UN humanitarian chief Mark Lowcock has said there is famine in northern Ethiopia after the release of a UN-backed analysis of the situation.
Mark Lowcock said, there is famine now and added it is going to get a lot worse.
The analysis found that 350,000 people were living in severe crisis in the war-torn Tigray region, as well as neighbouring Amhara and Afar.
Tigray has been devastated by fighting between government forces and rebels, with 1.7 million people displaced.
According to the analysis, the food situation in the region has reached the level of a catastrophe, which it defines as starvation and death affecting small groups of people spread over large areas.
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), Food and Agriculture Organization and children’s agency UNICEF have all called for urgent action to address the crisis.
The analysis – or Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) as it is known – was not endorsed by Ethiopia’s government, which insists that humanitarian access is being expanded as it restores order across the region.
In 1984, Tigray and the next-door province of Wollo were the epicentre of a famine caused by a combination of drought and war that led to between 600,000 and one million deaths.
The Integrated Phase Classification is a measure of the severity of food shortages, drawn up by multiple organisations which include UN agencies and non-governmental aid organisations.
The analysis adds, the severe crisis results from the cascading effects of conflict, including population displacements, movement restrictions, limited humanitarian access, loss of harvest and livelihood assets, and dysfunctional or non-existent markets.
It says that as of May, 5.5 million people were facing high levels of acute food insecurity in the region and the situation was likely to worsen through September.
But the report stops short of officially declaring a famine, which has a very specific definition.