UN warns of escalating famine in Ethiopia with 1.8m at risk

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By Mark Armstrong  with AP, AFP
UN warns of escalating famine in Ethiopia with 1.8m at risk
Copyright  Ben Curtis/Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

Despite the announcement of a ceasefire in the Tigray region of Ethiopia earlier this week the UN is warning of possible further clashes and a humanitarian crisis.

The decision to halt the conflict was made unilaterally by the central government but has not yet been endorsed by the Tigray Defence Forces who have vowed to drive their enemies from the region.

"As of today, the TDF has yet to agree to a ceasefire," said Rosemary Dicarlo, the UN Under-Secretary for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. "While there have been no reports of serious incidents, basic services to support humanitarian delivery are absent. Mekele has no electrical power or internet, key infrastructure has been destroyed and there are no flights entering or leaving the area".

The fighting has severely damaged infrastructure in the region making it more difficult to deliver humanitarian aid.

The UN estimates that famine is now affecting more than 400,000 people.

In its first meeting on the crisis, the Security Council warned that as many as 33,000 children are severely malnourished.

Officials said that a further 1.8m people are on the brink of famine as a result of the eight-month conflict.