In reaction to Ethiopia’s latest food insecurity figures released today by the IPC, Oxfam’s global Emergency Food Security Advisor, Emily Farr, said:
“The figures released today are extremely worrying - they show new and dangerous levels of hunger in Ethiopia. According to the latest IPC findings, right now there are over 350,000 people in a hunger catastrophe - the largest number of people to reach that classification since 2011 in Somalia – and this number is expected to climb to 401,000 in July.
“Over 60 per cent of people in Tigray and neighbouring areas are currently facing very high levels of food insecurity, and this situation will continue to worsen in the coming months. Some parts of Tigray remain largely inaccessible to humanitarian groups due to conflict and insecurity. These figures must spark an urgent increase in funding, an immediate scale up of food assistance, and action toward peace efforts and immediate and safe humanitarian access.
“Many people who have fled Tigray told Oxfam harrowing stories of losing their property, cattle, and food stocks, and of spending days hiding out in difficult terrain without any food or shelter.
“Ethiopia has also experienced prolonged drought and waves of locusts. The economic stresses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it difficult for all – but it is potentially the last straw for many.”
Notes to the editor:
The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification’s Acute Food Insecurity Analysis for Ethiopia can be found here – the report covers quarterly assessment of food security across the globe.
Oxfam is calling on all parties to the conflict to agree on an immediate end to the violence and to grant aid agencies unconditional safe access to help save those most in need. Donors and the international community must also fund the urgently needed $853 million UN humanitarian appeal for Northern Ethiopia, and ensure it reaches organisations, including local groups, on the ground quickly.
To help avert the food crisis in Ethiopia, Oxfam has provided over 50,000 people in South Tigray and Mekele with WASH, food security and protection activities. Oxfam aims to extend assistance to Shire as well to help respond to the worsening crisis, but urgently needs $ 6.6 million to help scale up its response in Ethiopia.