Sunday, July 25, 2021
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400,000 In Tigray Cross ‘threshold Into Famine’, With Nearly 2 Million On The Brink, Security Council Told

Senior UN officials appealed on Friday for immediate and
unrestricted humanitarian access to Tigray – and for an
end to deadly attacks on aid workers – as the Security
Council held its first open meeting on the conflict in the
restive northern Ethiopian region.

Painting a grim
picture, Ramesh
, Acting Under-Secretary-General for
Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator,
said that
400,000 people have “crossed the threshold
into famine” – with another 1.8 million on the brink of
following them.

Some 1.7 million people have been
displaced by fighting between Ethiopian troops and the
Tigray Defence Force, with 60,000 refugees crossing the
border into neighbouring Sudan, added Rosemary
, Under-Secretary-General for Political and
Peacebuilding Affairs.

And more than 1,200 incidents
of serious sexual and gender-based violence have been
reported – a number that is likely just a fraction of the
actual number of cases in a conflict that is impacting women
and children especially hard.

A literal

“The lives of many of these
people (in Tigray) depend on our ability to reach them with
food, medicine, nutrition supplies and other humanitarian
assistance,” the acting relief chief told the 15-member

“And we need to reach them
now. Not next week. Now,” he added as he called for
timely, unimpeded, safe and sustained humanitarian access
– which, by international humanitarian law, must be
guaranteed by all combatants.

It was the Council’s
first public meeting on Tigray since the crisis erupted
eight months ago, although it previously held a half-dozen
briefings and discussions behind closed doors.

It came
four days after Ethiopia announced a unilateral humanitarian
ceasefire – one which the Tigray Defence Force, which now
controls the Tigrayan capital Mekelle, and other cities and
towns, has yet to agree to.

Fighting must

“All groups must stop fighting to allow
humanitarian aid to get through unimpeded and to protect
civilians…It is essential that we act fast and without any
further obstruction,” Mr. Rajasingham said.

officials strongly condemned targeted attacks which have
taken the lives of at least 12 humanitarian workers,
including three from Médecins Sans Frontières staffers,
just last

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