(Source: Crisis Group, 23 February 2021) –
This week on The Horn, renowned scholar Alex de Waal joins Alan Boswell for a grim assessment of the humanitarian situation developing in Ethiopia’s conflict-embroiled Tigray region. He fears it will tip into famine if the international community fails to act now.
S2 Episode 12: Risks of Starvation Rise in Ethiopia’s Tigray War
Armed conflict has been raging in Ethiopia’s northernmost Tigray region since November and fears are growing that it is on the brink of famine. Sporadic reports trickling out of the chronically food-insecure region paint an alarming picture: hundreds of thousands displaced, essential infrastructure systematically destroyed, widespread atrocities committed and an untold number of civilian deaths.
Shrouded by a virtual information blackout, Alex de Waal says the scope of what is yet to emerge is cause for even greater concern. Executive director of the World Peace Foundation at Tufts University and author of Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine, the renowned Horn of Africa scholar is back with Alan to distil what is known of how the war is unfolding. Having drawn in multiple belligerents, the situation is dire but also complex.
Alex underlines that the window of time to avert a full-blown humanitarian disaster is slipping. He discusses what witnesses have told him about the catastrophe, how political will at the highest level can be mobilised to give humanitarian agencies access to stricken regions, what Eritrea’s endgame could be, and what may come of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) now that it has been forced into an insurgency from the mountains.
For more information, see our latest briefing: Finding a Path to Peace in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region