150 starved to death in Ethiopia’s Tigray in a month

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Nairobi

Kenya — A least 150 people starved to death last month in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region amid a near-complete blockade of food aid by federal and allied authorities, the Tigray forces say, while close to half a million people face famine conditions.

The starvation deaths occurred in six communities as well as in camps for hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people in the town of Shire, according to a briefing late Monday by the Tigray External Affairs Office.

It is the largest public assessment yet of starvation deaths, though The Associated Press reported at least 125 deaths in a single district earlier this year.

Footage of war-hit northern Ethiopia published by the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) on Monday reflected the severe humanitarian crisis there, after the United Nations warned that a de facto blockade on aid is bringing millions to the brink of famine.

War broke out 10 months ago between Ethiopia’s federal troops and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the Tigray region. Thousands have died and more than two million people have been forced to flee their homes.

The United Nations last week called on all parties in the war in Tigray to allow the movement of aid into the region where it said 5.2 million people, or 90% of the population, urgently need humanitarian assistance. Those include 400,000 people who are already facing famine conditions, it said.

The prime minister’s spokesperson, Billene Seyoum, last week dismissed allegations that the Ethiopian government is blocking aid.—Reuters

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