Tigray: Famine

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 10th September 2021.

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Photo of Wera Hobhouse Wera Hobhouse Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Justice), Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Women and Equalities)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to help alleviate famine in the Tigray.

Photo of James Duddridge James Duddridge Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK has to date provided £47.7 million in humanitarian support to respond to the conflict in Tigray for healthcare, sanitation and nutrition.

The humanitarian situation in north east Ethiopia continues to deteriorate. Access to Tigray for aid agencies is negligible owing to bureaucratic impediments to delivery imposed by the government and more than 400,000 people are assessed to be in famine-like conditions. Tigray is the most serious food crisis since famine was declared in Somalia in 2011. Conflict in neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions is now impacting an additional 1.7 million people. The UK's Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs, Nick Dyer visited Tigray in May and concluded a that region-wide famine in Tigray is likely if conflict intensifies and impediments to the delivery of humanitarian aid continue. Regrettably the operating context has become more fraught and the risks to civilians have increased. The UK reiterates its call for the protection of civilians and unfettered humanitarian access.

The Foreign Secretary raised concerns on the humanitarian situation and the need for a political dialogue to bring a lasting peace to Tigray directly with Prime Minister Abiy on 5 August. I also raised these issues with the Ethiopian Minister of Peace, Muferihat Kamil Ahmed, on 15 July. The UK Ambassador to Ethiopia has also raised our concerns on multiple occasions to the Government. We have consistently pressed these points in bilateral meetings, in multilateral fora such as the UN Security Council, the Human Rights Council and G7 and worked concertedly with international partners to raise our concerns. At the UN Security Council, I set out on 2 July our concerns at the continued lack of progress in delivering humanitarian access to Tigray.

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