Growing concern about children in the Tigray region

The Ethiopian flag The Ethiopian flag Photo by ffikretow on iStock

27 January 2021

The ongoing conflict in Tigray is causing concern about the health conditions of children particularly affected by malnutrition in the area

The Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore, has recently expressed concern about the insufficiency of information available to the international community on the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region. Ms. Fore,  drawing on the limited data currently available, defined the situation as “deeply troubling”, claiming that the circumstances could be worse than expected due to the lack of information. 

The Tigray region is located in northern Ethiopia, bordering Eritrea and Sudan. The conflict originated in November 2020 between the Tigray Regional Government led by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the government forces of Ethiopia. Although accurate data are not available, thousands of people are reported to have lost their lives in the conflict, while tens of thousands have fled the region. According to UNICEF, roughly 57.000 civilians have fled to Sudan to shelter from the ongoing cruelties, while about 280.000 are internally displaced in the regions of Tigray, Amhara and Afar. UNICEF has deployed 29 trucks with nutrition, health and protection supplies to rescue the civilians in the region, however, the difficulty in accessing essential services such as health facilities and sanitation systems is putting the lives of many at risk. Particularly alarming are the health records of children exposed to the conflict, gravely affected by malnutrition. According to UNICEF the malnutrition level in the area has risen to 34 per cent, with as many as 70.000 children at risk of life threatening malnutrition.

Ms. Fore has stressed the need to restore essential services in the region by ensuring access for humanitarian personnel  and increasing the help from regional authorities in the provision of services. Finally, the Executive Director of UNICEF has urged the parties involved to take urgent action, as delays in the provision of goods and services will decrease the children’s chances of survival.

 

To know more, please visit:

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/01/1083102

https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2020/dec/21/slaughtered-like-chickens-eritrea-heavily-involved-in-tigray-conflict-say-eyewitnesses

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/05/world/africa/ethiopia-tigray-conflict-explained.html 

 

Author: Carla Leonetti; Editor: Francesca Mencuccini

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