The children are in hard-to-reach areas of Ethiopia’s conflict-ravaged northern region, according to the UN.
Tens of thousands of malnourished children are at risk of dying in hard-to-reach areas of Ethiopia’s conflict-ravaged and now famine-stricken Tigray region, the United Nations said on Friday.
“Without humanitarian access to scale up our response, it is estimated that over 30,000 severely malnourished children in these very inaccessible areas are at high risk of death,” UNICEF spokesperson James Elder told reporters in Geneva. .
His comments came after the UN said Thursday that 350,000 people in Tigray were facing starvation, while two million more were within walking distance of the extreme conditions.
“There is now a famine in Tigray,” said UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock, warning that “every expert you talk to will tell you it will get worse.”
Lowcock said new data showed the number of people classified as starving was “higher than anywhere in the world at any time since a quarter of a million Somalis lost their lives in 2011”.
The UN has said more than 90 percent of the more than five million people in the Tigray region are in need of emergency food assistance and has launched an urgent appeal for more than $ 200 million to step up its response. reply.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, winner of the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, sent troops to the northern region in November to arrest and disarm leaders of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Tigray, the region’s former ruling party .
He said the move came in response to TPLF attacks on Federal Army camps.
Although he promised the conflict would be brief, fighting continues more than six months later and reports of atrocities – including the widespread use of rape – are on the rise. Many leaders have warned of a major disaster.
The United States and the European Union on Thursday appealed for increased international efforts to tackle the emerging famine.
International humanitarian organizations have repeatedly complained that they have been denied access to the region by Ethiopian forces and troops from neighboring Eritrea.