Famine Crisis Looms in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region Amid Post-War Challenges


Tigray region of Ethiopia faces a severe famine threat, exacerbated by the aftermath of a two-year conflict and environmental challenges. Getachew Reda, the president of Tigray’s interim regional authority, warns that over 91% of Tigrayans risk starvation and death, drawing parallels to the catastrophic 1980s Ethiopian famine.

However, the Ethiopian federal government maintains a stance of either denying or downplaying the severity of the crisis.

Despite the November 2022 Pretoria agreement ending the war between Tigrayan rebels and Ethiopian government forces, the region’s suffering continues. Restricted media access in Tigray hinders independent verification of the situation. Tigray’s administration has declared a disaster emergency, yet resources are insufficient to tackle the crisis effectively.

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Reda urges both the Ethiopian government and the international community to address this looming humanitarian catastrophe. The region’s plight is not solely due to conflict but also due to environmental factors like drought, destructive rains, and locust invasions. Moreover, the temporary suspension of aid by USAID and the World Food Program (WFP) earlier this year, citing concerns of aid diversion, has further aggravated the situation. Although aid has resumed, it remains inadequate.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) highlights the worsening drought across various Ethiopian regions, predicting further deterioration without increased aid. The food security outlook from October 2023 to May 2024, especially for displaced populations, is grim according to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network.

This situation in Tigray underscores a critical need for coordinated humanitarian assistance and long-term strategies to rebuild and support a region devastated by war and natural calamities. The international community’s response will be vital in preventing a repeat of historical famines and mitigating the severe hardships faced by the Tigrayan population.

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