UK ambassador to Ethiopia calls for ceasefire in Tigray

UK ambassador to Ethiopia calls for 'urgent humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray' to stop famine
2 min read
21 June, 2021
It follows UN reports that around 350,000 people in Tigray are suffering from acute famine.
The UN warned that the current conditions in Tigray are similar to past famines in Ethiopia, such as 1984 to 1985 famine [Getty]

The UK ambassador to Ethiopia reiterated the need for an "urgent humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray" to reduce the risk of famine, according to the British embassy in Addis Ababa on Saturday.  

UK ambassador Alastair McPhail visited the war-torn region in northern Ethiopia last week and said he was "deeply concerned by the state of the conflict" in a video on social media.  

The ambassador said an immediate ceasefire would help "rescue what's left of the planting season so food can reach the people of Tigray.  

"We are clear that the risk of famine in Tigray is man-made," he said.  

Around 350,000 people are suffering from acute famine conditions in the Tigray region, according to a UN analysis revealed last week.  

Tigray's food crisis was at Phase 5 on the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification meaning that at least 20 percent of households are facing an extreme lack of food and two out of every 10,000 people die each day due to starvation, malnutrition, and disease.  

UN aid chief Mark Lowcock, who chairs the committee that conducted the analysis in Tigray, said: "Food is definitely being used as a weapon of war".  

Lowcock claimed that Eritrean forces are trying to starve the Tigrayan population by blocking supplies to more than 1 million people, according to Reuters.  

Food shortages in Tigray follow months of fighting in the area between Ethiopian forces, allied with the Eritrean army, and Tigray fighters linked to the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF).  

The UK ambassador to Ethiopia condemned the "harrowing accounts of sexual violence and summary executions" reported in the region since fighting began last November in his video message.  

The fighting has led to almost two million people being displaced, killed, and subjected to physical and sexual violence, according to the UN.   

"I encourage our partners and friends, particularly in the region to join our call for a ceasefire for the people of Tigray," said the UK ambassador.