacks on refugee camps.[149] Human rights organisations corroborated by open-source evidence, indicate that pillaging, looting, the destruction of property, slaughtering of livestock and burning of land is indeed widespread and systematic.[150] Sexual based violence against women has been widely reported, including accounts of women being forced to exchange sex for essential items, such as food and water.[151] These activities have made the people living in Tigray even more vulnerable to food insecurity, as they are unable to access objects indispensable for their survival.

 

The latest conflict began during the peak harvest season of September-January. From the locust invasion to conflict, harvests were impeded across Tigray. The locust invasion was particularly damaging in South Tigray, while ongoing conflict with Amhara militia interrupted the harvest in Western Tigray. The harvests in towns and villages along the main roads throughout Tigray were also disrupted by Eritrean and Ethiopian troops.[152] Many had to harvest crops early to limit the impact of the locusts, and before conflict reached their communities. As such, the grain that was harvested in many locations was not fully grown and so of limited use, decimating the agricultural output of the region early on in the conflict. Furthermore, witness accounts highlight a frightening trend that little of the harvested crops remained within the rural communities, with immediate impact on the food security of many households.[153]

 

Food security is more than food availability, it is also whether food is physically and economically accessible.[154] This means that displacement, the targeting of food systems and shocks to the economy can have a direct impact on food security. The decades of development seen in Tigray have increased its ability to deal with droughts through economic development and technical innovations in the agricultural sector. However, these developments have also left Tigray more vulnerable to the impacts of conflict. For example, as well as cutting the region off from national funding, the heralded new banking system which had provided Tigrayans with economic security has been targeted and has remained inaccessible since November. The improved seasonal and migratory labour opportunities Tigrayans have valued over the past few decades, have also come under attack. The roads which helped the region to develop, are now a vehicle for destruction, allowing the Ethiopian Government, Eritrean Army and Amhara forces to easily negotiate the countries landscape, looting and devastating on their way.[155] By focussing on these new vulnerabilities through an economic offensive and a military campaign, it appears that starvation is a tool and a political objective of the federal Government.

 

By January 2021, aid workers were beginning to use the word famine to describe their view of what was happening on the ground in Northwest Tigray. Leaked minutes from the Tigray Emergency Coordination Centre meeting noted that: “People are dying because of starvation. In Adwa people are dying while they are sleeping.”[156] The figures in January ranged from 2.2 million[157] to 4 million people already in need of food aid.[158] In the North-western, Central and Eastern woredas of Tigray, up to 50% of the inhabitants were already estimated to be in desperate need of humanitarian assistance.[159] In Adigrat, “Everybody is asking for food” said the Médecins Sans Frontiers’ emergency programme coordinator in an interview in January. “Every time we reach a new area, we find food, water, health services depleted, and a lot of fear among the population.”[160]

 

In a joint statement by the Tigray Independence Party, Salsay Weyane Tigray, and National Congress of Great Tigray in February, the parties stated that without immediate food aid and medical supplies to the region, a “looming humanitarian disaster of biblical proportion” would be a “gruesome reality in Tigray”.[161] However, access restrictions implemented by the federal government has greatly impeded the work of relief agencies, including the United Nations. The limited agencies which have been allowed to operate in the region have been met with hostility and some have become the targets of attacks.

 

“Today it could be one, two or three, but you know after a month it means thousands… After two months it will be tens of thousands” Abera Tola, the president of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society commenting on the death toll[162]

 

By April 2021, approximately 6 million people were impacted by conflict, with every part of Tigray hit by devastation.[163] In a written statement on the 15 April, Linda Thomas Greenfield the US Ambassador to the United Nations Security Council, indicated estimates that as many as 5.2 million people were food insecure and required assistance. [164] This assistance has been continually hindered by the presence of Eritrean forces and the federal government’s restrictions on humanitarian access.

 

“The campaign of deprivation goes beyond immediate needs. It is sending Tigray back to a stone-age economy in which people are forced to live hand-to-mouth and depend on charity” Alex de Waal, Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation[165]

 

In a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council in April 2021, Mark Lowcock reiterated earlier claims that people were already starving to death.[166] Many conflict-affected communities have been left without food supplies, seeds for the next harvest, livestock or safe housing. Their financial savings and supplementary incomes have been removed. When information does seeps out from behind the communication blackout, it indicates that the conditions on the ground in Tigray are far worse than any predictions.

 

“[H]unger, among peasantry, is crippling” Mulugeta Gebrehiwot, Senior Fellow at the World Peace Foundation & TPLF member[167]

 

It is imperative to view the ongoing conflict within the context of a region which has faced historical food insecurity due to conflict, poor governmental policies and climate vulnerability. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic, locust invasion and now conflict has created a fragile situation for many. While the term ‘famine’ has political ramifications, especially in a country with a history like Ethiopia’s, the classification of a famine is procedural. To classify as a famine the crisis must have a death rate of two in 10,000 people each day from malnutrition, more than 30% of children under five need to classify as acutely malnourished, and at least one in five households will be facing an extreme lack of food.[168] This means that prior to reaching a ‘famine’ there has been considerable loss of life and widespread suffering. Although the criterion was not met across the whole Tigray region, by June, both the IPC and the UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock had confirmed the international community’s fears. IPC Phase 5 ‘famine’ had struck Tigray again, within several woredas.

 

“[T]his report… paints a picture of a very, very extreme situation. There is famine now… there is famine now in Tigray. The number of people in famine conditions, in IPC 5 conditions, is higher than anywhere in the world, at any moment since one quarter of one million Somali’s lost their lives in 2011. There’s another 2 million people just a step away from those extreme situations…. And this is going to get a lot worse.” Mark Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

 

Despite denials by the Ethiopian Government,[169] the IPC’s report suggests that in June, 350,000 people were already facing famine-like conditions.[170] No area within Tigray remained within the “minimal” IPC Phase 1 classification.[171] Humanitarian workers relayed the worrying scenes from IDP camps in Axum and Adwa in early June. Starvation was already visible among women and children. Gaunt and lethargic, their energy conserved to keep them alive.[172] The improvements to food security outlined earlier in this chapter have been undermined. Decades of development undone in a matter of months. A cause of great concern for the international community which has invested in this region’s development, improving its capacity to prevent a repeat of 1984. Foreign charities and donors are watching in shock, as years of hard work unravel before their eyes.[173]

 

  • Starvation in international law

 

“It is a crime to starve civilians deliberately by shutting down electricity, water, road transport, banking services, food distribution; and denying access to humanitarian services for over 65 days” Jan Nyssen, Professor at Ghent University[174]

 

Starvation is unacceptable in peacetime or war. The international community have expressed this shared belief through the codification of the right to food, across an array of agreements, including the United Nations Charter,[175] International Human Rights Law,[176] Customary International Law, International Humanitarian Law,[177] International Criminal Law,[178] thematic treaties,[179] and thematic resolutions.[180] Removing access to food through displacement, obstruction of aid, and destroying people’s means to access food is illegal in international law.[181] Starvation used as a weapon or tool of war is prohibited in the Geneva Convention and its Protocols,[182] and starvation is a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court’.[183] The War Crime of Starvation refers to more than the deprivation of food, but also of objects indispensable to survival.[184] This includes medicines, safe drinking water, sanitation, financial savings and shelter.

 

As information has slowly leaked out of Tigray, the international community has been awakened to the horrors behind the communication blackout. Humanitarians on the ground also paint a solemn picture. A report by the World Peace Foundation, entitled ‘Starving Tigray’ collated the evidence available on the conflict as of March 2021. It appears that through systematic and widespread attacks on objects indispensable to survival and the wilful impediment of humanitarian relief, the Governments of both Ethiopia and Eritrea are starving the people of Tigray.[185] In Western Tigray, the targeting of civilians by Amhara militia has been described as ethnic cleansing.[186] Thus, raising concerns that what we see unfolding may constitute a genocide of the Tigrayan people.[187]  Derogatory language has been used to describe Tigrayans within the Ethiopian media, such as ‘daylight Hyenas’ or the ‘unfamiliar others’.[188] Restrictions on movement and targeted human rights violations provide additional evidence that ethnically motivated violence is occurring in Tigray.[189]

 

“Ethiopia’s government appears to be wielding hunger as a weapon; a rebel region is being starved into submission” The Economist[190]

 

The situation in Tigray poses a great challenge to the international community, as the remainder of this chapter will show. Despite the communication blackout and attempts made to restrict information leaving Tigray, evidence suggests that ‘Starvation crimes’ have and continue to occur.[191] The Ethiopian Penal Code prohibits starvation crimes, and acts of genocide, and provides possible avenues for prosecuting perpetrators.[192] For example, the Marxist leader Mengitsu Haile Mariam was charged with genocide in 2007 for crimes under his leadership in the 1970s. Accountability was achieved, but many years later.[193] As such, it appears inconceivable that this route for accountability would be taken in the near future, considering the perpetrators are the Federal Government and its Eritrean and Amhara partners. For now, the responsibility must fall to the international community to collect, protect, and review the evidence of starvation crimes in Tigray.

 

The gravity of the human rights violations ongoing in Tigray has raised discussions on whether there should be international accountability using International Criminal Law. For example, the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court entered into force in 2002 to deal with the most severe crimes of concern to the international community. In international criminal proceedings, whether the conflict represents a Non-International Armed Conflict or an International Armed Conflict could impact the routes for gaining accountability. Although there is widespread belief that Eritrean troops are operating in collaboration with the Ethiopian government, other unverified reports signal the presence of Emirati drones and Somali soldiers.[194] Given the evidence currently available, the conflict appears to be a Non-International Armed Conflict between Ethiopia (supported by Eritrea) and the TPLF; however, lawyers would need to confirm this when carrying out criminal proceedings. In 2019 the War Crime of Starvation was amended to include Non-International Armed Conflicts; however, this has not yet come into force.[195]

 

To complicate matters, Ethiopia is not a state party to the Rome Statute. This means that the International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction over Ethiopia. There are only two ways accountability using the Rome Statute could be possible:  if the United Nations Security Council refers the case to the court;[196] or if a domestic court which has universal jurisdiction over War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity decides to pursue accountability. The former seems unlikely given China’s policy of non-interference and Russia’s recent objections to Security Council Statements on the conflict.[197] On 2 June, the Belgian Federal Prosecutor announced that it is investigating War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity in Ethiopia.[198] Testimonies by Belgian victims of the conflict have sparked the investigation. Their families had been executed, property looted and destroyed. As well as accountability at the international or domestic level, there are also regional options. The African Union may wish to gain accountability through the African Court of Justice and Human Rights, rather than at the International Criminal Court. Long-standing suspicions of the International Criminal Court by African nations might prevent the case to the passed to the International Criminal Court, and favour this option instead.[199]

 

There appears to be international recognition that food is being used within the conflict as a leverage to stamp out dissent, with commentators labelling it a “war of starvation”.[200] Starvation is in itself, a means to an end. It is a tactic to remove the TPLF and its sympathisers from the region, removing and destroying the threat to the federal government, and its Eritrean and Amhara allies. The ongoing conflict in Tigray represents one of the first challenges for the United Nations Security Council on the thematic issue of ‘Conflict and Hunger’, in respect to resolution 2417. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 2417, signed in 2018, outlined the increased threat and association of conflict and hunger and called on all state parties to acknowledge and abide by existing international law on the matter.[201] It also outlined the possible avenues the United Nations Security Council could take, such as sanctions, investigations into violations of international law, and accountability through domestic or international law.[202] The resolution could have been written specifically for the Tigray crisis. It will be interesting to watch whether the resolution, which has not yet been implemented, is used in the context of Tigray. If it is not, then the international community should question the utility of the resolution in combatting the rising threat of conflict and hunger.

 

The international community is watching Tigray, with a rise in media attention and discussions at the United Nations Security Council. At the United Nations Security Council debate on Conflict and Hunger in March 2021, eleven of twenty State Representatives and speakers referred to the situation in Tigray and written statements directly referred to reports of “starvation being used as a weapon of war.”[203] However, the council could not agree on a statement to condemn the violence and immediate need for humanitarian assistance, following objections from India, Russia and China, who reinforced the territorial integrity of Ethiopia and its sovereign responsibility within its jurisdiction.[204] Despite barriers to national and international accountability at the time of writing, fact-finding missions mandated by other national, regional and international bodies have begun. On the 25th March 2021, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) announced a joint investigation into the ongoing atrocities.[205] Following this the African Union also announced a Commission of Inquiry to investigate alleged violations of human rights.[206]

 

On 10 June a high-level EU-US roundtable was held, following the failure of the UNSC to reach a consensus and the declaration of famine by Mark Lowcock. It aimed to shed light on the deteriorating situation in Tigray. Members expressed their concerns about the lack of international action and funding, the impediments at the UNSC level, and the need to prevent a repeat of 1984. The provision of aid will not be enough to prevent mass starvation in Tigray. The roundtable provides recognition that humanitarian crises such as this, do require high-level political action. If the international community doesn’t use its position to condemn the situation, or take action, this will represent a failure to live up to the rhetoric of the recent conflict and hunger debate and resolution 2417, potentially diminishing respect for existing international law.

 

“We can’t put reliable numbers on the hunger, sickness and death in Tigray, but we know enough to be sure that an immense tragedy is unfolding.” Alex de Waal, Executive Director of the World Peace Foundation [207]

 

We are in an era where international human rights institutions are facing mounting criticisms for their ineffectiveness. For those who support a rules-based order, this is particularly worrying. The quest for peace and universal freedoms is at risk. This is pertinent in the context of Ethiopia. In 2019 Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for improving Ethiopia’s relationship with Eritrea.[208] This new friendship between the Ethiopian and Eritrean administrations may have temporarily resolved old rivalries, yet it has arguably been done so at the expense of the TPLF and the wider Tigrayan ethnic group. Interestingly, the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize laureate was the World Food Programme, for their role in improving global food security, and their work on the prohibition of starvation as a weapon of war.[209] The irony of these consecutive winners eats the soul.

 

The Undermining of Food Systems: Destruction of Food

 

One of the clearest attempts to damage food security and deprive civilians of the essentials for life, is through the deliberate destruction of food. Across Tigray, food stores have been pillaged and scorched earth tactics have been used by the Eritrean and Ethiopian forces.[210]  There have been a staggering number of reports that whole villages, warehouses, expanses of fields and crops, mango orchards and grain stores have been destroyed.[211] With the destruction of mango orchards in Adeba and Tseada Sare appearing to have “[n]o rationale except hatred and destruction”.[212]

 

A number of news outlets, including Sky and the Economist, have spoken to witnesses on the ground who described the repeated scenes of destruction. One farmer told Oxfam that he had lost 10 months of food supplies to systematic scorched earth tactics.[213] Satellite imagery shows that this destruction first seen in November 2020 has carried on through to March 2021, with little of Tigray escaping the smoky chaos.[214] Across the region, open-source satellite imagery, fire tracking data from NASA fire information and resource management system (FIRMS), fires in settlement (FIRIS) and US Government internal reporting, show that the Eritrean and Ethiopian militaries are burning whatever they cannot carry;[215] leaving behind a scorched wasteland in their fiery wake. This information was corroborated by news reports from the ground.[216] These cruel strategies not only destroy the unharvested crops, but limit the ability to grow crops during the following harvest period as the soil’s nutrients are burnt away. This act leaves many households unable to sustain themselves, particularly those who are reliant on farming as their primary source of food. Scorched earth tactics are prohibited in international law because of the collateral damage they cause, which disproportionately effects civilians.[217] Fires set off by Eritrean and Ethiopian ground forces and aerial bombardment have left many areas desolated, food is destroyed, and the land’s capabilities to grow food in the future are burnt away, leaving behind a barren waste land.

 

“I’m afraid that the campaign in Tigray is at best a scorched earth policy and at worst it is genocidal in terms of tactics and intentions” Matt Bryden, a political analyst based in Nairobi, former roles with UN, and the Horn of Africa International Crisis Group[218]

 

The slaughtering of animals, from oxen to chickens has been reported.[219] One eyewitness recalled a merciless scene where “an Eritrean soldier crushed baby chicks under his foot.”[220] For the lucky individuals whose livestock has escaped this inhumane treatment, finding enough food for the livestock poses another major challenge.[221] Farmers have expressed their torment following their encounters with Eritrean Soldiers. In one report, survivors of attacks told Vice News that “Farmers were forced by Eritrean soldiers to slaughter their cows and prepare food for the soldiers. They later doused the homes of these same farmers in gasoline.”[222]

 

Unfortunately, reports of farmers being threatened are ubiquitous. Farmers are reporting threats such as: “You won’t plough, you won’t harvest, and if you try, we will punish you.”[223] This malicious intent and destruction of food provides evidence that starvation is being used as a weapon of war. Many farmers have abandoned their lands, as the lack of oxen, seeds or fertiliser has shattered their hopes to grow during the next season. The more daring, or desperate farmers have resorted to ploughing at night to avoid detection.

 

 

The Undermining of Food Systems: Looting and Pillage

 

As well as destroying available food supplies and the ability to grow food, looting and pillaging have left Tigrayans without the means to make or buy food. Despite international laws prohibiting these acts,[224] it’s clear that no place is off limits to the looters, with hospitals, hotels, houses, churches, universities, refugee camps and shops raided across the region.[225] Forced displacement caused by the conflict has also provided opportunities for the Eritrean forces to loot houses and shops of anything left behind.[226] In Adigrat, Médecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) reported that even the hospital ambulances had been stolen.[227] Similarly in Amhara occupied Western Tigray, hospitals have been looted of medical supplies and generators, while harvests, water tanks and pumps and clothes have been looted.[228] Even the storage facilities at refugee camps have been targeted by looters, according to the World Food Programme.[229]

 

Accounts suggest that the Ethiopian military has been responsible for the looting of banks and the regional government’s assets, while Eritrean forces have taken personal possessions through house-to-house and village wide raids.[230] This pattern of looting and destruction has impacted the mining and manufacturing industries across Tigray. Almost one quarter of manufacturing jobs in the region have already been lost to the conflict, leaving more than 47,000 people in urban areas without their primary income stream.[231] The EFFORT manufacturing conglomerate has been subject to the looting of premises and financial attacks. In November, EFFORT’s bank account, and its 34 subsidiaries were frozen, before the Federal government dissolved EFFORT, moving its assets to Federal companies. The conglomerate provided a substantial income stream for the Tigrayan regional government indicating that this is an attack on the financial stability of the TPLF. Nonetheless the loss of jobs has meant an estimated 76,000 people in urban Tigray have been left unsupported financially. By removing these funds, the Federal Government has removed necessary access to food for these families.[232]

 

“[T]hey literally destroyed the wealth we accumulated for thirty years in Tigray” Mulugeta Gebrehiwot, Senior Fellow at the World Peace Foundation & TPLF member

 

In January 2021, it was reported that a wide range of shops in Mekelle, which previously sold anything from hardware to clothing had converted to grocery stores, as food had become the most lucrative good.[233] However, markets have been badly affected by the conflict. The high risk of violent raids, looting of goods, and the disruption of trade has resulted in food shortages and elevated food prices.[234] As such, in some Woredas, the limited available food is extremely expensive.[235] By February, with conflict intensive areas in the Eastern and Central zones impacted the worst,[236] the destruction of harvests and the instability of markets was contributing to a significant rise in hunger across Tigray.[237] Even for the lucky ones who do have access to grain, the destruction of mills, limited electricity and shortage of matches means that in many areas, this grain cannot even be processed.[238] Local aid organisations adapted their response by organising flour deliveries, rather than grains, in Adigrat and Irob. But this response was not regional.[239] Eyewitness accounts and interviews reveal that people have had to resort to eating raw grain or the leaves off bushes and branches.[240] In one interview, a women described how she had drunk water from a hole she had dug in the ground, after the water infrastructure had been damaged.[241]

 

In February, during a phone call from a remote hillside cave where he was seeking refuge, Mulugeta Gebrehiwot, a Senior Fellow at the World Peace Foundation and TPLF member, told Alex de Waal about the events he had witnessed across Tigray. He recalled scenes of killings, looting, pillaging and the widespread burning of crops that were ready to be harvested.

 

“They have started looting the produce of the peasants, from all the villages beyond the black road that crosses Tigray towards Eritrea. And they kill whomever they find in whichever village they get in.” Mulugeta Gebrehiwot, Senior Fellow at the World Peace Foundation & TPLF member.

 

Fear permeates through the eyewitness accounts on the ground. The Non-Governmental Organisation Mary’s Meals, which had been providing school lunches to children in Tigray before conflict began, made contact with the Nun who coordinates their operations in Tigray.[242] She told them of the collective pain and suffering Tigrayans are facing. She herself recently having lost several family members. The schools she worked with are no longer providing education but are overcrowded with the internally displaced. These sites, however, are still not safe from looters:

“Some of them were telling me that at night, sometimes they are looted, people come in with knives and dangerous things, to take away whatever they get – like it could be food portions, it could be clothes they get. There are young people that come from outside drunk, and take away what they get also, so they are not safe.” Nun (remains anonymous for her safety)[243]

 

By mid-March, OCHA revealed that the agricultural systems had been shattered, a result of fighting, looting and destruction. The state of food security had reached catastrophe, and the desperation of farmers was mounting. [244] For those who have been lucky enough to receive food aid, the risk of it being looted is high. Interviews with families in the region indicate the desperate measures which are being taken to keep the received aid safe, including burying the aid to avoid looters finding it.  By June, humanitarians operating on the ground reported a worrying trend: whole villages along the main roads were looted and deserted. There was nothing and no one left.[245]

 

The Undermining of Food Systems: Banking and Payments

 

The modern banking systems which had contributed to the improved freedom, security and development throughout Tigray, now restrict survival, becoming an additional noose for its people. In the past, households would protect their wealth by buying more livestock or land, improving their agricultural output. The rise of microfinance and banking allowed Tigrayans to store their wealth in banks instead. By October 2020, more than 400,000 people in Tigray had savings in the banking system amounting to over $100 million.[246] Banks have since been looted and records destroyed or frozen.[247] As such, this conflict has resulted in hundreds of thousands of people losing the money that they had earned, saved and entrusted to the banking system and with no way to prove their loss. Arguably the traditional mechanisms for saving might not have provided a greater level of security given the destruction of land, food and the slaughtering of livestock. But the modern banking systems across Tigary, have provided yet another vulnerability to economic attack. The cash shortages coupled with an increase in food prices has led to food being outpriced for many Tigrayans.[248] By June, banking services had resumed in several towns, however disruptions in services remained common. Accessing bank notes has continued to be difficult, with people walking miles, then queueing for hours or even days to retrieve cash.[249]

 

In November 2020, as tensions between the federal and regional governments increased, the federal government withheld the nationally organised PSNP (safety-net payments) which supported one million people in Tigray. The PSNP has been a lifeline for many in the rural economy, the most vulnerable people across Tigray being dependent on these payments,[250] and its removal has exposed an estimated 18% of the Tigrayan population to immediate and life-threatening food insecurity.[251] In March 2021, the PSNP payments hadn’t yet resumed, whilst many woredas had seen no humanitarian aid, labour opportunities disrupted and wages frozen.[252] By June, it remained unclear how many of the PSNP beneficiaries were amongst those receiving aid, indicating that many of the most vulnerable could be facing extreme food insecurity. By removing the means to buy food and denying access to the safety net system which had improved food security in Tigray, the options for many have become extremely limited.

 

The Undermining of Food Systems: Displacement and Immobility

 

The conflict has caused mass displacement within Tigray and by December 2020 over 62,000 people had fled across the border into neighbouring Sudan.[253] Displacement has a huge impact on immediate and long-term food security, as people move away from their lands, often taking only what they can carry. In Tigray, the September-January harvest was disrupted by conflict limiting existing food supplies, while little aid reached those displaced. Mass displacement throughout Tigray has complicated this further, as it means that the next harvest may also be disrupted. Without fertile land to cultivate or grain to sow, when the next rainy season comes in June, it is unclear if there will be anything growing in the fields. For those who have been repeatedly displaced by the fighting, the ability to grow their own food in the upcoming agricultural season looks bleak.

 

Internal displacement

 

Just five months after the conflict began, UNHCR stated that over 2 million people had become internally displaced (IDPs) and over 1,000 people were arriving in Shire daily, mainly from Western Tigray.[254] The real number of IDPs in Tigray may be far higher than the speculations, as people have moved from rural areas where conflict is ongoing to reside with family members in large towns, or are taking refuge in remote areas, such as caves hidden amongst the rugged landscape.[255] Farmers in these locations expressed their hopes that rather than travel  to big cities for refuge, they would wait out the fighting close enough to their land, enabling them to  return in time to sow their fields ahead of the next rainy season.[256] Despite these remote locations  having potentially protected their families from the conflict, they are not sheltered, however, from the dangers of food insecurity. The majority of these areas are accessible only by ‘rural access roads’, community-maintained road systems which link Tabiyas with the main roads. Many of these are walking paths with space for donkeys, not aid convoys.[257] In March it was believed that over one million people who were in need of assistance had been displaced into inaccessible locations. [258]  This being said, by April the little food aid that made its way into Tigray was not reaching further than the cities, towns and a handful of villages.[259]

 

The situation for those who make it to IDP camps within Ethiopia is also meagre. Schools and universities have been repurposed as shelters,[260] and the risk of contagious diseases such as malaria, diarrhoea and pneumonia are high.[261] By January, Aksum University Shire Campus housed more than 40,000 people, many of whom required urgent medical attention.[262] Another 40,000 people were residing across the Shire Preparatory School and the Primary School. With limited medical and food supplies, these camps do not provide much comfort in these times of need.[263]  For the IDPs who are not registered, the situation is worse, as they may face barriers to accessing food assistance and other forms of security. OCHA and UNICEF visited IDP camps in Axum and Adwa during May, which housed more than 360,000 IDPs. The sites had received just one food aid delivery since the conflict began in November. The situation is desperate; the majority of people now living in these camps have not received any food aid.[264]

 

Before fighting began, Tigray was home to 96,000 Eritrean refugees living across a number of camps. Regrettably, refugee camps within Tigray have been targeted, destroyed, and vandalised by militia.[265] Additionally, government restrictions on humanitarian access has disrupted deliveries of food and clean water, leaving many people desperate. According to a UNHCR spokesman, Eritrean refugees in Tigray have resorted to drinking from muddy puddles and eating plants, tree bark and leaves.[266] The camps which remain functioning are overcapacity and under-resourced. Between November 2020 and June 2021, food insecurity for those displaced in Tigray deteriorated at an alarming rate.

 

Cross-border displacement

 

The conflict has caused immense social dislocation; people are fleeing fighting in one area, to find violence in another. For some the journey across the border to Sudan seemed like the only option. However, the route to safety in Sudan is fraught with danger. Alem Mebrahtu, a 30-year-old refugee recalled how the Tekeze riverbed separating Sudan with Tigray was littered with around 50 bodies: “Some were face-down. Some were looking up at the sky”. [267] This story has been repeated by many who are taking refuge in camps in Sudan, having safely made it across the river without drowning or being shot by patrolling Eritrean or Ethiopian forces. Since December this route has become even more dangerous as the Ethiopian-Sudanese border was closed, while testimonies from families in Sudan say that Ethiopian soldiers are preventing their loved ones from leaving.[268] The camps in Sudan are struggling to keep up with the demand for food aid, and even in November the supplies in local markets had all but run out.[269] Salah Ramadan, the head of the Sudanese Border town’s administration told reporters of the struggles they faced:  “People are hungry and the flow of refugees is continuing but we have little to offer”.[270]

 

The camps were ill-prepared for the influx of refugees with unsanitary conditions, and limited shelters and food supplies being reported. By February Médecins Sans Frontiers claimed that hunger was widespread.[271] Although porridge and lentils are served every day, the small portions often run out before everyone has eaten, and many families had only just received their first food parcels, with a lack of clarity over when the next ones would arrive. [272]

 

“Every day they tell us the food is coming and every day it does not come.” Maryam, Tigrayan Refugee in Sudan

 

Displacement and Immobility

 

As well as displacement, immobility through the implementation of military checkpoints and travel permits has restricted the freedom of movement. As aforementioned, the ability to move for work has sustained households across Tigray over the past few decades, with jobs in manufacturing and sesame production providing an additional income stream for many families. However, moving around Tigray is dangerous and passing through checkpoints increases vulnerability to harassment, mugging or even extrajudicial execution.[273] Without this movement, households are more vulnerable to food insecurity as they face a reduction in household purchasing power.

 

In western Tigray, rather than welcoming an influx of seasonal workers to help with the sesame harvest, the 140,000 people who inhabit the Woredas have been forcibly removed from their land and homes by Amhara militia.[274] In an area that has seen such progress over the previous decades, the lives of many Western Tigrayans have been majorly impacted by widespread destruction, death and displacement. This information has been corroborated by the arrival of Western Tigrayans in refugee camps in Sudan and urban areas in East Tigray.[275] The Amhara forces state that they have an ancestral claim to the land, which was taken from them during the decades when the TPLF dominated the Ethiopian Government.[276] The land is of high economic value due to its fertility,[277] making it suitable for sesame production. More than 200,000 people are employed each year by the sesame industry, representing the most lucrative employment for seasonal workers in Tigray. The disruption to which will greatly dampen the food security of many households.

 

In February, a US report leaked in the New York Times, provided a damming insight into the situation on the ground, claiming that the Amhara and Ethiopian forces were “deliberately and efficiently rendering Western Tigray ethnically homogeneous through the organized use of force and intimidation” and that “Whole villages were severely damaged or completely erased”.[278]  The World Peace Foundation confirmed these accounts using Google Earth imagery, demonstrating the “comprehensive nature of the scorched earth policy of various Amhara forces”.[279] In March, Secretary of State for the United States, Anthony Blinken, used the phrase “ethnic cleansing” to describe the situation in Western Tigray.[280] Accounts from witnesses on the ground verify this, indicating that those who identified as Tigrayan were expelled, raped or killed by Amhara militia, while many people remain unaccounted for. [281] One witness noted their beliefs that in Amhara, mothers “hope that their son will get a piece of land in western Tigray”.[282] Reports suggest that by March, shops, hotels, homes, offices and businesses had been taken over by Amhara authorities. The western Tigrayans pushed out, wealth looted, their livelihoods on the brink as a result.[283] The Amhara forces responded to these allegations stating that they were in Amhara, not Tigray,[284] providing further evidence that there was an agenda to recapture the profitable lands of Western Tigray, which they viewed as their own.

 

The implications of the conflict on the sesame and manufacturing (through looting) industries will be devastating for food security. These industries account for up to 1/3 of Tigrayans’ income streams.[285] With income decreasing, and food prices increasing, with no hope of growing food due to the scorched earth tactics, it will be a huge challenge for many to access enough nutritional food to survive. The longer this conflict continues, the harder it will be recovering the food security in the region.

 

Obstruction of Humanitarian Access and Assistance

 

“The fear is that the combination of an informational black hole and the systematic and deliberate dismantling of a food economy means that best-practice food security assessment and forecasting is likely only to diagnose a famine when it is too late.” The World Peace Foundation[286]

 

Access – information and the humanitarian response

 

Under international humanitarian law, it is essential that civilians in conflicts are given adequate protections, including the ability to receive humanitarian assistance.[287] However, since the conflict began humanitarian access has been disrupted, obstructed and restricted. The communications blackout, compounded by constraints on physical access have meant that the sheer extent of the human rights violations across Tigray is not yet known.[288] Reports could reflect just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.[289] It is clear that the Ethiopian government is trying to prevent information leaving Tigray. Journalists have been targeted, arrested, deported, or killed, while translators and fixers have been intimidated. [290] Many people have been separated from their loved ones, and without communications systems in place, they have no idea if their families are still alive.

 

Ethiopia’s Director of Action Against Hunger Panos Navrozidis referred to Tigray as a “black hole”, as with limited access via communication channels and the majority of the region off limits to aid agencies, the extent of food insecurity on the ground was unclear.[291] The communications embargo within the region has certainly complicated the aid effort. In many cases, humanitarian staff had been unreachable for months, due to the lack of phone or internet services, which had been down intermittently since November.[292] This made predicting the extent of food insecurity and the level of assistance required extremely hard for aid organisations. In November Catherine Sozi, the United Nations resident coordinator in Ethiopia told reporters about the conditions: “[t]he telecommunications are down, road access is closed, and fuel, water and cash in particular for our remaining staff and civilians to buy food wherever they may be is cut off.”[293] From November till January, supply routes for food and humanitarian aid had been cut off almost entirely.[294] Activities such as the nutritional support programmes run by the World Food Programme, which had been in operation prior to the outbreak of the conflict, providing essential support to families whose nutritional intake was already dangerously low, had to be put on hold. [295]

 

There were repeated calls for a humanitarian corridor to allow aid supplies into the region, culminating in an agreement between the UN and the Ethiopian Government at the beginning of December. [296] Despite this, there was little evidence of it coming into effect till January, a result of bureaucratic hold ups.[297] The United Nations, facilitated by the World Food Programme, was given permission to deliver three aid convoys to two refugee camps and Mekelle in December.[298] One of the UN Convoys providing supplies was shot at by militia and access to the camp was denied.[299] This instance demonstrated the fragile nature of the conflict and the dangers of providing life-saving relief in an active conflict zone where there is a disregard for international law.[300] Most humanitarian agencies, such as UNICEF, UNHCR, Médecins Sans Frontiers and Oxfam, were only given permission to access the region in early January, more than two months after the conflict began. Once the bureaucratic barriers were overcome, the organisations were granted restricted access to main roads and towns in areas free from ongoing fighting.[301] Given the large rural population and growing food insecurity, this was an immediate concern for humanitarian agencies.

 

In January UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters that “Humanitarian assistance continues to be constrained by the lack of full, and safe, unhindered access to Tigray, caused by both insecurity and bureaucratic delays”.[302] He went further to state that “Aid workers have been able to deliver assistance in some areas, mainly in cities, where access has been granted by the authorities. However, the number of people reached is extremely low compared to the 2.3 million people we estimate are in need of life-saving assistance”.[303] These fears were mirrored by Albert Vinas, the Emergency Coordinator for Médecins Sains Frontiers in Ethiopia, who said: “we are very concerned about what may be happening in rural areas”.[304] Ongoing clashes and lack of permissions had meant that the majority of Tigray was off limits to the agency, however reports were reaching them of the grave situation faced in these locations: “community elders and traditional authorities have told us, that the situation in these places is very bad”.[305] When the agency did reach new towns, the situation was already desperate.

 

Despite attempts to limit the information leaving Tigray, reports of soaring malnutrition were reaching the United Nations. By mid-January, UNICEF had set up emergency clinics in Shire and reported that the leading cause of death was starvation.[306] However, by the end of the month, the Ethiopian Red Cross raised its concerns that 80% of the region was still not receiving aid.[307] These concerns were mirrored in leaked minutes from the Tigray Emergency Coordination Centre (ECC) which stated that they were “not able to reach 99% of the people in need”.[308] Nonetheless, according to the UN Chief for OCHA, aid was available in January. Mark Lowcock told reporters that there was “450 tonnes of supplies [that] we’ve been trying to get in that are stuck.”[309] Painfully slow bureaucratic processes for approving access, tight restrictions on permitted locations for aid operations, stringent permit checking at various sites within Tigray by the different actors, and limited numbers of UN personnel permitted on the ground, has obstructed aid from reaching those starving within Tigray. In an update, the UN revealed the struggles faced by the various agencies trying to provide relief assistance in Tigray, as “the ‘rules of the game’ change on a day-by-day basis”, paralysing the aid effort.[310] Repeated calls by various international organisations, humanitarian agencies and states have reaffirmed the need for “unhindered”, “unimpeded” and “unfettered” access to those in need of assistance.[311] By February, three different diplomatic negotiations led by the United Nations had been signed with the Ethiopian Government. However, the agreed upon unhindered access, personnel and cargo clearances, and six-month blanket travel permissions for UN agencies and NGOs, sadly have come to little effect.[312]

 

On 8 February, two of the major Tigrayan humanitarian organisations, Tigray Development Associated (TDA) and the Relief Society of Tigray (REST) were taken over by the Federal Government.[313] The takeover of REST is symbolic. REST played a substantial role in overcoming famine in the 1980s and has helped to build resilience in the region ever since. REST’s mission was to prevent famines in the region through capacity building, the procurement of international funding and its distribution to those in need.[314] Despite this, evidence suggests that REST also could have played a role in the cross-border smuggling of arms and diversion of funds to the TPLF during the counter-insurgencies in the 1980s.[315] Although REST had separate offices and staff, to many in the region it was seen as synonymous with the TPLF.[316] By March, its 11 offices had been looted, its 33 warehouses of aid were destroyed and 70 of is trucks had been stolen.[317] The new ‘caretaker administrative board’ has replaced the old management and board members with individuals largely from the Amhara ethnic group.[318] Criticism quickly began to mount, indicating that the new leadership, in collaboration with military actors, are selling aid on for profit, rather than delivering it to those in need.[319]

 

On 11 February, the Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made the following statement: “Ending the suffering in Tigray and around the country is now my highest priority. This is why I am calling for the United Nations and international relief agencies to work with my government.” This statement appears contradictory to the reports from aid organisations and human rights groups. Just a day earlier at a webinar hosted by Chatham House, Mark Lowcock raised his fears that due to continued access restraints and conflict related complications 80% of the population was still not being reached by humanitarian agencies operating in the region.[320] These concerns were mirrored by OCHA Official Jens Laerke, who noted that access permissions were significantly holding up the delivery of aid: “The problem is access both to get into Tigray in the first place and also getting from Mekelle into the countryside where most of the people in need are.”[321]  Many of the north-western Woredas and Kebeles were off limits to aid agencies throughout February, as actors on the ground denied them access.[322] Additionally, in OCHA’s February report, it is clear that the shortage of personnel was hampering the aid effort: “Although progress has been made, with an increasing amount of humanitarian cargo mobilized, critical staff needed to scale up assistance have not been able to travel to Tigray.”[323] Despite humanitarian workers being poised and ready to move in to assist with the aid distribution, the agencies needed clearance from the Federal government to bring in more staff for the humanitarian response, which even in February was still pending.[324] As such, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s statement appears detached from reality.

 

Reports of increasing hunger and malnutrition continued to flow out of Tigray during February, with OCHA reporting that “[a]ccess to essential services, telecommunications, cash and fuel remains largely disrupted, compounding an already acute situation, and preventing people from meeting their vital and most basic needs.” [325] Thousands of people in Tigray had not received any assistance for the four months since conflict began.[326] At this point, only 1% of nutrition treatment facilities located across Tigray were reachable.[327] Despite being granted greater access than other humanitarian agencies Médecins Sains Frontiers and the International Commission of the Red Cross faced significant impediments to access due to security issues and lack of authorisation. [328] The Ethiopian Red Cross was given the most access permissions but still reported only being able to access 20% of those in need.[329] As the number of people taking refuge in remote areas was still unknown due to a lack of access, many more people could have been in need of lifesaving support than originally believed. Despite this, the Ethiopian government claimed to have already helped 1.8 million people through the delivery of 31,000 tonnes of critical food supplies by mid-February.[330] Commentators have suggested that these aid deliveries had little impact on slowing the deterioration of food security within the region, implying either negligence, incompetence, or nefarious activity within the governments aid distribution system.[331]

 

“You see their skin is really on their bones. You don’t see any food in their body,” Abera Tola, President of the Ethiopian Red Cross Society[332]

 

Humanitarian Access to Tigray by 20th February 2021[333]

 

In her 40 years of experience in the field, Secretary-General of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland claimed that she had “rarely seen a humanitarian response so impeded and unable to deliver.”[334] By March, the little aid that had been allowed into Tigray was concentrated along the main road from Alamata to Shire. Some humanitarian agencies, including Action Against Hunger and World Vision, had managed to reach a number of smaller towns off the main road.[335] To make matters worse, the situation has been dangerous for the aid workers allowed into the region. A clearly marked Médecins Sains Frontiers convoy and two public busses were pulled over at what appeared to be the aftermath of an ambush.[336] The men from the busses in front were shot at the side of the road in front of the Médecins Sains Frontiers’ staff. The Médecins Sains Frontiers’ driver was beaten with the soldier’s gun and threatened. A spokesperson for Médecins Sains Frontiers said “Our teams are still reeling from witnessing the senseless loss of lives from this latest attack”.[337]

Things began to improve in March, when OCHA reported that more aid convoys and humanitarian staff were given access to the region. By 22 March, the UN had 240 staff on the ground,[338] and had managed to secure use of working satellite dishes, nonetheless, they were still awaiting approval for satellite phones and communication equipment, which were restricted up until mid-March. An estimated 1 million people in urban areas and their surroundings had been reached with food aid by 22 March,[339] although the Federal Government claimed this figure was much higher at 4 million people. [340] Despite the rise in the number of aid beneficiaries, reports indicated that the frequency of aid deliveries was low. Those who had received aid, did so only once or twice in four months.[341] Additionally, if the widely used estimate of 4.5 million people in dire need of aid is correct,[342] then the number of those who actually received any form of aid is less than half. Arguably the real number is lower again.

 

At the United Nations Security Council debate on Conflict and Hunger in March, the situation in Tigray was highlighted by David Beasley, Chief of the World Food Programme. He told state representatives of the dreadful situation in Tigray, the worsening food insecurity and hampering of aid efforts.[343] This indicates an acknowledgement by the international community that the situation in Tigray was deteriorating and provided a sign to the Ethiopian Government that the world was keeping a close eye on the reports which have leaked out from behind the information blackout. The ongoing violence in Central, Northern and Western Tigray continued to limit humanitarian access.[344] Additionally, the continued fighting and control of main roads by militia has not only limited the distribution of aid, but also limited movement to aid distribution sites.[345] Despite repeated claims by Mr. Abiy’s office that Ethiopia had provided “unfettered” access to humanitarian agencies in Tigray, on the 8th April, repeated calls for better access to the region and the cessation of hostilities were raised at the United Nations Security Council.[346]

 

Humanitarian Access to Tigray by 23rd March 2021[347] (slight improvements from February)

 

Since March, the distribution of aid has not been without challenges. Fuel shortages have impacted the delivery of aid. Large swathes of the region are controlled by armed groups, where heavy fighting has restricted humanitarian access.[348] Despite the Prime Ministers’ Office declaring that aid workers had ‘unfettered’ access across Tigray, new checkpoints manned by soldiers in uniforms have demanded permits and refused entry arbitrarily. These factors have caused significant delays in the movement of aid.[349] The lack of access and excessive bureaucratic hurdles are compounding the already dire conditions for households in Tigray. One farmer told the BBC: “We were eating small remains of crops that we managed to hide, but now we don’t have anything. Nobody has given us any aid. Almost everyone is on the verge of death – our eyes are affected by the hunger, the situation is perilous. Death is knocking on our door. You can see the hunger on the face of each of us.”[350]

 

The worrying report that many in Tigray face Phase 5 ‘famine’ conditions has provided a rallying cry for aid agencies. The World Food Programme has ramped up their emergency food aid operation, deploying 180 more staff and scaling up food distributions. However, the Director of the WFP, David Beasley laments: “The brutal reality for our staff in Tigray is that for every family we reach with vital food, there are countless more, especially in rural areas, that we cannot reach”.[351] All humanitarian agencies operating in the region have reported continued difficulty reaching those in need, especially in rural areas. Although the UN officially stated that 2.8 million people had been reached with food aid by June, humanitarian workers believe this figure to be considerably lower at only 13% of the 5.5 million people in need of food aid; a result of continued hostilities and barriers to access.[352]

 

Access for nutritional support

 

Following the resumption of nutrition activities in February, UNICEF were reporting a worrying trend. For the month of February, more children were admitted for treatment of Severe malnutrition’ (SAM) at a small number of UNICEF clinics, than the pre-conflict region-wide figure.[353] By April nearly 10% of the children across Tigray had been screened by humanitarian agencies in collaboration with the Regional Health Bureau. According to the World Health Organisation, the level of ‘moderate malnutrition’ (MAM) and SAM in children under 59 months provides an indication of the entire population’s food security.[354] Alarmingly, 25% of the children screened fell under the MAM category, while 2.9% were identified as SAM.[355] These statistics are even more disturbing when placed in the context of the decades of improvement in nutrition which preceded the current conflict. At the time, commentators were speculating that 100 children were dying each day due to malnutrition.[356]

 

In some areas the figures are even more concerning. At one mobile clinic, run by the International Rescue Committee and UNICEF, at the IDP camp in Mai Tsebri, the demand for nutritional assistance by both IDPs and the community is overwhelming. In just four days, 643 children were screened, 12% and 23% were diagnosed with SAM and MAM respectively.[357] “IRC/UNICEF are providing us with all the necessary drugs to treat children. What we are lacking is essential drugs to treat adults,” says Berhe Gebremeskel, a Health Officer at Mai Tsebri, Mobile Health and Nutrition Team (MHNT). “For example, we have screened 54 pregnant and lactating women today and 26 have moderate acute malnutrition. And from the 205 children screened for malnutrition this morning, 139 are moderately malnourished.”[358] Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food (RUFT) donated by USAID is being handed out to parents for their malnourished children and emergency drug kits have been procured with UK Government funding. This is just one of 22 Mobile Health and Nutrition Teams (MHNTs) operated by UNICEF in the region since access was granted, indicating the severity of food insecurity. However, by June, OCHA reported the desperate need for more Ready-to-Use-Therapeutic Food (RUFT) Vitamin A and Albendazole for children in Eastern Tigray.[359]

 

Worke Tsegaye, a twenty-year-old young mother had left her home in December, travelling for three months through active conflict zones to reach safety and find treatment for her two-year-old son’s fever.[360] Her husband remained behind, reluctant to leave his home, so with no way of getting in touch, Worke does not even know if he is still alive: “We were so scared of the conflict and everyone left the town all at once. We moved from one place to the other until we reached in Mai Tsebri. It was difficult.” She walks two hours a day to the IDP site, where she receives water, healthcare, and hygiene products.[361] Having been unable to afford treatment for her son at the local health centre, the mobile clinic has provided them with a lifeline. Her story is just one of many which remain untold.

 

7.7 The politicisation of aid

 

There are mounting concerns that although food aid has now reached Tigray, it is not enough and is not reaching those who it is intended for.[362] Widespread looting and interference with aid distributions has led to reports of aid being diverted to Eritrean and Amhara militia.[363] An investigation into the official amount of aid donated and eyewitness testimony within Tigray shows a discrepancy between the amount of aid donated and what has been received. In Shire, two deliveries of food aid were distributed by the Federal Government in December and January.[364] The December delivery amounted to between 1100 and 1760 tonnes of food aid. The first of the deliveries should have provided the inhabitants and IDPs with 15kg of food aid per person, while the January delivery was believed to be able to last inhabitants for two months. However, conversations with people in Shire illustrate a different reality. Not all the intended recipients received food aid, and many that did were forced to sign for 15kg when they only received 7kg.[365] This activity is not restricted to Shire, and many rural areas have not seen any aid at all.[366]  The same investigation revealed that Eritrean soldiers had stolen food aid from IDPs who were living in the Aksum University Shire Campus.[367] Further evidence suggests that the individuals in charge of distributing the aid were syphoning it off and selling it on for profit.[368]

 

In a similar fashion, reports from northern areas of Tigray near the Eritrean border indicate that despite food aid reaching the woredas, it was all promptly stolen by the Eritrean army.[369] One humanitarian worker recalled their sorrow when they witnessed this first hand: “We went to bring food aid to a town in a woreda that is fully controlled by the Eritrean army. All the food aid that we brought was taken by the Eritrean soldiers. I was so sad.”[370] Unfortunately these events are common in Tigray. In early June, the Ethiopian Defence Forces apprehended INGO trucks containing flour and essential non-food items. They arrested the trucks drivers and confiscated the aid. The goods in question had been purchased with money from the Ethiopian Humanitarian Fund, the United Nations fund collected from international donors.[371] The ethical concerns associated with the misappropriation of aid by Ethiopian soldiers are alarming. This pattern has been repeated since the conflict began. The limited data available makes it difficult to assess how much aid has been looted or has reached the intended beneficiaries. Researchers from the University of Ghent indicate that no aid has been distributed in areas under Amhara control and several other woredas where access has been denied due to pervasive fighting.[372] It is estimated that over 2 million people have not received any aid between the beginning of the conflict in November and June 2021.

 

Since 10 February, Ethiopian soldiers have prevented food aid from reaching Hawzena and Tembein, known TPLF strongholds. They ordered the aid to be returned to Mekelle, so as to prevent it from entering a region inhabited by their opposition. The Ethiopian forces thus demonstrated that starvation is a tactic, if not a policy objective of their campaign. In further support of this, individuals operating on the ground have outlined how the Ethiopian government’s relief plans do not discuss how aid could be distributed within the TPLF controlled areas.[373] Similar tactics have been used by the Eritrean soldiers, who have withheld aid from those suspected to be TPLF sympathisers or fighters.[374] In one interview, a witness from Irob recalled the horrifying scene when Eritrean soldiers threatened her by saying: “If you don’t bring your father, your brothers, you don’t get the aid, you’ll starve”.[375] Should the men in the family be handed over to the Eritrean soldiers, their fate would almost certainly have been death.

 

OCHA have been recording each denial of humanitarian, and by 10 June there had been 131 incidents. A rise in violence against humanitarian workers has increased the risk of operating in the region. Aid workers have been intimidated, arrested, assaulted, and even killed.[376] In May, Samantha Power, the administrator of USAID raised her concerns over the intentional attacks on aid workers, which by this point had left eight humanitarian workers killed in action.[377] Of the 131 violations, 54 were undertaken by Ethiopian soldiers, 50 committed by Eritrean soldiers, 4 by combined Eritrean and Ethiopian forces, 21 by Amhara militias and 1 by Tigrayan opposition forces.[378] As such, no parties to the conflict have clean hands.

 

Other worrying reports of the politicisation of aid have seeped out of Tigray.

 

Civilians trying to reach aid distribution points face perilous journeys, with the risk of hitting roadblocks, extortionate bribes, or targeted violence. One farmer told the BBC: “When we want to go to the place where there is aid all roads are blocked… Even if we try on foot, if the militias from Amhara found us they force us to pay 4,000-5,000 birr [between $90 and $115] each.” Another farmer added: “If we try to go to the place where there is aid we will be killed in the forest”.[379] What’s more, in many woredas, unless a Prosperity Party administrator (the Ethiopian Federal Government’s party) was appointed, aid was withheld. Additionally, local NGOs have reported that those who became Prosperity Party members were rewarded with larger rations of food aid.[380] This use of food as a means to bribe starving civilians for political support, while withholding food from dissidents, is a calculated, inexcusable, inhumane act. The patterns of despair, misery and malnutrition which have been reported illustrates a daunting picture of devastation across Tigray, which will only get worse if unhindered access is not granted and hostilities ceased.

 

  • Is history repeating itself?

 

As has been demonstrated, conflict and poor policy decisions led to the calamitous events in 1984.[381] Since then, the region had been the site of impressive development, with food security and health improving across the board. The growth of industry and microfinances provided Tigrayans with new freedoms through financial security. It is painful to view the ongoing conflict in the light of these developments; decades of hard work have been undone in a matter of months. Although the Coronavirus pandemic and locust invasion impacted the region, the conflict has devastated all hopes of immediate food security. The alarming reports of human rights violations which have occurred since November, and which continue to unfold, will scar Tigray for many years to come.

 

The September to January harvest was damaged by locusts, then interrupted by the beginning of the conflict. The sowing season from April-June 2021 ahead of the kiremt rainy season has also been disrupted. The soils have been scorched of their fertility, people have been displaced from their land, and grain stores have been looted. It is unclear how many farmers still have access to fertile land or seed. With livestock slaughtered and equipment pillaged, it is uncertain how many farmers will be able to plough what land still remains. The Bureau of Agriculture has begun a three-month plan to assist farmers in accessible areas ahead of the kremti rains, however there is a desperate need for a ceasefire so that farmers can sow their crops safety.[382] There is also a demand for seed, as grain has been consumed in order to stay alive. Despite these efforts, many people remain inaccessible, do not have land or seed to sow, or are in sites of ongoing conflict. Fears that the upcoming growing season from June to November will be lost are mounting. If this happens, it could be a year until the people of Tigray are able to grow their own food.  This would further decimate hopes for long-term food security in the region, as recovery to pre-conflict levels of food security could take many years. As such, the battle wounds will not fade if the next harvest is prevented…

 

“Farmers express their hope that the war should be over before kremti, otherwise there will be huge famine and starvation next year.” Mulugeta Gebrehiwot, Senior Fellow at the World Peace Foundation & TPLF[383]

 

Despite attempts to conceal the real extent of the human rights violations from the world, information has leaked out of the region and modern techniques (open-source investigations and satellite imagery) have been used to corroborate reports of widespread and systematic starvation crimes against the civilian population. However, the communication blackout and limited access to the region means the sheer extent of suffering is still unknown. By keeping networks down and limiting access, starvation crimes are being concealed.

 

“One day I fear an ashamed world will apologize to the people of Tigray for not doing more. The communication blackout in the region and the distraction of a global pandemic will not stand up as adequate excuses. We know too much already” Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, Founder and CEO of Mary’s Meals.[384]

 

The disruption to economic activity, destruction, looting and pillaging of food supplies, inaccessibility of financial savings, withholding of wages, and high levels of displacement, have left over 5.5 million people in Tigray food insecure. The IPC report released in June should shock the world. This is now the worst food security crisis since Somalia in 2011 and without immediate action more lives will be lost. If the conflict does not escalate further and 60% of the population are reached with aid, it is still predicted that 400,000 people will be facing famine-like conditions by September.[385] Unfortunately, this could be the best-case scenario if action is not taken immediately.

 

Portrays May-June 2021 food security, and predicted food security for July-September 2021[386]

 

“We cannot make the same mistake twice, we cannot let Ethiopia starve” Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US Representative to the United Nations

 

At the US-EU roundtable on the eve of the G7 summit in June, the UN’s Humanitarian Chief outlined, with uncomfortable gravity, the process of dying of starvation.  With no food, the metabolism slows down to preserve energy for the vital organs. Fatigue, irritability, and confusion sets in. The immune system loses strength. The likelihood of dying from other diseases, such as cholera or Covid-19 increases. For those who escape disease, but remain without food, the vital organs wither and fail. Eventually the body devours its own muscles. Hallucinations and convulsions prelude the heart stopping. [T]his is a terrible agonising and humiliating death, it is going to happen to a lot of people [in Tigray]… and that is particularly cruel in a world like ours where there is in fact more than enough food for everyone. This is a solvable problem and we really have to solve it” Mark Lowcock, OCHA

 

There is evidence to suggest that starvation is not only being used as a tactic, but also as a weapon of war in Tigray. Through the destruction of harvests, scorched earth tactics and slaughtering of livestock, the ability for Tigrayans to produce their own food has been removed. Through the looting and pillaging of possessions and businesses, as well as the attacks on the banking system and work opportunities, the ability for Tigrayans to buy food has been removed. Through the obstruction, diversion and withholding of aid, the ability of Tigrayans to access lifesaving food has been removed. A famine far exceeding the devastation of the 1984-85 famine could indeed occur in the coming months, if unhindered access to all areas of Tigray is not granted to humanitarian workers and if relief is not delivered to all those in need rather than used to fuel the war. A cessation of hostilities is essential for food security in the region.

[1] Hillary Rodham Clinton scholar, Swansea University

[2] World Food Summit, 1996 – Cited In: FAO (2006) Food Security, Policy Brief, Available at: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/faoitaly/documents/pdf/pdf_food_security_concept_note.pdf

[3] Webb, P., And J. Von Braun. 1994. Famine And Food Security In Ethiopia: Lessons For Africa. John Wiley & Sons, Chichester, New York, USA.; Van Der Veen, A., And Tagel, G. 2011. Effect Of Policy Interventions On Food Security In Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Ecology And Society 16(1): 18. [Online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol16/iss1/art18/.

[4] Graham Hancock (1985) Ethiopia, The Challenge Of Hunger, London Victor Golancz Ltd.; Also Found In “The Book Of The Saints Of The Ethiopian Church” Available At: https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/the_book_of_the_saints_of_the_ethiopian.html?id=ooaxcnjqq1ic&redir_esc=y.

[5] 4 Famines In The 13th Century, No Less Than 23 Major Famines 1540-1800, 6 During 1900s – Speculates More As Historical Records Are Spotty, In Graham Hancock (1985) Ethiopia, The Challenge Of Hunger, London Victor Golancz Ltd

[6] Graham Hancock (1985) Ethiopia, The Challenge Of Hunger, London Victor Golancz Ltd

[7] Mesfin Wolde (1986) Marian Rural Vulnerability To Famine In Ethiopia 1958-1977. Intermediate Technology Publictions, London.

[8] Figures Vary Greatly Between Sources. 1 Million Died In 1984 Famine, 200,000 Died In 1973, Death Toll Unknown For 1965-67, ‘Tens Of Thousands’ And 400,000 Died In 1958 According To: Mesfin Wolde (1986) Marian Rural Vulnerability To Famine In Ethiopia 1958-1977. Intermediate Technology Publications, London.; Alternatively, Alex De Waal Outlines Death Tolls At 600,000 For 1984-5, Concurs 200,000 In 1973, 50,000 In 1966, 100,000 In 1958, In His Book: De Waal (2018) Mass Starvation, (Polity Press, Cambridge).

[9]Nyseen, Jacob And Frankl (2019) Geo-Trekking In Ethiopia’s Tropical Mountains, Springer, Cham, Pages 373-386.; Deckers, S., Nyssen, J., Lanckriet, S., 2020. Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Has Seen Famine Before: Why It Could Happen Again. The Conversation, Available At https://theconversation.com/ethiopias-tigray-region-has-seenfamine-before-why-it-could-happen-again-150181.

[10] UNICEF, Situation Analysis Of Children And Women: Tigray Region, Available At: https://www.unicef.org/ethiopia/media/2351/file/tigray%20region%20.pdf.

[11] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[12] Van Der Veen, A., And Tagel, G. 2011. Effect Of Policy Interventions On Food Security In Tigray, Northern Ethiopia. Ecology And Society 16(1): 18. [Online] URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol16/iss1/art18/.

[13] Hadgu G, Tesfaye K, Mamo G (2015) Analysis Of Climate Change In Northern Ethiopia: Implications For Agricultural Production. Theor Appl Climatol 121:733–747.; Araya AB (2011) Coping With Drought For Food Security In Tigray, Ethiopia. Ph.D. Thesis, Wageningen,; Berhane, A., Hadgu, G., Worku, W. Et Al. Trends In Extreme Temperature And Rainfall Indices In The Semi-Arid Areas Of Western Tigray, Ethiopia. Environ Syst Res 9, 3 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40068-020-00165-6.

[14] ACAPS (2021) Ethiopia: The Pre-Crisis Situation In Tigray, Available At: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/20210223_acaps_secondary_data_review_ethiopia_pre-crisis_situation_in_tigray.pdf.

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[100] Moeller (1999) Compassion Fatigue: How The Media Sell Disease, Famine, War And Death. Routledge, London.

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[132] Deckers, S., Nyssen, J., Lanckriet, S., 2020. Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Has Seen Famine Before: Why It Could Happen Again. The Conversation, 17/11/2020. https://theconversation.com/ethiopias-tigray-region-has-seenfamine-before-why-it-could-happen-again-150181.

[133] Moreland And Smith, 2012 ‘Modelling Climate Change, Food Security And Population: Pilot Testing The Model In Ethiopia’. New Orleans: Tulane University, Futures Group.

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[137] Deckers, S., Nyssen, J., Lanckriet, S., 2020. Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Has Seen Famine Before: Why It Could Happen Again. The Conversation, 17/11/2020. https://theconversation.com/ethiopias-tigray-region-has-seenfamine-before-why-it-could-happen-again-150181.

[138] The Economist (2021) Tigray Is Edging Closer To Famine, Available At: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/04/22/tigray-is-edging-closer-to-famine.

[139] FEWS NET (2020) Analysis of the Food Security Situation in Tigray (October) Available at: https://fews.net/east-africa/ethiopia

[140] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf; Ethiopia IPC Technical Working Group, Ethiopia IPC Acute Food Insecurity Analysis, 2020, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/ipc_ethiopia_acute_food_insecurity_2020oct2021sept_report.pdf; ‘Ethiopia: Acute Food Insecurity Update (Dates TBC),’ Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, Available at: http://www.ipcinfo.org/ipcinfo-website/events/events-details/en/c/1153065/

[141] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[142] IPC, ‘The IPC Famine Fact Sheet’ (IPC, December 2020), Available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/IPC_Famine_Factsheet_2020Nov_0.pdf> Accessed 28 June 2021

[143] Mercy Corps (2020) Desert Locusts In East Africa, Available At: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/desert-locusts-east-africa-plague-another-order; fao (2020) Desert Locust Bulletin, Available At: http://www.fao.org/ag/locusts/common/ecg/562/en/dl505e.pdf; OCHA (2021) Ethiopia Situation Update, Available At: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi.

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[145] Deckers, S., Nyssen, J., Lanckriet, S., 2020. Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Has Seen Famine Before: Why It Could Happen Again, The Conversation, Available at: https://theconversation.com/ethiopias-tigray-region-has-seenfamine-before-why-it-could-happen-again-150181

[146] Deckers, S., Nyssen, J., Lanckriet, S., 2020. Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Has Seen Famine Before: Why It Could Happen Again. The Conversation, Available at: https://theconversation.com/ethiopias-tigray-region-has-seenfamine-before-why-it-could-happen-again-150181

[147] Nyssen (2021) The Situation In Tigray At The Beginning Of 2021, Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348296742_The_situation_in_Tigray_at_the_beginning_of_2021

[148] OCHA (28 February 2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update; Situation Report. Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-tigray-region-humanitarian-update-situation-report-28-february-2021.; Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation

[149] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf.; Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation

[150] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation.; World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf.

[151] United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict (2021) Ms. Pramila Patten, urges all parties to prohibit the use of sexual violence and cease hostilities in the Tigray region of Ethiopia, Press Release, Available at: https://www.un.org/sexualviolenceinconflict/press-release/united-nations-special-representative-of-the-secretary-general-on-sexual-violence-in-conflict-ms-pramila-patten-urges-all-parties-to-prohibit-the-use-of-sexual-violence-and-cease-hostilities-in-the/

[152] Nyssen (2021) The Situation In Tigray At The Beginning Of 2021, Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348296742_The_situation_in_Tigray_at_the_beginning_of_2021

[153] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation

[154] FAO (2006) Food Security, Policy Brief, Available at: http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/templates/faoitaly/documents/pdf/pdf_food_security_concept_note.pdf

[155] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[156] BBC (2021) Ethiopia Tigray Crisis: Fear of Mass Starvation, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-55695123

[157]Nyssen (2021) The Situation In Tigray At The Beginning Of 2021, Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348296742_The_situation_in_Tigray_at_the_beginning_of_2021.; Inter-Cluster Coordination Group and UNICEF Ethiopia (2020) Updated Humanitarian Response Plan for Northern Ethiopia, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/northern_ethiopia_updated_humanitairan_response_plan_second_iteration_web.pdf

[158] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia, Access Snapshot – Tigray Region, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/ocha_access_210120_snapshot_tigray02.pdf

[159] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation

[160] Reuters (2021) Ethiopians dying, hungry and fearful in war-hit Tigray: agencies, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-conflict-iduskbn29p0x1

[161] BBC (2021) Tigray crisis: Ethiopia region at risk of huge ‘humanitarian disaster’, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-55905108

[162] Walsh (2021) Ethiopia’s War Leads to Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray Region, U.S. Report Says, The New York Times, Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/world/middleeast/ethiopia-tigray-ethnic-cleansing.html.

[163] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update Situation Report, Accessed April 2021, Available at: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi.; Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation.

[164] United States Mission to the United Nations (2012) Statement by US Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas Greenfield on the Situation in Ethiopias Tigray Region, Available at: https://usun.usmission.gov/statement-by-ambassador-linda-thomas-greenfield-on-the-situation-in-ethiopias-tigray-region/

[165] De Waal (2021) In The Tigray War Weaponised Starvation Takes A Devastating Toll, World Politics Review, Available At: https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/29548/in-the-tigray-war-weaponized-starvation-takes-a-devastating-toll

[166] BBC (2021) Ethiopia Tigray Crisis: Fear of Mass Starvation, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-55695123

[167] World Peace Foundation (2021) “They Have Destroyed Tigray, Literally”: Mulugeta Gebrehiwot speaks from the mountains of Tigray, Transcript of phone call available at: https://sites.tufts.edu/reinventingpeace/files/2021/01/mulugeta-call-27-jan-full-transcript1-1.pdf

[168] FEWS NET (n.d.) IPC Classification, Available at: https://fews.net/ipc.

[169] Office of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia (2021) Livestream, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISmTarD16Y8

[170] IPC (2021) Ethiopia: Acute Food Insecurity Situation May-June 2021 and Projection for July-September, Available at: http://www.ipcinfo.org/ipcinfo-website/resources/resources-details/en/c/1154899/

[171] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint [June edition], Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_Tigray_Atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation/link/60c37ed14585157774cc5722/download

[172] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint [June edition], Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_Tigray_Atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation/link/60c37ed14585157774cc5722/download

[173] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[174]  Nyssen (2021) The Situation In Tigray At The Beginning Of 2021, Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348296742_The_situation_in_Tigray_at_the_beginning_of_2021

[175] The United Nations Charter (1945) Available at: https://www.un.org/en/about-us/un-charter

[176] For Example: The International Covenant On Economic, Social And Cultural Rights; The International Covenant On Civil And Political Rights; The European Convention On Human Rights; And The Inter American Convention Of Human Rights; The African Charter On Human And People’s Rights.

[177] For example: The Geneva Conventions and Its Protocols; The San Remo Manual On Naval Warfare; The Missile/ Air Warfare Manual.

[178] For example: The Rome Statute Of The International Criminal Courts; The International Residual Mechanism For Criminal Tribunals Statute; The Malabo Protocol African Court Of Justice And Human Rights.

[179] For example: The Convention Against Torture And Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or Punishment (CAT); The Convention On The Rights Of The Child (CRC)

[180] For Example: UNGA Right To Food Resolution; UNSC Conflict And Hunger 2417 Resolution.

[181] For example, these activities are prohibited within: The Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols; The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

[182] International law prohibiting starvation in conflict (through tool or weapon of war) refers to the obstruction, or attacks on, objects indispensable for survival and impediment of relief efforts, See: The Geneva Convention, Article 54(1) of Protocol One and Article 14 of Protocol Two prohibit starvation as a method of war and method of combat, respectively, at: International Committee of the Red Cross, ‘International Humanitarian Law Database: Practise Relating to Rule 53: Starvation as a method of warfare’, (ICRC, no date), Available at: https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_rul_rule53.

[183] The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article (8) (2) (b) (xxv) and (8)(2)(e)(xxv), at: UNGA, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (17 July 1998; last amended 2019).

[184] The Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article (8) (2) (b) (xxv) and (8)(2)(e)(xxv), at: UNGA, Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (17 July 1998; last amended 2019).; Additionally, scholars have suggested that the international community should consider “conduct that impedes activities indispensable to survival to be a form of depriving the affected persons of objects indispensable to survival.” See: World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[185] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[186] Reuters (2021) Ethiopia rejects U.S. allegations of ethnic cleansing in Tigray, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-ethiopia-conflict-idUSKBN2B50ES

[187] Federica Iezzi (2021) Genocide in Tigray, Nena News, Available at: http://nena-news.it/focus-on-africa-genocidio-nel-tigray/; Aid to the Church in Need (2021) Ethiopia, ‘Genocide is happening in Tigray’, Aleteia, Available at: https://aleteia.org/2021/06/02/ethiopia-genocide-is-happening-in-tigray/

[188]Alex de Waal (2021) Ethiopia Tigray Crisis: Warnings of genocide and famine, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-57226551

[189] Alex de Waal (2021) Ethiopia Tigray Crisis: Warnings of genocide and famine, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-57226551

[190] The Economist (2021) Ethiopia’s government appears to be wielding hunger as a weapon, available at: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/01/23/ethiopias-government-appears-to-be-wielding-hunger-as-a-weapon

[191] Here ‘Starvation Crimes’ Refers To: The Elements Of The War Crime Of Starvation Under The Rome Statute; The Elements of the crimes listed under Article 54(1) Of Protocol One And Article 14 Of Protocol Two Of The Geneva Convention Which Prohibit Starvation As A Method Of War And Method Of Combat, Respectively. A term coined by academic Bridget Conley, see: Conley and de Waal (2019) The Purposes of Starvation: Historical and Contemporary Uses, Journal of International Criminal Justice, Volume 17 (4) pp.699-702.

[192] The International Committee of The Red Cross IHL Database: “Under Ethiopia’s Penal Code (1957), it is a war crime to organize, order or engage in “wilful reduction to starvation” of the civilian population, in time of war, armed conflict or occupation.” Available at: https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/customary-ihl/eng/docs/v2_rul_rule53_sectiona

[193] Alex de Waal (2021) Ethiopia Tigray Crisis: Warnings of genocide and famine, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-57226551

[194] For examples see: Reuters (2021) Anger in Somalia as sons secretly sent to serve in Eritrea military force, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-somalia-eritrea-security-idUSKBN29X1F5’; Nyssen (2021) Catastrophe stalks Tigray, again, Available at: https://www.ethiopia-insight.com/2021/02/19/catastrophe-stalks-tigray-again/; Associated Press (2021) In Somalia, Mothers Fear Sons Were Sent to Ethiopia Conflict, Available at: https://www.voanews.com/africa/somalia-mothers-fear-sons-were-sent-ethiopia-conflict; Mukami (2021) Somalia: Parents protest over missing recruits, Available at: https://www.aa.com.tr/en/africa/somalia-parents-protest-over-missing-recruits/2116828; African Military Blog (2020) Tigray: UAE Drones support Ethiopia, Available at: https://eritreahub.org/tigray-uae-drones-supports-ethiopia; Reuters (2020) In Escalation of Ethiopia War, Tigray Leader Says His Forces Fired Rockets at Eritrea, Available at: In Escalation of Ethiopia War, Tigray Leader Says His Forces Fired Rockets at Eritrea; Bellingcat (2020) Are Emirati Armed Drones Supporting Ethiopia from an Eritrean Air Base?, Available at: https://www.bellingcat.com/news/rest-of-world/2020/11/19/are-emirati-armed-drones-supporting-ethiopia-from-an-eritrean-air-base/

[195] Rome Statute Of The International Criminal Court 8 (2) (B) (Xxv) “Intentionally Using Starvation Of Civilians As A Method Of Warfare By Depriving Them Of Objects Indispensable To Their Survival, Including Wilfully Impeding Relief Supplies As Provided For Under The Geneva Conventions.; For more information see: https://www.icc-cpi.int/nr/rdonlyres/add16852-aee9-4757-abe7-9cdc7cf02886/283503/romestatuteng1.pdf

[196] A power embedded in Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute.

[197] de Waal (2021) In The Tigray War Weaponised Starvation Takes A Devastating Toll, World Politics Review, Available At: https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/29548/in-the-tigray-war-weaponized-starvation-takes-a-devastating-toll.; Lederer (2021) Diplomats: UN Fails To Approve Call To End Tigray Violence, Available At: https://apnews.com/article/russia-violence-india-humanitarian-assistance-ethiopia-f93a9a6bc7c0845a37cf7e3e3757e1e7.

[198] REF

[199] de Waal (2021) Ethiopia Tigray Crisis: Warnings of genocide and famine, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-57226551

[200] De Waal (2021) The World Bank Should Not Fund Ethiopia’s War In Tigray, The Financial Times, Available At: https://eritreahub.org/the-world-bank-should-not-fund-ethiopias-war-in-tigray.

[201] United Nations Security Council, S/RES/2417 (2018).

[202] United Nations Security Council, S/RES/2417 (2018).

[203] European Union (2021) EU Statement – United Nations Security Council: Open Debate on Conflict and Food Security, Available at:

https://eeas.europa.eu/delegations/un-new-york/94468/eu-statement-united-nations-security-council-open-debate-conflict-and-food-security_en

[204] De Waal (2021) In The Tigray War Weaponised Starvation Takes A Devastating Toll, World Politics Review, Available At: https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/29548/in-the-tigray-war-weaponized-starvation-takes-a-devastating-toll.; Lederer (2021) Diplomats: UN Fails To Approve Call To End Tigray Violence, Available At: https://apnews.com/article/russia-violence-india-humanitarian-assistance-ethiopia-f93a9a6bc7c0845a37cf7e3e3757e1e7.

[205] Human Rights Watch (June 11, 2021) NGOs Call for UN Human Rights Council Resolution on Tigray, Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/06/11/ngos-call-un-human-rights-council-resolution-tigray; OHCHR (March 25 2021) Ethiopia: Joint investigation with a view to a credible accountability process, Available at: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=26949&LangID=E

[206] African Union (June 16, 2021) Press Statement on the official launch of the Commission of inquiry in Tigray, Available at: https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20210616/press-statement-official-launch-commission-inquiry-tigray-region-federal

[207] Alex de Waal (2021) Viewpoint: From Ethiopia’s Tigray region to Yemen, the dilemma of declaring a famine, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-55879681

[208] The Nobel Prize, All Nobel Peace Prizes, Available at: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/lists/all-nobel-peace-prizes/

[209] The Nobel Prize, All Nobel Peace Prizes, Available at: https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/lists/all-nobel-peace-prizes/

[210] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation

[211] FIRIS Fire Alert, Twitter Post, January 15, 2021, https://twitter.com/firis_firealert/status/1350302487199158274?s=20.; Reuters Staff, ‘Hundreds Of Buildings Burned Around Tigray Town, Research Group Says,’ Reuters, February 25, 2021,; ‘Ethiopia: ‘Hundreds Executed’ In Tigray,’ Sky News, Youtube, March 16, 2021.; De Waal (2021) ‘The Mango Orchards Of Zamra, Tigray,’ World Peace Foundation, March 3, 2021, Available at: https://sites.tufts.edu/reinventingpeace/2021/03/03/the-mango-orchards-of-zamra-tigray/.

[212] Nyssen 2020 Cluster Bombing On Tigray By The Ethiopian Army – More Than 500 Homesteads Destroyed In Gijet. Paper https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349669904_cluster_bombing_on_tigray_by_the_ethiopian_army__more_than_500_homesteads_destroyed_in_gijet.; De Waal (2021) ‘The Mango Orchards Of Zamra, Tigray,’ World Peace Foundation, March 3, 2021, Available at: https://sites.tufts.edu/reinventingpeace/2021/03/03/the-mango-orchards-of-zamra-tigray/.

[213] The Economist (2021) Soldiers Have Killed Hundreds Of Civilians In Tigray, Available at: https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2021/02/27/soldiers-have-killed-hundreds-of-civilians-in-tigray.; De Waal (2021) ‘The Mango Orchards Of Zamra, Tigray,’ World Peace Foundation, March 3, 2021, Available at: https://sites.tufts.edu/reinventingpeace/2021/03/03/the-mango-orchards-of-zamra-tigray/.;

Oxfam (2021) Conflict Compounded By Covid-19 And Climate Change Pushes Millions In Tigray To The Brink, Available at: https://www.oxfam.org/fr/node/15553.; Reuters Staff (2021) Hundreds Of Buildings Burned Around Tigray Town, Research Group Says, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-conflict-fires-idUSKBN2AP196.; Sky (2021) ‘Ethiopia: ‘Hundreds Executed’ In Tigray,’ Youtube, March 16, 2021, Available at: https://news.sky.com/video/ethiopia-hundreds-executed-in-tigray-12249216.

[214] Jan Nyssen, ‘Late 2020 Personal Diary Of The War On Tigray,’ Ghent University, January, 2021, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348356294.; World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[215] World Peace Foundation Report; Ryan O’Farrell, Twitter Post, November 11, 2020, https://twitter.com/ryanmofarrell/status/1326398149460709378.; ‘FIRMS FAQ,’ NASA FIRMS, Last Modified February 22, 2021, https://earthdata.nasa.gov/faq/firms-faq#ed-user-guides.

[216] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[217] a number of articles within the geneva conventions prohibit the destruction of food including through scorched earth tactics, which intend to deprive the civilian population of food: Geneva Convention Protocol I, Article 35 (3) “it is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment.”  Article 51(4) (b)-(c): attacks which “employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or attacks which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by the protocol and which consequently are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction”.; Geneva Convention Protocol I, Article 54 (2) “it is prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works, for the specific purpose of denying them for their sustenance value to the civilian population or to the adverse party, whatever the motive, whether in order to starve out civilians, to cause them to move away, or for any other motive.”.; Geneva Convention Protocol I, Article 54 (3) (B) indicates that should actions be taken against armed forces, it should not “leave the civilian population with such inadequate food or water as to cause its starvation or force its movement.”; Geneva Convention Protocol I, Article 55 (1) “care shall be taken in warfare to protect the natural environment against widespread, long-term and severe damage. This protection includes a prohibition of the use of methods or means of warfare which are intended or may be expected to cause such damage to the natural environment and thereby to prejudice the health or survival of the population.”; Geneva Convention Protocol II, Article 14 “starvation of civilians as a method of combat is prohibited. It is therefore prohibited to attack, destroy, remove or render useless, for that purpose, objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, agricultural areas for the production of foodstuffs, crops, livestock, drinking water installations and supplies and irrigation works.”

[218] Sidley (2021) Ethiopia’s Hidden War, The International Bar Association, Available at: https://www.ibanet.org/article/newdetail.aspx?articleuid=7e96c4dd-a463-4a65-8610-f1ab30a59a8b

[219] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation.; World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[220] De Waal (2021) In The Tigray War Weaponised Starvation Takes A Devastating Toll, World Politics Review, Available At: https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/29548/in-the-tigray-war-weaponized-starvation-takes-a-devastating-toll.;

Nyssen, ‘Late 2020 Personal Diary Of The War On Tigray,’ Ghent University, January, 2021, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/348356294

[221] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update

Situation Report, Available at: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi

[222] Zelalem (2021) “They Started Burning the Homes”: Ethiopians Say Their Towns Are Being Razed in Ethnic Cleansing Campaign, Vice News, Available at: https://www.vice.com/en/article/n7vgex/they-started-burning-the-homes-ethiopians-say-their-towns-are-being-razed-in-ethnic-cleansing-campaign.

[223] Alex de Waal (2021) Ethiopia Tigray Crisis: Warnings of genocide and famine, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-57226551

[224] For Example: Rome Statue Of The International Criminal Court, Article 8 (2) (E) (V) prohibits “pillaging a town or place, even when taken by assault”.; geneva convention (IV) Article 33 “pillage is prohibited”.; Geneva Convention Additional Protocol II Article 4 (2) “without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the following acts against the persons referred to in paragraph 1 are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever:” (g) “pillage”.

[225] Human Rights Watch (2021) Ethiopia: Eritrean Forces Massacre Tigray Civilians, Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/03/05/ethiopia-eritrean-forces-massacre-tigray-civilians.; Amnesty International (2021) The Massacre in Axum, Available at: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/afr25/3730/2021/en/.

[226] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf.

[227] Reuters (2021) Ethiopians dying, hungry and fearful in war-hit Tigray: agencies, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-conflict-iduskbn29p0x1

[228] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[229] Anna (2021) Extreme urgent need: Starvation haunts Ethiopia’s Tigray, Associated Press, Available at: https://apnews.com/article/ethiopia-united-nations-kenya-ef0b6b2db2994d4c3042cf19f3d92a2a

[230] Anna (2021) Witnesses: Eritrean Soldiers Loot, Kill In Ethiopia’s Tigray, Associated Press, Available at: https://apnews.com/article/tigray-ethiopia-news-2bdd10888f7717690847ad117f09f2d4#:~:text=NAIROBI%2C%20Kenya%20(AP)%20%E2%80%94,pockets%20clinked%20with%20stolen%20jewelry.&text=Heartbreakingly%20worse%2C%20she%20said%2C%20Eritrean,didn’t%20allow%20their%20burials.

OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, February 28, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-tigray-region-humanitarian-update-situation-report-28-february-2021

[231] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[232] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[233] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[234] Chatham House Webinar (2021) Responding To The Humanitarian Situation In Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, Available At: https://www.chathamhouse.org/events/all/research-event/responding-humanitarian-situation-ethiopias-tigray-region

[235] Anna (2021) Extreme urgent need: Starvation haunts Ethiopia’s Tigray, Associated Press, Available at: https://apnews.com/article/ethiopia-united-nations-kenya-ef0b6b2db2994d4c3042cf19f3d92a2a

[236] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report 4th February, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/situation%20report%20-%20ethiopia%20-%20tigray%20region%20humanitarian%20update%20-%204%20feb%202021.pdf

[237]OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report 4th February, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/situation%20report%20-%20ethiopia%20-%20tigray%20region%20humanitarian%20update%20-%204%20feb%202021.pdf

[238] Nyssen, J., 2021. Catastrophe Stalks Tigray, Again. Ethiopia Insight, 19 February 2021, Available at: https://www.ethiopiainsight.com/2021/02/19/catastrophe-stalks-tigray-again/.

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[239] Tesfay (2021) Deux transports supplémentaires par camions financés par Tesfay ont pu apporter 116 000 kilos de farine de blé à Adigrat, Available at: http://tesfayblog.blogspot.com/.

[240]  Nyssen, J., 2021. Catastrophe Stalks Tigray, Again. Ethiopia Insight, 19 February 2021, Available at: https://www.ethiopiainsight.com/2021/02/19/catastrophe-stalks-tigray-again/.

[241] Human Rights Watch (2021) Ethiopia: Eritrean Forces Massacre Tigray Civilians, Available at: https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/03/05/ethiopia-eritrean-forces-massacre-tigray-civilians.

[242]Mary’s Meals (2021) Crisis in Ethiopia: behind the blackout in Tigray, Available at: https://www.marysmealsusa.org/en/who-we-are/news-and-blogs/crisis-in-ethiopia-behind-the-blackout-in-tigray.

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[244]OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report, March, Available at: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/?fbclid=iwar1ois5khij55thfshf_4wy4e7wloqfxjztisa0yv6y93_auf38ztscil3e

[245] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report, June, Availale at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Ethiopia%20-%20Tigray%20Region%20Humanitarian%20Update%20Situation%20Report%2C%2010%20June%202021.pdf

[246] Peter Mackie Et Al., ‘Microfinance And Poverty Alleviation In Ethiopia,’ Cardiff School Of Geography And Planning, 2015, https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/581509/ethiopia-report-jun- 2015-final.pdf.

[247] Plaut (2021) Tigray on the edge of famine: 50 to 100 a day starve as crisis intensifies, Available at: https://eritreahub.org/tigray-on-the-edge-of-famine-50-to-100-a-day-starve-as-crisis-intensifies.; World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf.;

[248] Parker (2021) Relief for Tigray stalled as Ethiopian government curbs access, Available at: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2021/2/11/humanitarian-access-stalled-in-ethiopia-tigray.

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[250] Deckers, S., Nyssen, J., Lanckriet, S., 2020. Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Has Seen Famine Before: Why It Could Happen Again. The Conversation, 17/11/2020, Available at: https://theconversation.com/ethiopias-tigray-region-has-seenfamine-before-why-it-could-happen-again-150181.

[251] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

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[255] Reuters (2021) Over 2 million people displaced by conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region – local official, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-ethiopia-conflict-idUSKBN29B1N7.

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[258] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update Situation Report, Accessed April 2021, Available at: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi.

[259] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update Situation Report, Accessed April 2021, Available at: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi.

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[266] BBC (2021) Tigray crisis: Ethiopia region at risk of huge ‘humanitarian disaster’, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-55905108.

[267] Anna (2021) Leave no Tigrayan: In Ethiopia, an ethnicity is erased, Associated Press, Available at: https://apnews.com/article/ethiopia-tigray-minority-ethnic-cleansing-sudan-world-news-842741eebf9bf0984946619c0fc15023

[268] Soy (2020) Tigray crisis: Ethiopian soldiers accused of blocking border with Sudan, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-55106353

[269] Aljazeera (2020) In Pictures: Ethiopians fleeing war cross river into Sudan, available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/gallery/2020/11/15/in-pictures-ethiopians-fleeing.

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[271] Doctors without Borders (2021) Sudan: Refugees from Tigray Face Hunger and Inadequate shelter in Hamdayet, available at: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/what-we-do/news-stories/story/sudan-refugees-tigray-face-hunger-and-inadequate-shelter-hamdayet

[272] Doctors without Borders (2021) Sudan: Refugees from Tigray Face Hunger and Inadequate shelter in Hamdayet, available at: https://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/what-we-do/news-stories/story/sudan-refugees-tigray-face-hunger-and-inadequate-shelter-hamdayet

[273] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[274] OCHA (2021) March Update – Ethiopia: Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Available At: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi

[275] Anna (2021) ‘People are starving’: New exodus in Ethiopia’s Tigray area, Associated Press, Available at: https://apnews.com/article/world-news-ethiopia-a25a50a774da284122c74a0bc1428052

[276] Reuters (2021) ‘You don’t belong’: land dispute drives new exodus in Ethiopia’s Tigray, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/ethiopia-conflict-displaced-insight-int-iduskbn2bl1c3

[277] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf ; Walsh (2021) Ethiopia’s War Leads to Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray Region, U.S. Report Says, The New York Times, Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/world/middleeast/ethiopia-tigray-ethnic-cleansing.html.; OCHA (2021) March Update – Ethiopia: Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Available At: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi

[278] Walsh (2021) Ethiopia’s War Leads to Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray Region, U.S. Report Says, The New York Times, Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/world/middleeast/ethiopia-tigray-ethnic-cleansing.html.

[279] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf.;

OCHA (2021) March Update – Ethiopia: Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Available At: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi

[280] Reuters (2021) Ethiopia rejects U.S. allegations of ethnic cleansing in Tigray, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-ethiopia-conflict-idUSKBN2B50ES

[281] Walsh (2021) Ethiopia’s War Leads to Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray Region, U.S. Report Says, The New York Times, Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/world/middleeast/ethiopia-tigray-ethnic-cleansing.html.

[282]  Nyssen, J., 2021. Catastrophe Stalks Tigray, Again. Ethiopia Insight, 19 February 2021, Available at: https://www.ethiopiainsight.com/2021/02/19/catastrophe-stalks-tigray-again/.

[283] Walsh (2021) Ethiopia’s War Leads to Ethnic Cleansing in Tigray Region, U.S. Report Says, The New York Times, Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/26/world/middleeast/ethiopia-tigray-ethnic-cleansing.html.

[284] Reuters (2021) Ethiopia rejects U.S. allegations of ethnic cleansing in Tigray, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-ethiopia-conflict-idUSKBN2B50ES

[285] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[286] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[287] For Example, protection of civilians is provided within: The Geneva Conventions And Its Protocols.; The Rome Statute Of The International Criminal Court.

[288] Nyssen 2020 Cluster Bombing On Tigray By The Ethiopian Army – More Than 500 Homesteads Destroyed In Gijet. Paper https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349669904_cluster_bombing_on_tigray_by_the_ethiopian_army_-_more_than_500_homesteads_destroyed_in_gijet.; De Waal (2021) ‘The Mango Orchards Of Zamra, Tigray,’ World Peace Foundation, March 3, 2021, Available at: https://sites.tufts.edu/reinventingpeace/2021/03/03/the-mango-orchards-of-zamra-tigray/.

[289] Nyssen, J., 2021. Catastrophe Stalks Tigray, Again. Ethiopia Insight, 19 February 2021, Available at: https://www.ethiopiainsight.com/2021/02/19/catastrophe-stalks-tigray-again/.; Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation

[290] De Waal (2021) In The Tigray War Weaponised Starvation Takes A Devastating Toll, World Politics Review, Available At: https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/29548/in-the-tigray-war-weaponized-starvation-takes-a-devastating-toll.

[291] Reuters (2021) Ethiopians dying, hungry and fearful in war-hit Tigray: agencies, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-conflict-iduskbn29p0x1

[292] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia: Country Snapshot, Tigray Region, January, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/ocha_access_210120_snapshot_tigray02.pdf

[293] Marks and Nagourney (2020) As Fighting Rages in Ethiopia, Aid Groups Plead for Access to Refugees, The New York Times, Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/17/world/africa/ethiopia-tigray-refugees.html

[294] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia: Country Snapshot, Tigray Region, January, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/ocha_access_210120_snapshot_tigray02.pdf

[295] World Food Programme (2020) Ethiopia Country Brief, December, Available at: https://docs.wfp.org/api/documents/wfp-0000124303/download/?_ga=2.122660299.1162474238.1617207994-39341303.1614785908

[296] Parker (2021) Relief for Tigray stalled as Ethiopian government curbs access, The New Humanitarian, Available at: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2021/2/11/humanitarian-access-stalled-in-ethiopia-tigray.

[297] Parker (2021) Relief for Tigray stalled as Ethiopian government curbs access, The New Humanitarian, Available at: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2021/2/11/humanitarian-access-stalled-in-ethiopia-tigray.

[298] World Food Programme (2020) Ethiopia Country Brief, December, Available at: https://docs.wfp.org/api/documents/wfp-0000124303/download/?_ga=2.122660299.1162474238.1617207994-39341303.1614785908

[299] Reuters (2020) U.N. security team blocked, shot at near Ethiopian refugee camp, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/uk-ethiopia-conflict-refugees-idukkbn28h1a1.

[300] Humanitarian actors are protected within The Geneva Convention and its Protocols.

[301] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[302] The United Nations (2021) Insecurity and bureaucracy hampering aid to Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Available at: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/01/1082052.

[303] The United Nations (2021) Insecurity and bureaucracy hampering aid to Ethiopia’s Tigray region, Available at: https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/01/1082052.

[304] Anna (2021) Ethiopia says Tigray back to normal after conflict but witnesses disagree, The Independent, Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ethiopia-tigray-conflict-biden-b1795367.html.

[305] Anna (2021) Ethiopia says Tigray back to normal after conflict but witnesses disagree, The Independent, Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ethiopia-tigray-conflict-biden-b1795367.html.

[306] Reuters (2021) Ethiopians dying, hungry and fearful in war-hit Tigray: agencies, Available at: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-ethiopia-conflict-iduskbn29p0x1

[307] Nyssen, J., 2021. Catastrophe Stalks Tigray, Again. Ethiopia Insight, 19 February 2021, Available at: https://www.ethiopiainsight.com/2021/02/19/catastrophe-stalks-tigray-again/.

[308] Negash (2021) Tigray crisis: An account of January 2021, TGHAT, Available at: https://www.tghat.com/2021/02/11/tigray-crisis-an-account-of-january-2021/.

[309] The Economist (2021) Ethiopia’s government appears to be wielding hunger as a weapon, available at: https://www.economist.com/leaders/2021/01/23/ethiopias-government-appears-to-be-wielding-hunger-as-a-weapon

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[313] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation

[314] Freedom House (1990) Focus On Issues: No.10 Ethiopia The Politics Of Famine

[315] Martin Plaut (2018): The Ethiopian Famine, The RUSI Journal, DOI: 10.1080/03071847.2017.1414736

[316] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[317] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation

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[320] Chatham House Webinar (2021) Responding To The Humanitarian Situation In Ethiopia’s Tigray Region, Available At: https://www.chathamhouse.org/events/all/research-event/responding-humanitarian-situation-ethiopias-tigray-region.

[321] American Stock News (2021) Aid Agencies Renew Appeals For Aid Access To All Areas In Ethiopia’s Tigray, Available at: https://americanstocknews.com/politics/aid-agencies-renew-appeals-for-aid-access-to-all-areas-in-ethiopias-tigray/.

[322] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report 4th February, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-tigray-region-humanitarian-update-situation-report-4-february-2021.

[323] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report 4th February, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-tigray-region-humanitarian-update-situation-report-4-february-2021.

[324] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report 4th February, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-tigray-region-humanitarian-update-situation-report-4-february-2021.

[325] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report 4th February, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-tigray-region-humanitarian-update-situation-report-4-february-2021.

[326] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report 28th February, Available at: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/.

[327] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report 4th February, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-tigray-region-humanitarian-update-situation-report-4-february-2021.

[328] Parker (2021) Relief for Tigray stalled as Ethiopian government curbs access, The New Humanitarian, Available at: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2021/2/11/humanitarian-access-stalled-in-ethiopia-tigray.

[329] Parker (2021) Relief for Tigray stalled as Ethiopian government curbs access, The New Humanitarian, Available at: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2021/2/11/humanitarian-access-stalled-in-ethiopia-tigray.

[330] Parker (2021) Relief for Tigray stalled as Ethiopian government curbs access, The New Humanitarian, Available at: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2021/2/11/humanitarian-access-stalled-in-ethiopia-tigray.

[331] Parker (2021) Relief for Tigray stalled as Ethiopian government curbs access, The New Humanitarian, Available at: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2021/2/11/humanitarian-access-stalled-in-ethiopia-tigray.

[332] Aljazeera (2021) ‘Tens of thousands’ could starve to death in Ethiopia’s Tigray, Available at: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/2/10/red-cross-80-percent-of-ethiopias-tigray-cut-off-from-aid; McCarthy (2021) Thousands of Ethiopians Under Siege in Tigray Region Could Die From Starvation, Global Citizen, Available at: https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/ethiopia-tigray-hunger-starvation/

[333] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report 28th February, Available at: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/.

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[335] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation

[336] BBC (2021) Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: MSF ‘witnessed soldiers killing civilians’, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-56524991#:~:text=m%c3%a9decins%20sans%20fronti%c3%a8res%20(msf)%20staff,a%20main%20road%20on%20tuesday.

[337] BBC (2021) Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict: MSF ‘witnessed soldiers killing civilians’, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-56524991#:~:text=m%c3%a9decins%20sans%20fronti%c3%a8res%20(msf)%20staff,a%20main%20road%20on%20tuesday.

[338] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[339] OCHA (2021) March Update – Ethiopia: Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Available At: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi.

[340] FEWS NET (2021) Ethiopia, Available at: https://fews.net/east-africa/ethiopia.

[341] Eritrea Hub (2021) Tigray: Only half the needy receiving aid – even then once or twice in four months, Available at: https://eritreahub.org/tigray-only-half-the-needy-receiving-aid-even-then-once-or-twice-in-four-months.

[342] OCHA (2021) March Update – Ethiopia: Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Available At: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi

[343] United Nations Security Council (2021) Conflict and Hunger Debate, Webcast Available At: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xORbIGEf4Mo.

[344] OCHA (2021) March Update – Ethiopia: Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Available At: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi.

[345] World Peace Foundation (2021) Starving Tigray: How Armed Conflict And Mass Atrocities Have Destroyed An Ethiopian Region’s Economy And Food System And Are Threatening Famine, Available At: https://sites.tufts.edu/wpf/files/2021/04/starving-tigray-report-final.pdf

[346] Besheer (2021) UN: Hunger, Rape Rising in Ethiopia’s Tigray, VOA, Available at: https://www.voanews.com/ethiopia-tigray/un-hunger-rape-rising-ethiopias-tigray.

[347] OCHA (2021) March Update – Ethiopia: Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Available At: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi.

[348] United Nations (2021) Tigray: UN Calls for immediate access to Ethiopian province to distribute food aid, Available at: https://news.un.org/fr/story/2021/06/1097932

[349] OCHA (28 May 2021) Ethiopia, Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Situation%20Report%20-%20Ethiopia%20-%20Tigray%20Region%20Humanitarian%20Update%20-%2020%20May%202021.pdf

[350] BBC News (2021) Tigray conflict: ‘We have no food, we face death’, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-57397901

[351] United Nations (2021) Tigray: UN Calls for immediate access to Ethiopian province to distribute food aid, Available at: https://news.un.org/fr/story/2021/06/1097932

[352] Alex de Waal (2021) Ethiopia’s Tigray crisis: Tragedy of the man-made famine, BBC, Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-57422168.amp

[353] OCHA (28 February 2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update; Situation Report. Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-tigray-region-humanitarian-update-situation-report-28-february-2021.;

[354] Global Health Learning (n.d.) Understanding the Difference Among MAM, SAM, and GAM and their Importance on a Population Basis, Available at: https://www.globalhealthlearning.org/sites/default/files/page-files/MAM%2C%20SAM%2C%20and%20GAM.pdf.

[355] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update Situation Report, Accessed April 2021, Available at: https://reports.unocha.org/en/country/ethiopia/#cf-1tz6tiwhuhbhu38j9bjewi.

[356] De Waal (2021) In The Tigray War Weaponised Starvation Takes A Devastating Toll, World Politics Review, Available At: https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/29548/in-the-tigray-war-weaponized-starvation-takes-a-devastating-toll

[357] Mulatu (2021) UNICEF steps up treatment of children with malnutrition in Tigray Region, UNICEF, Available at: https://www.unicef.org/ethiopia/stories/unicef-steps-treatment-children-malnutrition-tigray-region.

[358] Mulatu (2021) UNICEF steps up treatment of children with malnutrition in Tigray Region, UNICEF, Available at: https://www.unicef.org/ethiopia/stories/unicef-steps-treatment-children-malnutrition-tigray-region.

[359] OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update, Situation Report, June, Availale at: https://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/Ethiopia%20-%20Tigray%20Region%20Humanitarian%20Update%20Situation%20Report%2C%2010%20June%202021.pdf

[360] Mulatu (2021) UNICEF steps up treatment of children with malnutrition in Tigray Region, UNICEF, Available at: https://www.unicef.org/ethiopia/stories/unicef-steps-treatment-children-malnutrition-tigray-region.

[361] Mulatu (2021) UNICEF steps up treatment of children with malnutrition in Tigray Region, UNICEF, Available at: https://www.unicef.org/ethiopia/stories/unicef-steps-treatment-children-malnutrition-tigray-region.

[362] Tim Vandenbempt And Jan Nyssen Feb 2021: What Happens With The Limited Volumes Of Food Aid That Are Sent To Tigray? https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349279837_what_happens_with_the_limited_volumes_of_food_aid_that_are_sent_to_tigray

[363] Nyssen, J., 2021. Catastrophe Stalks Tigray, Again. Ethiopia Insight, 19 February 2021. Https://Www.Ethiopiainsight.Com/2021/02/19/Catastrophe-Stalks-Tigray-Again/

[364] OCHA (2020) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update – Situation Report December, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-tigray-region-humanitarian-update-situation-report-28-december-2020,; OCHA (2021) Ethiopia – Tigray Region Humanitarian Update – Situation Report 25 January, Available at: https://reliefweb.int/report/ethiopia/ethiopia-tigray-region-humanitarian-update-situation-report-25-january-2021.

[365] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation.

[366] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation.

[367] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation.

[368] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation.

[369] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation.

[370] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint, Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_tigray_atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation.

[371] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint [June edition], Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_Tigray_Atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation/link/60c37ed14585157774cc5722/download

[372] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint [June edition], Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_Tigray_Atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation/link/60c37ed14585157774cc5722/download

[373] Parker (2021) Relief for Tigray stalled as Ethiopian government curbs access, The New Humanitarian, Available at: https://www.thenewhumanitarian.org/analysis/2021/2/11/humanitarian-access-stalled-in-ethiopia-tigray.

[374] And Also: Tim Vandenbempt And Jan Nyssen Feb 2021: What Happens With The Limited Volumes Of Food Aid That Are Sent To Tigray? https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349279837_what_happens_with_the_limited_volumes_of_food_aid_that_are_sent_to_tigray

[375] Tim Vandenbempt And Jan Nyssen Feb 2021: What Happens With The Limited Volumes Of Food Aid That Are Sent To Tigray? https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349279837_what_happens_with_the_limited_volumes_of_food_aid_that_are_sent_to_tigray

[376] Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint [June edition], Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_Tigray_Atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation/link/60c37ed14585157774cc5722/download

[377] Agence France Presse  (2021) Aid Worker Slain In ‘Fire Fight’ In Ethiopia’s Tigray, Available at: https://www.barrons.com/news/aid-worker-slain-in-fire-fight-in-ethiopia-s-tigray-01622463613

[378] US-EU High Level Roundtable (2021) The Humanitarian Emergency in Tigray, Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiEYJ9CfgxY&t=2981s

[379]BBC News (2021) Tigray conflict: ‘We have no food, we face death’, Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-57397901

[380] Tim Vandenbempt And Jan Nyssen Feb 2021: What Happens With The Limited Volumes Of Food Aid That Are Sent To Tigray? https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349279837_what_happens_with_the_limited_volumes_of_food_aid_that_are_sent_to_tigray

[381] De Waal (1997) Famine Crimes (Indiana University Press, Indiana).; De Waal (2018) Mass Starvation (Polity Books, Cambridge).

[382] De Waal (2021) The World Bank Should Not Fund Ethiopia’s War In Tigray, The Financial Times, Available At: https://eritreahub.org/the-world-bank-should-not-fund-ethiopias-war-in-tigray.

[383] World Peace Foundation (2021) “They Have Destroyed Tigray, Literally”: Mulugeta Gebrehiwot speaks from the mountains of Tigray, Transcript of phone call available at: https://sites.tufts.edu/reinventingpeace/files/2021/01/mulugeta-call-27-jan-full-transcript1-1.pdf

[384] Mary’s Meals (2021) Crisis in Ethiopia: behind the blackout in Tigray, Available at: https://www.marysmealsusa.org/en/who-we-are/news-and-blogs/crisis-in-ethiopia-behind-the-blackout-in-tigray.

[385] IPC (2021) Ethiopia: Acute Food Insecurity Situation May-June 2021 and Projection for July-September, Available at: http://www.ipcinfo.org/ipcinfo-website/resources/resources-details/en/c/1154899/

[386] Source: ATLAS Map, which used information from FEWS NET and IPC, see: Annys, S., Vanden Bempt, T., Negash, E., De Sloover, L., Nyssen, J., 2021. Tigray: Atlas Of The Humanitarian Situation. Journal Of Maps, Preprint [June edition], Available At: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/349824181_Tigray_Atlas_of_the_humanitarian_situation/link/60c37ed14585157774cc5722/download

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