Sunday, February 21, 2021

Ethiopia's Tigray in Chaos

 “Despite some progress, the humanitarian response remains drastically inadequate compared to the sheer magnitude of needs across the region,” the report by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OHCA) said 

The new United Nations report has sounded the alarm over a “very critical malnutrition situation” unfolding in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, citing continuing insecurity, bureaucracy and the presence of “various armed actors” as major obstructions to the efforts to deliver life-saving aid to rural areas still out of reach for humanitarian workers more than 100 days into the conflict. “Assistance remains particularly limited in rural areas due to access constraints and security volatility, and there are acute gaps and challenges across all sectors.”

The Ethiopian Red Cross warned earlier in February that without improved humanitarian access to a region where 80 percent of the population of six million is still unreachable, tens of thousands of people could starve to death after two months.

The OCHA noted that reports from aid workers on the ground indicate “a rising in acute malnutrition across the region”. According to the report, a screening of 227 children under the age of five showed “staggeringly high malnutrition,” though it did not mention the number of cases. The UN agency also reported that a screening of more than 3,500 children found 109 with severe acute malnutrition. The World Health Organization describes that condition as “when a person is extremely thin and at risk of dying”.

“Malnutrition  is expected to deteriorate as households are limited to fewer meals every day,” the report said.  The OCHA also noted that “extremely concerning reports” of civilians being attacked continue to surface, “including rape and other forms of gender-based violence”.

“Women and children displaced are at heightened risk of abuses and exploitation, while recent assessments in collective centres for displaced people in Mekelle, Adigrat and Shire showed that the severe lack of infrastructure leaves women and girls exposed to sexual and gender-based violence,” the report noted. Soldiers from neighbouring Eritrea have been accused of widespread looting and burning of crops.

Thousands of people are believed to have died since fighting began, with hundreds of thousands forced from their homes and some 60,000 fleeing to neighbouring Sudan.

UN: Tigray malnutrition ‘very critical’, response woefully poor | Human Rights News | Al Jazeera

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