The conflict in Ethiopia between TPLF and government forces has many facets and, in addition to deaths as a result of military clashes, the lack of food is also threatening hundreds of thousands of people. If the announcements of an imminent famine in Tigray were preventive, however, the operations of humanitarian organizations are continually hampered. Now it seems that also in the Amhara the situation is rapidly deteriorating.
In fact, last week, numerous photos were released about the difficult situation in this region bordering Tigray. The Amhara is currently the main theater of the clash between the federal forces and those loyal to Mekelle, and the latest news say that the displaced are about half a million people and even one million suffer food shortages.
Social media have shared numerous images about the situation in Amhara, however the BBC fact-checking department has denied many of them stating that some date back to the 1984 famine.
In the meantime, federal and TPLF forces are exchanging accusations about the blocking of aid. The government claims that one of the areas most in need of food aid, the North Wollo district, has not been accessible due to the presence of opposition forces. The Prime Minister’s spokeswoman said that “the TPLF’s hindrance for humanitarian actors to reach civilians in need is worsening the situation”.
The TPLF, in turn, accused the government of cutting off communications and electricity to areas under its control. However, the situation seems less serious than it seems according to the World Food Programme (WFP), which said that although in Amhara there is a shortage of food “at this point we have no evidence of famine in North Wollo”. But as the offensive continues and large areas remain inaccessible due to active fighting, food insecurity in this zone is serious”.
In Tigray, the situation is even more difficult. Since July, WFP has recorded 445 trucks entering the area to bring food aid, however only 38 have returned. This, according to the UN agency, is the biggest obstacle to increasing food aid supplies. However, the situation is more serious, as announced long ago, than in the Amhara: there are at least 350,000 people living in famine conditions. Here, too, the two combatants have accused each other of hindering the operations of international organizations.
The situation is therefore still rather volatile and indeed the conditions of food insecurity are expanding at the same pace as the conflict. According to the UN, Tigray is in “a de facto blockade” and then renewed concern about a “looming catastrophe”.