UNITED NATIONS, July 2 (Reuters) – Top U.N. officials warned the Security Council on Friday that more than 400,000 people in Ethiopia’s Tigray were now in famine and that there was a risk of more clashes in the region despite a unilateral ceasefire by the federal government.
After six private discussions, the Security Council held its first public meeting since fighting broke out in November between government forces, backed by troops from neighboring Eritrea, and TPLF fighters with Tigray’s former ruling party.
Acting U.N. aid chief Ramesh Rajasingham told the council that the humanitarian situation in Tigray had “worsened dramatically” in recent weeks with an increase of some 50,000 in the number of people now suffering famine.
“More than 400,000 people are estimated to have crossed the threshold into famine and another 1.8 million people are on the brink of famine. Some are suggesting that the numbers are even higher. 33,000 children are severely malnourished,” he said.
The Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire on Monday, which the TPLF dismissed as a joke. There are reports of continued clashes in some places as pressure builds internationally for all sides to pull back.
Additional reporting by Doyinsola Oladipo; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien, Philippa Fletcher and Daniel Wallis
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