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Tigray: Armed Conflict

Question for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

UIN HL7371, tabled on 28 March 2022

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made as to whether starvation is being used as a weapon of war against the civilian population of Tigray.

Answered on

12 April 2022

The conflict in Ethiopia has caused huge levels of suffering. The UN estimates that more than 9 million people are in need food assistance in northern Ethiopia. The situation is most critical in Tigray where 5.2 million people require life-saving aid. Due to restrictions imposed the Government of Ethiopia and as a result of active conflict there has been negligible overland humanitarian access to Tigray since December 202 with less than 10% of required aid delivered since July last year. A critical shortage of food has seen partial food baskets distributed exacerbated by a shortage of fuel for relief operations.

The lack of access makes it very challenging to accurately assess the nutrition context in Tigray. The UN estimates that roughly 454,000 children are malnourished in the region of whom some 115,000 are severely malnourished. Roughly 400,000 people are assessed to be experiencing catastrophic conditions akin to famine.

We welcome the humanitarian ceasefire announced by the Ethiopian Government on 24 March and agreed by Tigrayan authorities on 25 March. It is crucial that this is translated immediately into the regular delivery of aid to Tigray by road following the movement of 21 trucks into Tigray – a third of which were UK funded – on 1 April. Since November 2020 the UK has allocated £15.6 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) for its food and nutrition operations in northern Ethiopia. This helped WFP reach more than 885,000 people with food assistance and approximately 219,000 people with nutrition support.