NAIROBI – The nearly two-year conflict in Ethiopia has left almost half the population of Tigray region without adequate food, as aid groups struggle to reach rural areas because of insufficient fuel supplies, the World Food Programme (WFP) said on Friday.
Even though the delivery of aid resumed after the federal government declared a unilateral ceasefire in March, malnutrition rates have “skyrocketed” and are expected to worsen, the United Nations agency said in an assessment, Reuters reported.
“Hunger has deepened, rates of malnutrition have skyrocketed, and the situation is set to worsen as people enter peak hunger season until this year’s harvest in October,” the report said.
Half of pregnant or lactating women in Tigray are malnourished, as well as a third of children under five, leading to stunting and maternal death, the report found.
Across Tigray and the neighbouring regions of Afar and Amhara, also affected by the war, an estimated 13 million people need food aid, a 44% increase from the previous WFP report released in January.
The United Nations said that since April 1 only 1,750,000 litres of fuel had entered Tigray, less than 20% of the monthly humanitarian needs in the region, if all supplies were in.
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