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Ethiopia - UN warns of famine in disputed region. Joe Biden calls for a ceasefire

Tigray. Photo:EPA


The World Daily | News Desk           MAY  27th   2021


President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on the parties to the conflict in the Ethiopian Tigray for an immediate ceasefire. The American leader condemned "unacceptable" human rights violations in the region. According to the head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Tigray is under severe threat of starvation.


"I am deeply concerned about the escalation of violence and the deepening of regional and ethnic divisions in several parts of Ethiopia," Biden said, adding that Ethiopian and Eritrean forces "must allow immediate, unimpeded humanitarian access to the region to prevent widespread famine."

"The large-scale human rights violations in Tigray, including sexual violence, are unacceptable and must stop," added the president, calling on parties involved in the conflict to "declare and respect a ceasefire".


"Civilians are killed and injured"

The UN Security Council also dealt with the issue of the conflict in Ethiopia on Wednesday. Members of this body expressed concerns that there is a serious risk of starvation if aid is not increased in Tigray within the next two months.

Concrete steps must be taken to break "the vicious cycle of armed conflict and violence", appealed the head of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) Mark Lowcock in a letter to the UN Security Council. "Currently, at least 20 percent of the region's population faces extreme food insecurity. Destruction and violence against civilians even now continue throughout Tigray," he stressed. 


"Within six and a half months of the outbreak of the conflict (...) about two million people have been resettled. Civilians are killed and injured," emphasized the representative of OCHA, pointing out that rape and other forms of sexual violence are occurring "universally and systematically" in the region.

"Public infrastructure and facilities necessary for the life of the civilian population, including hospitals and agricultural lands, have been destroyed," he indicated. Lowcock estimated that more than 90 percent of the harvest was lost to plunder, arson and other activities, and 80 percent of Tigray's livestock had been robbed or slaughtered.

He noted that although there had been a temporary improvement in March and humanitarian aid had reached the region, the situation had deteriorated recently. "Humanitarian actions are attacked, blocked or delayed (...). Eight humanitarian workers have died in Tigray in the last six months," he stressed.


Conflict in Tigray

As a result of the conflict between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray rebels since the beginning of November, thousands of people have died and hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee their homes. There have been atrocities such as rapes, non-judicial executions and forced evictions, according to data from local authorities and aid organizations.


© The World Daily 2021 | News Desk