🚨 NEWS ALERT 🚨
A new @WFP assessment shows almost 40 percent of Tigrayans are suffering an extreme lack of food. Across north #Ethiopia more than 9 million people are in need of humanitarian food assistance, the highest number yet 👇 https://t.co/W9SopKmXK3 pic.twitter.com/YkGnyglyWD
— WFP Media (@WFP_Media) January 28, 2022
Diets are increasingly impoverished as food items become unavailable and families rely almost exclusively on cereals. At the same time, families are having to limit portion sizes and the number of meals, to make whatever food is available stretch further.
In terms of nutrition, 13 per cent of Tigrayan children under five, and half of all pregnant and breastfeeding women, are malnourished, leading to poor pregnancy outcomes, low-birth weight, stunting and increased maternal death.
For WFP’s Regional Director for Eastern Africa, Michael Dunford, the bleak assessment reconfirms that “what the people of northern Ethiopia need is scaled up humanitarian assistance, and they need it now.”
According to him, WFP is doing all it can to ensure convoys with food and medicines make it through the frontlines, but no convoy has reached Tigray since mid-December.
“If hostilities persist, we need all the parties to the conflict to agree to a humanitarian pause and formally agreed transport corridors, so that supplies can reach the millions besieged by hunger”, he warned.
In the neighbouring Amhara region, hunger has more than doubled in five months because the region bore the brunt of recent fighting between the Ethiopian Government’s military forces and Tigray forces.
In Afar province, the fighting has reportedly led to tens of thousands of men, women and children being displaced in the last few weeks.
Across the three regions, more than 14 per cent of children under five and almost a third of pregnant and breastfeeding women are malnourished.
Recent health screening data shows malnutrition rates for children under five were at 28 per cent, far above the standard emergency threshold of 15 per cent.
Intensified conflict on the Tigray-Afar border in recent days is expected to force more communities from their homes and deeper into hunger.