Famine as weapon of war – A timeline of the Tigray conflict

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In May 2021 CNN reported that Eritrean troops in coordination with the Ethiopian military were blocking aid deliveries to parts of Tigray not under Ethiopian government control. In an exclusive interview with Reuters a senior UN official alleged that starvation was being used as a weapon of war. U.N. humanitarian coordinator Mark Lowcock told Reuters that Eritrean forces were “trying to deal with the Tigrayan population by starving them.”

The United Nations Acting Humanitarian Coordinator for Ethiopia warned that the de facto humanitarian aid blockade of Tigray potentially put an estimated 5.2 million people, or 90 percent of the population across the Tigray region at risk. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator called the famine “man-made”, and it could be “remedied by the act of [Ethiopian] government”. The humanitarian aid blockade was maintained by the Ethiopian government throughout the remainder of 2021. In addition, the Horn of Africa was hit by severe drought.

IPIS has created two timelines to better understand the current situation. One details the developments of famine being used as a weapon in the Tigray conflict since January 2022, while the other provides a more general overview of the Tigray conflict.

Photo: Demonstration in Geneva, 16 march 2021 ©Albertus Zerk3