Ethiopian official: at least 372 deaths due to hunger in two regions in last six months

By Dawit Endeshaw

February 1, 2024 at 1:00 PM

By Dawit Endeshaw

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - At least 372 people have died in two northern Ethiopian regions from drought-induced hunger in the last six months, a senior government official said on Wednesday, adding to the regions' challenges arising from conflict.

Endale Haile, head of the Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman, which receives complaints from the public against government departments, said its investigations found that 351 people had died in the Tigray region, while another 21 had died in neighbouring Amhara.

Endale said the findings were from a 10-day assessment in the two regions, and it was possible there were more deaths.

"If we expand our sample the death figure may increase. But our main purpose is for the government to give the issue an attention and inform them how the issue is getting serious. So that they will take actions," he told Reuters.

Legesse Tulu, government spokesperson, Mengasha Fentaw, spokesperson of Amhara region and Redaei Halefom, spokesperson of Tigray, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the deaths.

Ethiopia's food crisis has deepened in recent years as a result of war in the Tigray region and the Horn of Africa's worst drought in decades, with the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) saying just over 20 million people are in need of assistance.

Thereafter, on and off fighting in Amhara, which has also experienced prolonged drought, between Amhara state forces and local militiamen became Ethiopia's biggest security crisis since the end of a two-year civil war in Tigray in 2022.

In late December, Getachew Reda, the president of Tigray region's interim administration, said 91% of the region's population was at risk of starvation and death and the situation was beyond the administration's capacity to handle.

At the time, government spokesperson Legesse rejected the report saying it lacked factual correctness.

Last May, the WFP suspended food aid to Tigray following reports of widespread theft of donations. It then suspended aid to all of Ethiopia in June, following the same action from the United States.

WFP resumed limited distribution in August, while the U.S. resumed in December.

(Reporting by Dawit Endeshaw; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Aaron Ross and Alex Richardson)


Reuters is a news agency owned by Thomson Reuters Corporation. It employs around 2,500 journalists and 600 photojournalists in about 200 locations worldwide. Reuters is one of the largest news agencies in the world.

All Comments (0)
Sort By
Loading Comments ...
Related Articles

Popular Articles

No articles found.

No Infobites Found!

Share your ideas

with others

Developed By: Golden Info Systems Ltd.