Statement by the Tigray-Eritrean Solidarity Forum

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                            Contact:

07 October 2021

Over eleven months since the Ethiopian Government declared the genocidal war on Tigray, the combined Ethiopian, Eritrean and Amhara Forces have engineered a man-made famine with dire consequences. At the moment, more than 900,000 Tigrayans are in a state of active famine with immediate risk of death by starvation.  

The regional government of Tigray and many humanitarian organizations estimate that close to 5.3 million people – more than 90% of Tigray’s population – are currently in desperate need of humanitarian assistance. This dire situation is being exacerbated by the action of the government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who has decided long time ago to weaponize starvation to achieve his political objectives. The current situation is a direct result of the systematic destruction of Tigray’s economy, specifically the agricultural system. The forces allied against the people of Tigray have deliberately destroyed crops at the peak of harvest, burned livestock feed, and raised homes to the ground. As if this was not enough, they looted the meager amounts of sustenance that civilians had. 

This was further aggravated by soldiers preventing farmers to prepare the land for planting.  There is no doubt that the measures taken by the Ethiopian and Eritrean army was aimed at starving the farmers and by extension those in arms whose task was to protect the helpless peasant from being killed, maimed, and raped. The Federal government and its accomplices have put Tigray under a siege by imposing complete blockade hindering free flow of vital food and medicine from entering the region.  They continued disregarding the call of humanitarian agencies to allow them to perform their task of saving the people through systematic obstruction that by halting both ground and air transport operations, by cutting vital services such as electricity, banking, internet, and phone lines. This indiscriminate blockade includes shutting off all public services up to preventing access to critical health services and life-saving medical aid. Today, less than 7% of the needed aid has reached Tigray and aid agencies have run out of supplies. 

The USAID administrator Samantha Power attributed these shortages to measures of obstruction chorused by the Ethiopian Government. In addition, the UNOCHA reported that “while 100 trucks a day of food and other assistance are needed every day, the UN and humanitarian partners have not been able to bring any trucks into Tigray in a long time. In this regard famine is looming over the people of Tigray. If unhindered humanitarian access is not allowed in Tigray now, then one asks for when? Already the sporadic death due to famine is reported by the health offices in Tigray. Consistent with their declared intention of wiping out Tigrayans “for 100 years”, Ethiopian authorities have now generated a famine that is killing hundreds, if not thousands of people daily, and unabated the number will grow exponentially. 

Today millions of Tigrayans are under stressful conditions of an entirely man-made famine. 

Alarms raised by OCHA and other humanitarian agencies about the dire situation have fallen on deaf ears, with Ethiopian authorities still pursuing their design of starving the people. To achieve the goal of ‘surrender or face death by starvation’ the blockade is tighter now more than ever

As the war on Tigray and complete siege and blockade continues, the Tigrayan people are being collectively punished through the inhumane weaponization of famine. 

Therefore we;

  • emphatically condemn these inhumane actions that are tantamount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and acts of genocide. 
  • urge and implore the international community to put all pressure on the Ethiopian government to allow direct flights and air-bridging while pushing for full and unhindered access to humanitarian assistance. 

Failure to act will lead to the most catastrophic humanitarian crisis in modern history.

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