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Ethiopia dismisses UN warning famine to occur in embattled Tigray region

The government of Ethiopia has dismissed UN reports that famine is imminent in the embattled Tigray region.“No person died of…

The government of Ethiopia has dismissed UN reports that famine is imminent in the embattled Tigray region.“No person died of hunger in Tigray and enough food and non-food items have been delivered three times for 5.2 million beneficiaries in the region,” Commissioner of National Disaster Risk Management Commission, Mitiku Kassa said in a briefing on Thursday.

“There is famine now in Tigray,” U.N. aid Chief Mark Lowcock said in a report the same day.

The Commissioner said that food shortages are not severe and 170,798 Metric tons of food which costs 5.4 billion birr or $135 million distributed so far to the region.

According to United Nations agencies and aid groups, about 350,000 people in Ethiopia’s conflict-torn Tigray region are facing “catastrophic” food shortages.

“The number of people in famine conditions…is higher than anywhere in the world, at any moment since a quarter million Somalis lost their lives in 2011,” the UN said. “Already, more than 90% of Tigray’s 5.5 million people need emergency food aid,” the UN added.

Fighting in Tigray broke out in November between government troops and the region’s former ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Ethiopian Foreign Ministry spokesman Dina Mufti told a news conference on Thursday that the government was providing food aid and help to farmers in Tigray.

Dina said the UN is comparing the situation with the 1984, 1985 famine in Ethiopia,” he said. “That is not going to happen.”

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