About 40 percent of Tigrayans suffering from extreme lack of food

More than eight out of ten individuals in Tigray are food insecure, according to an emergency food security assessment.

After 15 months of violence, a recent food security assessment by the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) finds that nearly 40% of Tigrayans are suffering from an extreme lack of food. More than 9 million people are in need of humanitarian food assistance in the three conflict-affected districts in the north, the biggest figure yet.

More than eight out of ten individuals in Tigray are food insecure, according to an emergency food security assessment. Three-quarters of the population use extreme coping mechanisms to survive because families are exhausting all means of feeding themselves. Families are forced to cut back on the number of meals they eat each day and the amount of food they consume in order to stretch the food they do have. As a result, diets are becoming increasingly deficient.

Malnutrition leads to low birth weight, stunting, and maternal death in the Tigrayan population’s under-5 population, as well as half of the country’s pregnant and nursing mothers.

We need to increase humanitarian supplies to the people of northern Ethiopia urgently,” WFP’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa Michael Dunford stated in response to the WFP’s dismal prognosis.

“As much as WFP can, our food and medication convoys will make it over the front lines. The millions of people starving to death need humanitarian relief, but if fighting continues, everyone involved in the conflict must agree to a humanitarian pause and agreed-upon transport routes.”

Due to the recent fighting between the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) and the Tigray Forces, hunger has more than doubled in the nearby Amhara region in just five months (TF). Nearly a third of pregnant and nursing mothers and 14% of children under the age of five are underweight.

Conflict-induced displacement in the Afar region, east of Tigray, is increasing hunger and malnutrition rates. Malnutrition rates among children under the age of five have been found to be 28 percent, well over the normal criterion of 15 percent. Because of the current uptick in violence along the Tigray-Afar border, it’s likely that more people will be displaced and go hungry.

The World Food Program (WFP) believes that in the last few months, families in crisis in northern Ethiopia received less than 30% of their caloric needs, further putting them in a precarious situation. Continuous humanitarian food assistance is likely to be necessary at least until 2022.

Since March, the World Food Program (WFP) has provided food and nutrition assistance to nearly 4 million people in northern Ethiopia, despite operational obstacles. WFP and its partners were able to keep starvation at bay for people in Tigray who had been cut off from aid before May, according to a survey conducted in the summer months.

Since mid-December, however, no convoy has arrived in Tigray. WFP and other humanitarian organisations are unable to reach war zones because of fighting and insecurity, putting the safety of their workers and the security of humanitarian supplies at jeopardy.

As of February, the WFP’s food procurement capacity in Northern Ethiopia will be depleted due to a lack of US$337 million in critically needed assistance to be delivered over the next six months. WFP is facing a record financing shortfall of US$667 million across the entire country in order to save and transform the lives of 12 million people over the next six months.

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