"There's famine now in Tigray." The world's most senior humanitarian official, UN emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock, said

Ethiopia's Tigray crisis: Tragedy of the man-made famine

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2021-06-11 10:30:07

"There's famine now in Tigray." The world's most senior humanitarian official, UN emergency relief coordinator Mark Lowcock, said these frank words on the situation in the northern Ethiopian region on Thursday.

His statement - at a roundtable discussion ahead of the G7 summit - drew on the authoritative assessment of the crisis by the UN-backed Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC).

In a report, it estimated that 353,000 people in Tigray were in phase 5 (catastrophe) and a further 1.769 million are in phase 4 (emergency).

That's a technical way of saying "famine". The IPC didn't use that word because it's so politically sensitive - the Ethiopian government would object.

Behind these numbers lies a brutal human tragedy. Huge numbers of deaths by starvation are unavoidable. Indeed, it is already happening.

Tigrayans tell of remote villages where people are found dead in the morning, having perished overnight. Women who were kidnapped by soldiers and held as sexual slaves, cared for in hospitals or safe houses, are tormented by the children from whom they were separated, who may well be starving without their mothers' care.

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