Sat. May 25th, 2024

Hunger crisis in Northern Ethiopia – Addis Standard

Hunger crisis in Northern Ethiopia – Addis Standard

‘At the door of death’: desperation in #Ethiopia as hunger crisis deepens

“We’ve been picking them for the last month,” says Abadi Adane, the boys’ father. “After they are finished, I don’t know what we will eat.”

The family planted their small patch of land in June, but the rains did not come and nothing grew. They survived for several months by selling their livestock. When that cash dried up, they turned to neighbours for donations of cups of grain. Now, though, no one has anything left to give.

Conditions are similar across this part of Ethiopia’s northern #Tigray region, where stone farmsteads are overlooked by mountains with sheer red cliffs. The drought has turned the area into a dust bowl. Its gravelly fields are full of the stunted remains of dead crops.

The drought is one of the worst in recent memory, but it is just the latest crisis to hit Tigray. The rains failed in the middle of a suspension of aid, introduced by the US and the United Nations in mid-March over a huge scheme to steal humanitarian grain by Ethiopian officials. The pause was extended to the rest of Ethiopia in June when the theft was discovered to be nationwide.

At the time, sorely needed food was only just starting to enter Tigray after a devastating two-year war. During the war, the government turned off Tigray’s internet and blocked aid trucks from entering, a strategy that prompted UN experts to accuse it of using starvation as a weapon of war.

Untold thousands died from hunger and untreated disease; more were killed in massacres. Nearly all of Tigray’s 6 million people needed humanitarian help. In mid-2021, the UN wanted to declare a famine in Tigray, but Ethiopia’s government blocked the move, claims Mark Lowcock, the world body’s humanitarian chief at the time.

Instead, the UN said at least 400,000 people were “living in famine-like” conditions. The US put the figure as high as 900,000.

By Chala Dandessa

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