Connect with us


Tigrayan families at greatest risk of starvation are last to get food



By Duke Burbridge

In week ten of “post-conflict” Tigray, food remains blocked from reaching families in Tigray who need it urgently. Around 1.7 million Tigrayans who have been identified as needing food assistance have not received any outside aid since well before the signing of the Cessation of Hostilities in Pretoria. Even as Western officials line up to congratulate the Ethiopian Prime Minister for reducing the scope of weaponized starvation in Tigray, the children of Tigray are starving, in isolation from the world, just hours down the road from warehouses of food. 

Last week brought some positive news from Tigray, where according to the latest Food Cluster update, between 770,000 and 823,000 people received food for the first time in months, although last week’s Food Cluster Dashboard appears to contain a discrepancy. This brings the total reach of the current food distribution round in Tigray to 3.7 million people, 68% of those found to be in urgent need of food assistance by the World Food Programme (WFP). Despite promises of unhindered humanitarian access made by the Ethiopian government at the start of November 2022, restrictions on food and fuel persist. 

Chart, pie chart

Description automatically generated

Effectively, around half of the region has been reconnected to food assistance, at least for the moment. It is imperative that this food assistance be allowed to continue. After two brutal military occupations by Ethiopian, Eritrean, and Amhara regional forces and a two-year humanitarian siege, every zone of Tigray is experiencing extremely high levels of food insecurity, as shown in the chart below. (Note that the Western Zone of Tigray was not able to be covered in the food assessment.)

Chart, bar chart

Description automatically generated

The problem is that the other half of Tigray was in even worse condition and the blockade is causing preventable deaths. Families who remained in or fled to areas under military occupation needed food distribution to start immediately after the signing of the cessation in hostilities agreement in November. More than a million Tigrayans have been displaced, in many cases with nothing. From all accounts, nearly every major population center in Tigray is teaming with families who have been forced to flee the military advance of the Ethiopian-Eritrean-Fano alliance. These households have been displaced multiple times, targeted for brutal violence, and have been intentionally resource deprived for the past two years. 

Some made it to Mekelle, but most only made it to cities in the Northwestern and Central zone, which were once again under military occupation by October. Those who reached Mekelle had the best chance of receiving food assistance. However, those who fled to the Northwestern and Central Zones remained trapped behind a blockade for at least two months after the signing of the cessation of hostilities agreement. As the third chart shows, there is a stark difference between food distribution in the Central and Northwestern zones, which remains under Ethio-Eritrean occupation since prior to the peace agreement, and areas of Tigray closer to the capital. The result of this dynamic is that in areas where food insecurity was most severe, food distribution has been least prevalent. 

Chart, bar chart

Description automatically generated

Many of those who remained in or fled to population centers in occupied Tigray had their assets looted. Many of those who remained in the rural areas had their farming equipment stolen, livestock slaughtered, and crops burned or consumed. According to a recent report by the Tigrayan government’s Bureau of Agriculture and Natural Resources, irrigation systems and watersheds have been damaged and destroyed. Fruit nurseries have been destroyed. Seedstocks, draft oxen, and traditional tools used for farming have been destroyed. No one has had access to their money. Fuel and any other commercial supplies have been blocked from entering Tigray along with humanitarian aid for most of the past year. Farmers have been killed and their families have been terrorized. In some cases, they have been banned from planting or harvesting. In other cases, they have simply been too traumatized to work the fields. 

The fourth chart shows the percentage in the rural clusters of the August Food Assessment that were found to be experiencing poor food consumption. Many of the families who remained behind in the rural areas of the Northwest and Central Zone lacked the ability to flee. It should be assumed that anyone who was displaced from these two zones arrived at their current destination without enough food to survive for three months. They were already in a desperate struggle to survive prior to the most recent invasion. 

Chart, bar chart

Description automatically generated

As shown in the last chart, the Western, Central, and Northwestern Zone initially comprised 46.6% of the total population in urgent need of food assistance. As of January 4, more than two months after “unhindered humanitarian access” was promised by the Ethiopian government, these three regions are now home to 19 of every 20 Tigrayans known to be in need of food assistance who have not received any outside aid. 

A screenshot of a computer

Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Despite the lack of progress for the past two months, there are indications that the situation will improve this week. The latest update from the Emergency Coordination Center contains some good news regarding the areas of the Central zone where humanitarian aid is still blocked. According to the table below (from slide 6 of the ECC report), around 11,149 metric tons of food entered the Central zone since December 22. Using the standard dimensions of the WFP six-week food basket, this would be enough food for more than 657,000 rations. The table also indicates that food has been dispatched to at least two woredas that have not received any deliveries in several months. 

Graphical user interface, application, table

Description automatically generated

This is a major development. If 11,149 MT of food entered the Central zone every three weeks, it would be enough to reach 96% of the target population in a normal six-week distribution round. However, it is unlikely that this pace can be sustained. Food delivery coming into Tigray has slowed considerably. In the past week, according to the joint UN-OCHA/Ethiopian government report, only around 4,000 MT arrived in the entire region. (compare this with the UN-OCHA/Ethiopian Government Update from December 29) . Additionally, there are still areas of access denial in the Central zone that would prevent food from reaching families at greatest need, as noted in slide 9 of the ECC report.

Graphical user interface, text

Description automatically generated

This report shows that humanitarian access is still being blocked from crossing lines of control, which is a clear violation of the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement. Further, it raises serious questions about the accuracy of the Food Cluster distribution updates, which have been imperfect, yet still the most reliable source of data coming out of Tigray. The last Food Cluster update indicates that the current food distribution round has reached nearly everyone in need in Eastern (98.7%) and Southern (99.5%) zones. The information provided in the ECC report, which has been confirmed by multiple reports from Adigrat, strongly suggests that either (a) the food distribution numbers in the Food Cluster report have been inflated or (b) the food distribution targets set by UN-OCHA are too low. Hopefully, some clarification will be forthcoming. 

It is easy to get lost in the food distribution data. It’s easy to focus on the fact that food has been distributed to 68% of the population in need in Tigray. It would not be easy to explain to 1.7 million starving Tigrayans that food distribution is going well, broadly speaking. Because it’s not. Tigray is smaller than the US state of Virginia. If humanitarian access had been “unhindered” at any point in the past two months, there would not be any areas of Tigray where food distribution has not at least started. 

After two multi-national invasions, two forced mass displacements, and two years of siege, two months is too long for Tigrayan families to wait for food. Humanitarian assistance in Tigray had to be immediate. It had to surge. Families are starving in the districts of Northern Tigray that are still blocked, and they are starving in the cities with only limited access to international aid. Every day of delays costs the lives of innocent civilians in Tigray. Forced starvation cannot be part of peace. 

Duke Burbridge was a Senior Research Associate at the International Center for Religion & Diplomacy (ICRD) for fifteen years where he provided research support for community-based peacebuilding programs in conflict-affected countries such as Pakistan, Yemen, and Colombia. During his time at ICRD, Mr. Burbridge also conducted research on the role of education in radicalization and recruitment into violent extremist groups in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan and the role of conservative religious leaders in countering violent extremism in Yemen and North and East Africa. He left the field in 2021 to write a book on reforming outside-led peacebuilding. He has put the book on hold to raise awareness of the genocide taking place in Tigray.

Continue Reading


  1. Tigray free and independent Tigray required

    January 20, 2023 at 3:08 pm

    “Tigray will not sit down and conduct peace negotiations with Eritrea with modern day ascaris, enslaved by amhara ” Most of us do agree with the above phrase.
    In modern day world , eversince their socalled eritrean independence, eritreans are not able to erect modern buildings, drive advanced cars , incapable of enjoying full internet acess.
    “As low as 6% of Eritreans have a mobile phone and hardly 1% go online (ITU 2012).”
    “By the end of 2018, more than 507,000 Eritreans had fled their country, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees — a little under 10 percent of the population. These economic migrants invaded almost all richest nations of the planet are not able to change the living standard of their nation. Their people are deployed to steal, rape and brutally massacre their neighbors out of satanic envy and their anger due to their defeat in ethio-eritrea war that took place from May 1998 to June 2000.
    ከም ሀገርን ውልቀ ሰብን ልዕሊ 30 ዓመታት ዘቑጸረ ናይ ጥምየትን፥ሥደትን ፥ልመናን ታሪክ እዩ ዘለኩም ደቂ ኢሬታት ሽኮሪናታት፥ ብወገነይ ምሥ ኤርትራውያን ዝምስረት ዓዲ ክህሉ አይንደልን፥፥አብ ክልተ አድታት ዝነብሩ አህዋትን አኀትን ይባኸለልና ካኣ፤፤ደቁ አዴታቱ አቦታቱ አኀቱ አህዋቱ ናይ ደቀ ኣዳም ገፅ ዘለዎም ሰብ ሥመሥሉ አራዊት ኤርትራውያን ብግፍኢ ዝተቀትሉ ሥድራ ዘለዎ ሰብ ምስ ኤርትራውያን ክህወስ አይደልን፥፥ምስ ኤርትራውያን ናይ ኀባር ረብሃ ዘለዎ ሰብ ብዙህ ክዛረብ ይክዕል እዩ፥፥መሰሉ ካኣ እዩ፥፥ብግዲ ኩሉ ትግራዋይ ናተይ ሃሳብ ክቕበል አለዎ ኢልካ ምዝራብን ምግዳድን ግን ቕቡል አይነኮን፥፥ኩሉ ነነናቱ ሃሳብ ከንጸባርክ ይኽእል እዩ ፥፥ናተይ ሃሳብ ዘይድግፍ ትግራዋይ ነፍጠኛ፤ሻዕቢያ ፥ዲቓላ እዩ ኢልካ ምፅራፍን ናይ ወድ ሰብ መሠል ምርጋፅ ግቡዕ አይኮነን፥፥
    እት ሐደ ብብዚህ ዝስማዕ ነገር ተሊዩ ትግራይ ሀገር ክትውን ኢልና ኣይተቃለስናን ዝበሃል ዘረባ እዩ ፥፥አቱም ጎይታይ ሻለቓ አነ ትግራይ ሀገር ክትውን እየ ዝቓለስ ብዚኣ ዘይስማማዕ ተሊዩ አነ ናብ ገዛይ ክምለስ እየ ክብል ትይጽበዩ ኔርኩም ድዩ፥፥ኩሉ ትግራዋይ ንዓዱ ንስድርኡ ንመላዕ ትግራይ ካብ ወረርቲ ከድህን እዩ ተቃሊሱ፤፤ ግና ብምክያት አብ ሕዝብ ትግራይ ዝበፅሓ ግፍዕታት፤ኢድካን እግርካን ተአሲርካ ብህይወት እንተ ኣለዉ ናብ ባሕር ክድርበዩ እናራዕና፤ከም ከብቲ ትግራዋይ ክህረድ፥ኣዴታት ሕፃውንቲ ክድፈራ ፥ተነጊሩ ዘይውዳዕ ግፍዕታት ኣብ ቅድሚ አይኖም ሥለዝረዓዩ ብተወሣኺ ካኣ ናይ ጸላዕትና ታሪክ አብ ግምት ውሽጢ አእትዮም ድኅር ሕጂ (ገዲም)ምሥ ጸላዕትና አይንነብርን ብሽሞም ኢትዮጵያውያን ተባሂልና ክንፅዋእ አይደልን ሰላም ደቕና አቦታት አዴታትና አኀትናን አህዋትና ሠላምን ደህንነት ኩሉ ትግራዋይ ውሕስነት ክህልዎ ትግራይ ሀገር ክትውን ኢና ንደሊ ንዝበለ ትግራዋይ ባንዳ ኢኻ ክትብሎ መሠል የብልካን፥ፖለቲከኛ ኩን ድላይካ ተኸተል ናብ ሥልጣን ዘደየበካ ድህንነተካ ተሀሊዩ ክትነብር ዝገብረካ ናይ ሕዝብካ ድምጺ ክትእፍን እንተኮይንካ ዲክታተር ምኻንካ በግብርካ አመሥኪርካ ኣለካ፥፥ከም አቦታቶም ጸላዕትና ንኽልተ ዓመት ምሥ ባዕዳን ወረርቲ ወጊናም አብሕዝብና ጃምላዊ ቅትለት ፈፂሞም ኢዮም ሕጅውን ቀፂሎሙሉ አለው፥፥ንዚ ታክ ነፍጠኛታት ንኻልኣይ ጊዜን ንሓዋሩን ከይድገም ውሕስነት ክህልወና ትግራይ ሀገር ክትውን ኢና ንደሊ፥፥እዚ ናይ ውልቀይ ሃሳብን ምኔትን እዩ ዘይሠማማዕ ንክህልው ርዱዕ እዩ የናት ሆድ ዥንጉርጙር እዩ ከምዝበሓል ግና ዝድግፍ ካኣ ከምዘሎ እሙን እዩ፤፤ምሥ ኤርትራውያን ክትሓውሱና ግን ኣይንደሊ፤፤ደገፍቲ ሻዕቢያ ኮኑ ተጻረርቲ ኩሎም ኣብ ሕዝብ ትግራይ ዝወረደ መዓት ጃምላዊ ቅትለት ዕንወት እጃሞዖም አወፍዮም እዮም፥፥ሓደ መንግሥቲ ሓይሉ ካብ ህዝቡ ዝእክቦ ሰልድን ሠራዊትን እዩ፤፤ንዚ ካኣ ኩሉ ኤርትራዊ ዘይተሓለለ ግደ እጃሞ ተጫዊቱ እዩ፤፤እዚ ካኣ ዘይካኻድ ሐቂ እዩ፤፤ሠራዊት ትግራይ ናብ ኤርትራ ናብ ከኣቱ እዩ ምሥሠምዑ ኩሎም ደለይቲ ፍትሒ ኢና በሓልቲ ተቃውምኦም አስሚኦም እዮም፤፤ኤርትራውያን ብዛዕባ ዕጫ ትግራይ ዝውሥንሉ ዝዛተይሉ ትግራይ አንደሊ፤፤ዉኢሎም ሓዲሮም ካኣ ንሕና ኢና ገበርቲ ፈጠርቲ ክንገዛኩም ኢና ክብሉ እዮም፤፤ኣይንደልን፤፤አልሰምተንም አይሰማዕናን ከይትብሉና፤፤ሥድራኹም በኤርትራውያን ተቀቲሎም ተሃሪዶም እንተዝኸውን ነይሩ ንስሑም ኤርትራውያን አህዋትና ኣሓትና በሓልቲ ትገዱ ኔርኩም፤፤

    Let us take the bloody price made so far into account and without forgetting the likelihood of future prices if we remain in the socalled ethiopiawinet serving as a blindfold, and spell bewitching us and made us victims of massacre for centuries by the same people, their forefathers and their children(i;e fanos ).
    Let us make ሀገረ ትግራይ real and work together despite our difference in political and personal standing for the sake of safety, security, betterment and development of Tigray, oppressed people for centuries.It is evident for everyone of us , building autonomous Tigray not an easy task for people who underwent extensive suffering and who lost their public & private infrastructure , but it would be good idea for the safety and security of future generations of Tigray. We are not concerned for ourselves but for our future generations . BTW, most of us find it the surrender of heavy artilleries to ENDF, when fanos and other Eritreans are still in Tigray. Do TPLF leaders want to bing a knif to the gun fight ?

    Thank you

  2. Remove this traitor and genocider Abiy Amhed and lock him up

    January 18, 2023 at 1:37 pm

    ኢትዮጵያውያን የተለያየ ሃይማኖት፥እስልምናውም ክርሥትናውም፥የተለያየ ብሔርም የተለያየ ፆታም፥ የተለያየ እሳቤ ያለን ሰዎች ነን፥፥አንድ እምነት ብቻ ሀገር መሆን ፥የአንድ ብሔር ብቻ ሀገር መሆን የአንድ እምነት ሀገር መሆን ኢትዮጵያ ውሥጥ የፀና ሰላም አይሰጥም፥፥ ጠቅላይ ሚንስትሩ የሰላም ሎሬት አቢይ አሕመድ ኢትዮጵያውያን የተለያየ ፆታም ያለን ሰዎች ነን ወይም ስለሆንን ሲሉ በአቡዳቢ የተናገሩት ምን ለማለት ፈልገው እንደሆነ እዚህ ውሥጥ የፖለቲካ ተንታኞች ካላቹ ብታብራሩልን ስንል በትሕትና፥እንጠይቃለን፤፤በአረብ ሀገር ውሥጥ ቤተክርስቲያን መገንባት ተችሎ ኢትዮጵያ ውሥጥ ቸርች መገንባት መሥጊድ መገንባት የሚያጨቃጭቅና የሚያጣላ መሆን የለበትም ብሎ በአረብ ሀገር ይህን መናገሩ ጠቅላይ፥ሚንስትሩ በርሱ ቤት ማሽቃበጡ ነው የሚሉ አሉ፥፥አንዳንዶችም ይህ ንግግሩ የባንዳነቱ ማያሣ ከመሆኑ አልፎ የምዕራባውያኑን የተመሣሣይፆታ ጋብቻን የማሥፋፋት ዓላማን የሚደግፍ ንጝር ነው ይላሉ፥፥እንዴት ታዩታላቹ፤፤የተለያየ ፆታም ያለን ሰዎች ነን የሚለው ንጝራቸውን በአረብኛ ወይም በእንግሊዘኛ ግልፅ ባለ ቋንቋ፥ሰምተውት ቢሆን ኑሮ የአቡዳቢ ባሥልጣናት ቅሬታቸውን ከመግለፅ ባልተቆጠቡ ነበር ሲሉ ሀሳባቸውን ያጋሩን አልጠፉም፤፤ጠቅላይ ሚንስትሩ መካከላችን ጠብ ከዝራትና እርስ በርስከማጋጨት አልፈው፥ይህ አልበቃ ቢላቸው ባሕላችንና ሀገራዊ እሴቶቻችንን ለመበረዝ ከተቻለምለማጥፋት ቆርጠዉ የተነሱ ይመሥላሉ፥፥

    source: UAE bans Disney-Pixar film over same-sex relationship characters

  3. TPLF killed Dr Solomon

    January 16, 2023 at 8:22 pm

    Supporters of TPLF are killing the most deared and loved fighters and servants of entire Tigray. It is verge of election and TPLF should give power to the people but TPLf is killing our brave ones.

    PP should forecfully remove TPLF if they resist. No one will protect and die for them.

  4. Ethiopian govt must Free Political prisoners , expel eritrean army & dismantle fanos

    January 16, 2023 at 2:42 pm

    ራሱን ፋኖ ብሎ የሚጠራው ማፊያ ቡድን አሁንም እንደ ልማዱ በዘርፊያ ፥ሕፃትንና ባልቴቶችን ማስነወሩን፤ክቡር የሰው ልጅን እንደ ከብት ማረዱንና ያለ አግባብ ያልታጠቁ ንጹሃንን መረሸኑን አላቋጠም፤፤ በትግራይ እና በኦሮያ የለመደውን የወንጀል ድርጊት በራሱ በወገኑ የአማራ ሕዝብ ላይ ተመሣሣይ ግፍ መፈፀሙ በብዙዎች የአማራ ተወላጆች ሲጋለጥ ቆይቷል፤፤ይህን የወንጀል ድርጊት ለማድበሥበስ መሞከር የድርጊቱ ተሣታፊ ና ደጋፊ መሆንን ያረጋግጣል፤፤በትግራይም ሆነ በአማራ ሕዝብ ላይ ስለተፈፀመው አረመያዊ ድርጊት የፋኖ አለቆችና የአማራክልል ባለሥልጣናት ይቅርታ ሊጠይቁና ለፍርድ ሊቀርቡ ፥ይገባል፥፥ምክንያቱም ይህ ህዝብ የአማራውም ሆነ የመላው ሕብረ ብሔር ጠላት ነው ብለው የትግራይ ሕዝብን በመፈረጅ በፋኖ እንዲጨፈጨፍ የላኩት እነርሱ ስለሆኑ፥፥አሁን ላይ ሆነው እነርሱ ና ፋኖ በፈፀመው ወንጀል የአማራ ሕዝብ ይቅርታ ሊጠየቅይገባል ሲሉ ይሰማሉ፥፥የአማራ ሕዝብን ይቅርታ መጠየቅ የሚገባቸው ብቸኛዎቹ አካላት ቢኖሩ የአማራ ክልል ባለሥልጣናትና ፋኖን የሚቆጣጠሩ ያዘመቱ ያደራጁና የላኩት አካላት እንጂ ማንም ሌላ አካል የለም፤፤
    የኤርትራ ሠራዊትና ፋኖ የሚባለው ማፊያ የነፍሰ ገዳዮችና የሌቦች ስብስብ ናቸው፥፥በሀገሪቱ ላይ ሙሉ ሠላም ኢንዲሠፍን ከተፈለገ መንግሥት የኤርትራ ሠራዊትን ከመላው የሀገሪቱ ክልሎች ማሥወጣት አለበት:: ፋኖ የሚባለውን ማፊያ የነፍሰ ገዳዮችና የሌቦች ስብስብ ለፍርድ ለያቀርበው ይገባል፥፥ይህ ካልሆነግን የሰላም ሥምምነቱ እንዳልተከበረ ማሣያ ነው፥፥ኢትዮጵያን ሲያገለግሉና ሲያስተዳድሩ የነበሩ የትግራይ ተወላጆች የሆኑ የኢትዮጵያ ሠራዊት አባላትና በዘር ተኮር ፖለቲካ የታሠረ ማንኛውም ዜጋ ከእሥር ሊፈታ ይገባል፥፥

    Fano should be dismantled and its leadersmust be brought to justice . It is aggregates of murderers , rapists and robbers. Some of Fano members are HIV postive .Many amhara people are crying and giving testimony about the horrendous crimes committed by Fanos.

    As per the peace deal signed in S. Africa, Ethiopian Government need to free all Tigrayans and others members of ethnicity imprisoned on the account of their ethnicity and political view.Ethiopian government need to expel eritrean genocidal army out of Tigray. Fanos are not needed by the people of Tigray in the towns belonging to the regions of Tigray. According to the existing laws, Tigrayans or other ethnicities living in their own region are protected by the regional forces . Fanos and eritrean troops , dogs of war, mercenaries , are still massacring, robbing and torturing innocent civilians and unfairly making their presence felt by then inhabitants of the towns and villages occupied by these satanic coalition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.