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HomeEntertainment4.6 Million Hungry, Doctors Begging For Food: Conflict In Tigray Surges

4.6 Million Hungry, Doctors Begging For Food: Conflict In Tigray Surges

The ongoing conflict between Tigrayan forces and the government of Ethiopia continues to fuel a humanitarian crisis in the region. A report by the BBC said that many people in the Tigray region are unable to buy food and doctors were forced to beg as food items and essentials reach soaring, unimaginable prices.

A recent report by the United Nations (UN) and its World Food Programme (WFP) said that nearly 40% of people in Ethiopia’s Tigray are suffering from “an extreme lack of food”. It said that it translates to 4.6 million people being food insecure with 2 million people affected severely. This is at least 83% of the people in the Tigray region suffering from lack of food.

The humanitarian organisations are unable to reach the Tigray region as the region remains under an economic blockade and aid agencies are travelling on foot to deliver food and medical supplies.

“Families are exhausting all means to feed themselves, with three quarters of the population using extreme coping strategies to survive,” the WEF said in a statement. The WEF statement also highlighted that the diets of Tigray’s inhabitants are increasingly impoverished as food items become unavailable and families rely almost exclusively on cereals while limiting portion sizes and the number of meals they eat each day to make whatever food is available stretch further.

Fighting broke out in Tigray after prime minister and Nobel Peace Laureate Abiy Ahmed sent troops to topple the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) November 2021. The rebel group also regrouped earlier last year in June and launched offensives into Afar and Amhara regions.

The crisis between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray rebels has its roots in the system of government the eastern African nation follows. Ethiopia since the mid-90s followed an ethnic federal government where the different ethnic groups controlled Ethiopia’s 10 regions.

Ethiopia flourished under this system but discontent brewed among many as politicians were accused of corruption and concerns were raised regarding the level of democracy. Later in 2018, following protests a new party led by current prime minister Abiy rose to power. Abiy in his first term ended the long standing dispute between Ethiopia and neighbours Eritrea also earning a Nobel Prize for this.

Leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) felt that Abiy was attempting to centralise power. In September 2020, the TPLF announced that it was holding its own regional election. The Abiy-led government said it was illegal as elections were banned due to Covid. This was fueled further as when the central government suspended funding for Tigray. The Tigrayan leaders said that this was akin to declaring war. In November 2020, the Ethiopian government attacked Tigrayan rebels claiming that they attacked army outposts to steal weapons and the fighting has surged since then.

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