Nairobi, Kenya (Associated Press)-There are more than 100,000 children in Ethiopia The troubled Tigray region The UN Children’s Agency warned on Friday that it could face the most extreme and life-threatening form of malnutrition next year, as humanitarian aid for about 6 million people in the region remains blocked.
Marixie Mercado of the UNICEF Emergency Response Team told The Associated Press that the UN’s estimate is that the normal caseload in Tigray has increased tenfold. This is based on “basically what we are seeing now, the conflict escalates, Food supply is restricted”.
When the warning was issued, senior officials from the United Nations and U.S Visit Ethiopia in the next few days and urge the government to lift what the United States calls the “siege” of Tigray, because about 200 UN trucks full of food are stuck on the only remaining road leading to the area.
The world’s worst hunger crisis in ten years is being staged in Tigray. The United States says that as many as 900,000 people are facing famine. International food security experts say that due to the war, the critical planting season has “basically missed”.
UNICEF estimates based on the screening of more than 430,000 children during the nine-month conflict. This was in two “almost inaccessible” areas where Tigray was rarely visited, namely Jijet and Wajla After special.Although the Associated Press reported many people starve In another off-travel district of Tigray, Mercado said she had not heard of any starvation deaths during her visit.
But she warned that “the number of severely malnourished people is staggering” and expressed frustration about the shortage of food, fuel, cash and other supplies.Although the visit inside Tigray has improved after a period of time Dramatic change In the June war, as Ethiopian soldiers retreated and the government announced a unilateral ceasefire, the United Nations stated that aid workers had no way to help.
“Without fuel, you can’t provide services to people,” an angry Mercado said, adding that during visits to previously inaccessible areas, “we were just overwhelmed by mothers and children who showed up in large numbers and desperately needed help. “
UNICEF also stated that screening data showed that 47% of pregnant and lactating women in Tigray are severely malnourished, which means that mothers and babies are at greater risk.
The Ethiopian government blamed the aid blockade on the rehabilitated Tigray army that has retaken most of the area, but this week a senior official from the United States Agency for International Development told the Associated Press that “100% is not the case.” US Agency for International Development Director Samantha Bauer is scheduled to visit Ethiopia next week to seek a visit.
At the same time, the new head of UN humanitarian affairs Martin Griffith is visiting Tigray as part of a six-day trip in Ethiopia aimed at highlighting the crisis.