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World Food Program Director David Beasley Sounds the Alarm on Famine in Ethiopia

World Food Program Director David Beasley Sounds the Alarm on Famine in Ethiopia

On June 10, David Beasley, Executive Director of the UN World Food Program (WFP), confirmed distressing new information that although it is are “deploying more than 180 staff and increasing food distributions to reach 1.4 million people,” these are less than half of the estimated 4 million people in the Ethiopian region of Tigray facing severe hunger. Of those, 350,000 are threatened with famine, representing the highest number in a single country over the past decade, the World Food Program said in a statement.

Beasley emphasized that “the brutal reality for our staff in Tigray is that for every family we reach with life-saving food, there are countless more especially in rural areas whom we cannot reach. We have appealed for humanitarian access but are still being blocked by armed groups…. Our teams tell me that in 53 villages they visited, 50% of mothers and almost a quarter of children they’ve been screening are malnourished. Millions of people urgently need food. Without it, many of them will die.”

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis, published by the UN and aid partners on June 10, “the conflict, which began last November between central government forces and regional forces of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, is the key cause of acute food security in Tigray,” The fighting has destroyed infrastructure—especially farms—killed or scattered livestock, and has caused massive displacement of the population.

Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Henrietta Fore stated that “without humanitarian access to scale up our response, an estimated 33,000 severely malnourished children in currently inaccessible areas in Tigray are at high risk of death. The world cannot permit that to happen.”  She also addressed a severe situation in Cabo Delgado, Mozambique in her June 11 briefing. UNICEF Press Release

Beasley appealed to world leaders, saying that “three things are needed to prevent hunger from claiming millions of lives in Tigray; a ceasefire, unimpeded access for WFP and partners to all areas, and the money to expand our operations to meet the growing numbers of people who desperately need emergency food assistance.” WFP Statement

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