Ethiopia Admits Nearly 400 Deaths from Starvation in Tigray, Amhara

Ethiopia’s national ombudsman announced Tuesday that nearly 400 people have died of starvation in the Tigray and Amhara regions in recent months. This rare admission by a federal body comes amid ongoing denial by the government of hunger-related deaths.

An assessment by the ombudsman office found that 351 people died of hunger in Tigray over the past six months, with an additional 44 deaths in Amhara. These regions have been grappling with drought and the aftermath of a civil war that officially ended 14 months ago.

Despite this, only a small fraction of needy people in Tigray are receiving food aid. A memo from the Tigray Food Cluster revealed that by Jan. 21, only 14% of the 3.2 million people targeted for food aid had received it.

The United Nations and the United States halted food aid to Tigray in mid-March last year due to a large-scale theft of humanitarian grain. Although aid deliveries have resumed following reforms, challenges such as technical issues and funding shortages persist.

The situation has been exacerbated by a rebellion in Amhara, hindering humanitarian efforts. In addition, malnutrition rates among children in various regions of Ethiopia are alarmingly high, ranging from 15.9% to 47%.

The federal government, however, denies the existence of a large-scale hunger crisis. This denial has sparked concern among aid workers, who fear that without immediate action, the situation could worsen, leading to severe food insecurity and loss of life.

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