A year behind the outbreak of the war in Tigray, Ethiopia, the United Nations Security Council has not acted till now. The country’s condition is under starvation in Tigray, and the authorities of Ethiopia are systematically plugging the delivery of some vital aid to the region.
In an interview, a journalist asked the former UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, “Mark Lowcock,” “Is the Ethiopian government trying to starve Tigray?” However, he was unable to speak straightly after the retirement, he replied, “Yes. There’s not just a try to starve six million people, but a try to cover up the ongoing matter.”
Today, the facts are changing fast. With the Ethiopian army conquered and the victorious Tigrayan forces and their Oromo allies closing in the capital, Addis Ababa, the UN has one last chance to do the correct thing.
The absolute minimum is acting to stop the growing hunger in the nation, Tigray and the widening humanitarian trouble across other parts of Ethiopia. With the economic issues spiralling, hunger is even standing on the door of Addis Ababa.
Starvation is the vital weapon of the Ethiopian government. As per Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed’s famine plan for Tigray was severe and straightforward. His soldiers – and their Eritrean allies looted and raided Tigray for eight months.
They stole and burned all food, stopped farmers from ploughing the land, looted and damaged the clinics and hospitals, tore up water pipes and destroyed water pumps, endangered women and girls for rape, and threats them for rape.
According to the top military official, the Ethiopian military is preparing to enter the Tigray regional capital of Makelle and eliminate extremist forces; he added the diplomatic efforts to end the war on the north side of the country.
Abiy inflicted starvation systematically and strictly. However, it’s not clear whether he desired to weaken the Tigrayan’s capacity or resolve, penalise them, or eliminate them.
Whatever the reason, it redoubled the Tigrayans’ fierce determination to prevail because their very survival was at stake.
In June, when the Tigrayan opposition moved out the occupying soldiers, Abiy levied a broad and unlawful blockade: food, medicine and essential items cannot get in, and information about the hunger cannot get out.
Banks are shut, salaries are not paid, and even humanitarian agencies do not have money to operate. As per the estimates of the UN, 100 trucks of food is necessary every day to satisfy the hunger of five million people, including at least 400,000 suffering starvation.
Tigrayan children are wasting away, one-fifth of them hardly malnourished. Four out of five pregnant or nursing moms are acutely underweight. Nurses were fainting due to hunger on the job.
War begin hunger – and hunger also causes conflict. The security council of the UN showed their fear when it assumed resolution 2417 in May 2018: “Recognising the need to break the cruel cycle between armed conflict and food insecurity.”
Moreover, the plan of Abiy to spread hunger is an international crime to be exposed, authorised, and punished, not alleviated. The aid should stream now, no matter what. That is the rule, and the UN should uphold it.