Recent fighting in the Tigray region of Ethiopia has resulted in a famine that is now affecting more than 400,000 people according.
The UN’s acting humanitarian aid chief told members of the Security Council at a meeting in New York on Friday that the situation in Tigray had deteriorated dramatically in recent weeks.
In its first public meeting on the crisis, members of the UN Security Council warned that as many as 33,000 children were severely malnourished. Officials added that a further 1.8 million people were on the brink of famine as a result of the eight-month conflict. They also warned of further clashes despite the declaration of a ceasefire.
The Ethiopian government, which has been fighting regional forces in Tigray, declared a unilateral ceasefire on Monday. However, rebels vowed to drive their enemies from the region and there have been reports of sporadic clashes as pressure builds internationally for all sides in the conflict to pull back.
The fighting between the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and government forces has already left thousands of people dead and more than two million people have been displaced. All sides in the conflict have been accused of carrying out mass killings and human rights violations.
The Ethiopian government has denied allegations that it has been blocking aid after Tigrayan rebels took control of much of the northern region earlier this week.
The UN political affairs chief, Rosemary DiCarlo, told the meeting that further clashes were likely between Tigrayan forces, the Tigray Defence Forces (TDF), and Ethiopian troops, supported by Eritrean soldiers and Amhara regional forces. The fighting began last November, when rebels rejected political reforms and captured army bases.